The Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes, Why.


What is it?

Acustimulation involves applying mild electrical stimulation to acupuncture points. A low intensity electrical current is used to penetrate just slightly below the surface of the skin.

People use acustimulation for cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, chemotherapy-related nausea, fatigue, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, pain, and nausea after surgery.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for Acustimulation are as follows:

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…

    • Nausea and vomiting related to cancer treatment. Some research suggests that using acustimulation wristbands for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy does not help. But other research suggests that acustimulation wrist bands might help lower the amount of medication needed to treat nausea and vomiting.
    • Fatigue. Early research suggests that 15 minutes of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) three times weekly for one month might reduce fatigue and depressed mood, as well as increase sleep quality, in people receiving treatment for kidney failure.
    • High blood pressure. Early research suggests that using acustimulation on four acupuncture points might lower diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) in people with high diastolic blood pressure.
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research suggests that using acustimulation on an acupuncture point on the wrist (P6) and knee (ST36) might reduce IBS symptoms.
    • Motion sickness. Research suggests that acustimulation can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by seasickness or motion sickness.
    • Nausea and/or vomiting. Early research suggests that using a type of acustimulation called transcutaneous acupoint electrical stimulation (TEAS) might help reduce nausea and vomiting in people receiving electroshock therapy for mental illness. But other research suggests that using a specific acustimulation wristband (ReliefBand, Maven Lab, Yuba City, CA) on the wrist acupuncture point called P6 might not reduce nausea and vomiting that occurs when a tube is inserted down the throat and into the stomach.
    • Pain. Early research suggests that high-intensity or low-intensity acustimulation might reduce the need for pain medications in people recovering from stomach surgery. High intensity acustimulation might provide more benefits.
    • Nausea and vomiting after surgery. Research suggests that using a specific acustimulation wristband (ReliefBand, Woodside Biomedical, Carlsbad, CA) on the wrist acupuncture point called P6 helps reduce nausea and vomiting after plastic surgery.
    • Cyclic vomiting syndrome.
    • Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
    • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of acustimulation for these uses.

Acustimulation is not the same as acupuncture. However, it follows the Chinese acupuncture theory in that it involves applying electrical stimulation to the same acupoints on the body.

Western science explains the effects of acustimulation in terms of its effects on the nervous system, while Chinese acupuncture theory explains its effects on the circulation of chi (vital energy, life force).

But the system of chi pathways (“meridians”) used in Chinese acupuncture theory has some similarities to the nervous system. This makes it possible to use the Chinese map of acupuncture points to identify locations where electrical stimulation may influence certain responses of the nervous system. For example, nausea and vomiting are believed to be caused by problems in the nerve impulses passing between the brain and stomach. Acustimulation uses a mild electrical current at the wrist to restore normal signals, and therefore, reduce nausea and vomiting.

It isn’t known if acustimulation is safe. However, there’s no reason to suspect safety issues when used correctly. Certain acustimulation wristbands have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of acustimulation during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, there’s no reason to suspect safety concerns when used correctly.

It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines.

Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

There are no known interactions with foods.

The appropriate or safe use of acustimulation depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.

Acupoint Stimulation, Acupuncture Point Stimulation, Acustimulation Wristbands, EA, Electroacupuncture, TAES, TEAS, Transcutaneous Acupoint Electrical Stimulation, Transcutaneous Electrical Acupoint Stimulation, Transcutaneous Electrical Acustimulation.


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