The best documented benefit of acupressure is relief from nausea and dizziness. Studies show that it relieves queasiness and vomiting both during pregnancy and after anesthesia. In a North Carolina study, pregnant women who wore wristbands fitted with buttons that pressed against the antinausea acupoint reported a 50 percent reduction in queasiness and vomiting. And in a British study, men and women reported less severe postoperative nausea when wearing the wristbands.

Early research into acupressure's effect on pain has also been promising. Michael I. Weintraub, M.D., advocate of shiatsu, clinical professor of neurology at New York Medical College in Valhalla and head of neurology at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Tarrytown, New York, says a small study that he directed found that 86 percent of patients with herniated disks experienced pain relief with a combination of shiatsu and Swedish massage.

"And these were people who failed to respond to other treatments, such as drugs, physical therapy and chiropractic," says Dr. Weintraub, who teaches his patients simple shiatsu techniques for alleviating headaches, nausea, dizziness and spine pain.

Though there have been few controlled scientific studies examining acupressure's efficacy in alleviating symptoms other than nausea and pain, practitioners say that they get good results with a wide range of symptoms like headaches, menstrual cramps and stress.

"In general, anything that's caused by or exacerbated by stress and tension responds well," says Dr. Gach. The illustrations that follow demonstrate some of the most common uses for acupressure.

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