Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique that’s used all over the world to relieve all different types of symptoms.
Does acupressure work for hangovers as well?
In this article, we’re going to look into whether acupressure is good for a hangover or not. We’ll do this by examining research papers to see how strong the evidence for acupressure is and what symptoms of a hangover this ancient technique could be good for.
With so many hangover cure myths out there, it’s hard to tell which ones are worth trying. That’s why we’ll base our article on published research studies only.
What is acupressure
Used for thousands of years in East Asia, acupressure is based on the same principles as acupuncture to promote relaxation and wellness and, in some cases, to treat disease.
Traditional Chinese medical theory describes meridians, invisible channels in your body that carry energy called qi (ch’i).
It’s believed that they begin at your fingertips and connect to your brain and then an organ or networks of organs to create a communication system. Acupressure uses specific points along these meridians to help restore balance.
So can this ancient practice of acupressure work for hangovers? Next up, we’ll answer this all-important question.
Need something to help you bounce back after drinking?*
Is acupressure good for hangovers?
To see if acupressure is good for hangovers or not, we first need to go over the causes and symptoms of a hangover.
Hangovers are caused by drinking more than your liver can handle. Dehydration, inflammation and poor sleep quality are the main causes of a hangover. In combination, the damaging effect of alcohol results in the following hangover symptoms:
- Nauses and vomiting
- Body pain / Muscle aches
In fact, there are 47 symptoms of a hangover. But for this article, we’ll focus on the main ones mentioned above.
Before we get into the next sections of this article, we need to point out that the research into acupressure is generally limited and on a small scale. Therefore, any reported benefits should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Acupressure for Hangover nausea and vomiting
One of the most popular uses of acupressure is to relieve the symptom of nausea. You’ve probably come across pressure bands that are widely sold in health stores.
One research paper compared ginger and acupressure for nausea in pregnant women and found that ginger was more effective. Perhaps ginger may be a better alternative for hangover nausea.
Acupressure for Hangover headache
Although most of the benefits seen with acupressure were only modest improvements in headache, it’s easy and safe to try for hangover headaches.
Acupressure for Hangover anxiety
Hangover anxiety or “hangxiety” is often an ignored side effect of drinking too much alcohol.
Studies have shown that applying pressure on acupressure point HT7 (see image below) can help settle anxious nerves.(5)
Acupressure for pain
Scientists believe that the benefits of acupressure for pain are probably linked to reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, or stimulation of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.
Best acupressure points for a hangover
The best acupressure points for a hangover are those that you can do yourself without the need to call in a therapist. As well as points that relieve specific hangover symptoms.
That’s why the pressure points on your hand, wrist, and face are the ideal spots to go for.
Aside from the acupressure points mentioned above for nausea and anxiety, here are a few others to know about.
The outer gait point: applying pressure to this part of the hand is thought to give you a rush of energy.
The hand valley point: It’s claimed that applying firm touch to this pressure point may help reduce stress, as well as alleviate migraines, toothaches, shoulder tension, and neck pain.
Are there any negatives?
The great thing about acupressure is that you can do it yourself, it’s free and you can do it whenever you want.
So, it’s hard to pick out any negatives for doing acupressure when hungover.
There are just a few things to be aware of. Acupressure shouldn’t be done over open wounds, bruises, varicose veins, or any area that is bruised or swollen.
Pressure should be gentle over fragile or sensitive areas, such as the face. In general, acupressure should never be painful. Therefore, if you or your therapist are applying too much pressure, pain is a good sign to stop and reassess.
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve had too many drinks for your body to handle. Preventing hangovers from happening in the first place is the best approach.
Drinking within your limits, keeping well hydrated and eating a meal before going out is all it takes to prevent the worst hangovers.
Aside from this, avoiding darker colored drinks such as red wine and whiskey may help. That’s because they darker colored drinks contain higher amounts of congeners which have been shown to make hangovers worse. You can read more about this in our article about congeners.
Acupressure for hangovers – Final words
That brings us to the end of our look into acupressure for hangovers.
Acupressure isn’t a scientifically-proven way to boost your health. That said, there are many people worldwide that see great benefits from the practice of acupressure.
There is some research (albeit limited) that shows acupressure could potentially reduce pain, nausea, and anxiety. The way it may work isn’t fully understood, but it’s thought to be from the release of endorphins and reduced muscle tension.
Because it’s noninvasive and nonpharmaceutical, there’s very little (if any) risk of adverse side effects. Therefore, it’s definitely something worth trying to help reduce your hangover symptoms.
If you’re interested in natural hangover remedies, check out our article on the best teas for a hangover.