Acupressure is the science of pressuring Chinese acupuncture points in the hope of producing positive health outcomes. Either you believe in it or not, acupressure is at the heart of traditional Chinese medicine.
The concept is not new, and already in 2001, a small clinical study showed the benefits of acupressure at the Neiguan point (P6) to reduce symptoms in pregnant women suffering from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP).
In another clinical study, including 230 pregnant women, conducted in 2003, the stimulation of the median nerve at the P6 point also proved helpful in reducing nausea and vomiting in women in the first trimester of pregnancy.
To date, 16 randomized clinical trials proved the benefits of standard manual acupressure therapy. The next step was to explore the potential benefits of Digital Health and technology.
This is precisely the goal of Sense Relief Inc. who is on a path to bring Chinese Traditional treatments to the 21st century.
What about the company?
Founded in 2018, the San-Francisco-based company aims at changing acupressure by combining it with the Apple Watch. It may seem orchid to use a smartwatch to minimize nausea, but it makes a lot of sense.
The company recently received an Innovation Grant of an undisclosed amount from the UCSF-Stanford Pediatric Device Consortium to continue developing and conducting clinical studies for its innovative antiemetic digital approach.
The funding will be used to develop a more effective personalized treatment for nausea and collect data to potentially develop new treatments for other maternal health-related issues.
According to Matt Bucklin, the company’s co-founder, “the data collected through wearable sensors can be applied to use predictive analytics to create digital medical software that can detect early warning signs of preterm labor and preeclampsia, which will be a major advancement in maternal health.”
Sense Relief will also integrate the CardinalKit, an Open-Source solution developed by the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, that offers an Open-Source Solution for HIPAA data collection to accelerate the development of Digital Health solutions.
What about the Sense Relief App?
Sense Relief is exclusively available on the Apple Store and is currently free. The app makes the most of the Apple Watch Tactic Engine.
For women suffering from pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, or people with motion sickness, virtual reality (VR) related nausea, or any feelings of vomiting, sickness, or retching, tap on your smartwatch and let technology do the rest.
As long as the watch is positioned correctly on the P6 acupressure point (easy to position when looking at the drawing on the iPhone), it should just take a couple of minutes, between 3 to 15 mins for most, to get nausea relief.
Once started, the stimulation will be applied for 3 mins but can be stopped at any time in case of discomfort.
The Sense Relief App comes with two modes:
- When feeling nauseous, press the START icon for immediate stimulation and relief,
- For stimulation every 20 minutes, Sense Relief offers an AUTO mode. This mode is more for people suffering from chronic discomfort.
The app. was initially designed with pregnant women in mind, but the potential applications go far beyond morning sickness.
Patients suffering from motion sickness, hangovers, stress or medication, and vestibular neuritis could benefit from this innovative approach.
Interestingly, Sense Relief is also expanding its technological ecosystem to more than the Apple Watch and could soon be available to other Swartwatches, including Samsung and Fitbit.
To wrap up
Combining traditional medical approaches such as acupressure with technology is an exciting approach. Sense Relief app carries many potentials, and 53% of the users keep using it, which is proof that they experienced some form of benefits.
Sense Relief App also has potential for people suffering from the side effects of anti-cancerous treatments, often associated with nausea.
Somehow, despite its potential, acupressure should not be considered a replacement for other antiemetic therapies. Talk to your doctor about this approach. Considering the risk-benefits ratio, we bet that he will suggest you try.