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One hundred and sixty-two general surgical patients were prospectively randomized to one of three treatments for postoperative nausea and vomiting: (1) acupressure using elasticated bands containing a plastic button to apply sustained pressure at the P6 (Neiguan) point above the wrist, (2) control dummy bands without the pressure button and (3) antiemetic injections of prochlorperazine with each opiate given and as required. All patients received papaveretum injections as required for pain, and additional prochlorperazine injections were prescribed if nausea was not controlled in groups 1 and 2. The severity of nausea was assessed using a linear analogue scale and was significantly (P = 0.002) reduced by acupressure on both days 1 and 2, in comparison to both controls and drug treated patients. The incidence of postoperative vomiting, and the need for unplanned antiemetic injections was also reduced by acupressure but this was not statistically significant. Acupressure can work and should be investigated in other clinical situations.