Unbelievably I have managed to survive another rotation of the sun and, like every year wanted to do something exciting for my birthday. Unfortunately, because I have been snowed under with work, I had no free time to organise anything with friends. At the last moment out of a mixture frustration and a drive not to waste the 2 days I miraculously managed to get off work, I convinced one of my buddies to take the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam for the day. Despite taking over 17 hours to get to the Netherlands the journey was extremely fun as we spent the vast majority of it in the bars onboard. Between pints, we grabbed a bite to eat and took some time to peruse the shop, where I found this gem!
As many will know, I am on a never-ending quest to find something to cure my increasingly violent hangovers and Sea-Band sounded perfect. This is because it claims to provide “effective drug-free relief from many forms of nausea including travel, motion, and morning sickness. The product itself consists of two thin sweat bands with a plastic nub on the inside that puts pressure on your wrists – specifically on the P6 (Nei-Kuan) acupressure points. According to their website “illness results from an imbalance in the flow of Chi (‘life energy’) though the body” and putting pressure on parts of your body somehow rebalances this flow?!?! I am not being flippant here – I can’t find an explanation of how this physically prevents nausea on their website, but as I was desperate to try anything that would prevent the inevitable hangover, I bought them anyway. I then spent the next 6 hours in the bars onboard before heading back to my cabin to sleep off the many pints I had consumed.
I was awoken early the next day by the captain over the intercom who informed us that we would be arriving in the Netherlands soon and for us to vacate our rooms. Those of you who seem to enjoy me being in pain will be happy to know that the bands did NOTHING and I was suffering from a particularly nasty headache, amplified by the fact that the ship was swaying from side to side and our tiny room that can’t have been more than 6 cubic meters must have been about 30C. I felt sick as a dog and, luckily for me, my friend was able to capture this rather unceremonious moment in 720p.
The majority of the morning was spent making our way to Amsterdam via a bus on which the air conditioning was pitiful. The whole time I was wearing my Sea-Bands, and the whole time I thought I was going to throw up at any moment. When we finally arrived in the city, I drank my own body weight in water and ate some stodgy food to get rid of my hangover the old fashioned way. Within an hour I felt fine and was ready for round two like the high-functioning alcoholic that I am. Despite only spending a small amount of time in Amsterdam, I had a fantastic time bar-hopping whilst all the while wearing my Sea-Bands which I decided to give a second go.
The Sea-Band failed again as the next day I once more felt like death! The bands did nothing but rob me of €9.20 and leave me with red marks where the plastic nubs had been putting pressure on my wrists. I was angry that a product that claimed to be “clinically tested” and “recommended by health experts” failed so badly. A day later, when I was feeling more human, I went back on their website to perhaps find an explanation of why it failed and was surprised to find that on their own website, there is no scientific evidence to support the method of action.
“So far there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of ‘chi’ or ‘meridians,’ despite studies that show acupuncture and acupressure can be effective in relieving nausea, vomiting, and pain. Western doctors prefer to seek other, more medically acceptable, explanations for the phenomenon.”
Despite being initially disappointed after reading this on their website, I was optimistic that there were “studies that show acupuncture and acupressure can be effective in relieving nausea, vomiting, and pain”. However a systematic review of acupressure found that the clinical trials from the past decade, including those ones referenced on Sea-Bands’ website and ones specifically looking into the effectiveness of Sea-Bands, “did not provide rigorous support for the efficacy of acupressure for summation management”. They concluded that there was a “significant likelihood of bias” and that “rigorous trials are needed” if acupressure is to be seen as a legitimate medical procedure.
Despite the fact there’s no scientific mode of action for them to prevent nausea, that the studies showing their effectiveness are heavily biased, and the fact that they cost a small fortune, despite all those the main reason I would not recommend anyone using them is they hurt like hell! I wore them for approximately 2 days, and at the end, I had painful red marks on my wrists. Also, it’s surprising the number of times I hit them against a surface and had the hard plastic nub painfully jabbed into me. Looking at the reviews, I was not the only one who experienced discomfort – with one trial reporting that up to 90% of people experienced “pain, numbness, soreness and hand-swelling” from using the wristbands. In short stay away from this product.
Its a shame I had to get drunk to discover this product was useless and I hope you fine people of the internet appreciate my sacrifice. I look forward to continuing my never-ending quest to find something to cure my hangovers.