Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to medical devices.
Reliefband is an FDA-cleared wristband used to prevent nausea and vomiting. The company claims that their device sends electrical signals to the brain that shut off nausea, and that the device is side-effect-free.
But is Reliefband proven to work, or are these just marketing claims? Does FDA-clearance mean it's proven to be effective? How does Reliefband work? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Reliefband?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze medical studies on Reliefband to give our take on whether the device is likely to be effective, or if it's a waste of money.
We'll explain the difference between FDA clearance and FDA approval, discuss side effects, and feature unsponsored Reliefband customer reviews. We'll also provide a price comparison to show which retailer sells Reliefband for the best price.
Is Reliefband Proven to Work?
Reliefband has been studied in several clinical trials published in peer-reviewed medical journals, which is the gold standard for product research and the sign of a high-quality brand that takes research seriously.
A 2003 clinical trial tested the effects of the Reliefband on nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, because chemotherapy can often induce these symptoms. Patients in the trial either used the Reliefband or an inactive device.
Patients using Reliefband experienced a reduction in vomiting of greater than 50% (1.9 vs. 4.6 average episodes). Their nausea severity was around 40% lower (0.91 vs. 1.65).
A clinical trial published in the Anesthesiology journal compared the efficacy of antiemetic medications (drugs which prevent vomiting) alone versus antiemetic medications combined with Reliefband.
Trial participants using Reliefband in combination with the drugs had a significant reduction in nausea (20% experienced nausea with Reliefband vs. 50% without), and none of the Reliefband users experienced vomiting while 20% of the patients on antiemetic medications alone did.
A 2015 clinical trial reported similarly positive results. Patients undergoing a medical operation were evaluated for postoperative nausea and vomiting using either the Reliefband or a “sham” device to test the placebo effect.
Patients using the Reliefband had lower scores of nausea and vomiting, and required fewer doses of anti-vomiting drugs. Patient satisfaction scores were also much higher in the Reliefband group.
The research backing the efficacy of Reliefband is impressive, and overall we consider Reliefband likely to be effective for reducing nausea and vomiting.
This device provides a non-invasive way to treat symptoms that often require medication, which is a huge benefit for consumers in our opinion.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of Reliefband? We'll feature two unsponsored user reviews in the next section.
Real Users Try Reliefband
A video published by a YouTube creator named “EFTMOnline” has over 50,000 views and claims Reliefband was successful for treating nausea:
A TikTok creator named Nicole Lynn shares a positive experience using Reliefband on a long car drive:
@nicolelynn021 Road trip to Disney/Universal #reliefband #motionsickness #nomoremotionsickness ♬ original sound - Nicole Lynn
What Does FDA Clearance Mean?
As documented in the intro to this article, Reliefband is FDA-cleared. But what does that actually mean, and how does it differ from FDA-approval?
According to the FDA, clearance means that a medical device is “substantially equivalent” to a similar device already on the market. As an example, a blood pressure cuff with a similar structure and similar materials to one already existing on the market may be cleared by the FDA for use.
For the most part, this process involves the FDA reviewing information submitted by the medical device manufacturer arguing the safety and efficacy of their device.
Typically the FDA does not actually conduct any testing of their own, according to a CNET investigation, but rather reviews results from independent labs (presumably that the medical device manufacturer paid to conduct testing).
FDA clearance is definitely a good sign of a legitimate product as it suggests safety and equivalent efficacy to devices using similar technology that are already on the market.
FDA approval is a different process, and means the FDA actually considers a product like a drug likely to be effective based on a review of research studies, as we documented in our BeActive Plus reviews article.
But how does Reliefband actually work? What does it do in the body? We'll answer these questions in the next section.
How Does Reliefband Work?
Reliefband doesn’t publish enough information about how their device works on their website in our opinion, but we can find relevant information in the clinical trials on Reliefband.
The first-linked study in the first section of this article documents what technology Reliefband uses. Electrical pulses are delivered to a point in the wrist called the P6 point. This transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TCES) sends signals to the brain which reduce nausea.
Reliefband published a blog post describing the area of the brain that controls nausea, called the dorsal vagal complex, and how Reliefband stimulates this area to reduce the sensation of nausea.
Apparently when the dorsal vagal complex is stimulated with TCES, it reduces the intensity and frequency of nervous system activity traveling from the vagus nerve to the stomach, which in turn reduces nausea and vomiting.
A video from Reliefband's official YouTube channel is under a minute long and uses animations to show how the device works in the body:
Where to Buy Reliefband for the Best Price
There are five different Reliefband models. Reliefband 50 Hours is the cheapest, and Reliefband Premier is the most expensive.
We can't find any information suggesting the higher-priced models are more effective than the lower-priced models, and the clinical trials on Reliefband that we cited do not specify a model, so it may make sense to purchase the cheapest option.
Here's a price breakdown at the time of updating this article:
Reliefband 50 Hours
Brand website: $99.99 (free shipping – link)
DoorDash: $71.49 (plus shipping – link)
Brand website: $279.99 (free shipping, link)
Best Buy: $229.99 (free shipping – link)
Amazon: $229.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)
Reliefband products are currently cheaper at third-party retailers like DoorDash and Best Buy than the brand's official website.
Our Clean Anti-Nausea Picks
There are natural compounds that have been shown in clinical research to reduce nausea and stomach discomfort.
Ginger is one of the most well-studied and inexpensive anti-nausea treatments, and was shown to be effective against nausea in a medical review published in the Integrative Medicine Insights journal: “ginger is an effective and inexpensive treatment for nausea and vomiting and is safe.”
Pique Ginger Digestion Elixir is our top ginger tea pick. It contains organic ginger and organic mint, and is naturally flavored with ingredients like organic lemon peel. This tea only costs $16.
CBD is a cannabinoid derived from hemp with promising early research according to a medical review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology:
"Preclinical research indicates that cannabinioids, including CBD, may be effective clinically for treating both nausea and vomiting produced by chemotherapy or other therapeutic treatments."
Feals CBD Oil is our top CBD pick. It's made with organic hemp extract and organic coconut medium-chain triglycerides.
Both products recommended in this section are free of any additive ingredients that we consider unhealthy.
Real Customers Review Reliefband
Reliefband Classic has been reviewed over 2,000 times on Amazon, with an average review rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review comes from a verified purchaser named “Ashley Mahan” who gives the product a 5/5 rating, and claims it caused a large improvement in their quality of life by treating their nausea:
“FINALLY!!!!!!!! I have tried everything under the sun to combat my motion sickness…I literally feel like a completely changed person thanks to this device. I'm SO SO SO happy that I purchased this.”
The top negative review is written by a verified purchaser named “Ronleec5” who gives Reliefband a 1/5 star rating and claims the device did not treat their motion sickness:
“Bought these for vacation to prevent motion sickness on a boat ride. Did not work at all on the highest level. Still vomited 4 times while on the boat.”
Reliefband has an average review rating of 4/5 stars on Facebook, with many recent reviewers complaining about customer service delays.
Pros and Cons of Reliefband
Here are the pros and cons of Reliefband in our opinion:
- Clinically shown to work
- Should reduce nausea
- Cost-effective over long periods of time
- Unlikely to cause side effects
- Some online complaints about customer service