Posted on Jun 14, 2018, 8 p.m.
Driving, flying, boating, and amusement park rides can elicit a sense of fear or trepidation with unpleasant visions of looming dizziness, nausea, and vomiting for those of us who suffer from motion sickness.
It is estimated that motion sickness affects around 15-25% of the population. When physical sense of movement and visual perception are at odds motion sickness can occur; such as when looking at a book or phone while driving the inner ears sense movement as the car sways about, but eyes only register a stationary object resulting in a conflict of senses in the vestibular system. This miscommunication elicits unpleasant and often debilitating symptoms. Research shows that video games can contribute to motion sickness in a large proportion of the population as well.
It would be just perfect if motion sickness didn’t happen at all, but that’s not the case. First thing to do is try to reduce the sensory conflict. If in a moving car try to focus on something inside of it, put down that stationary object. Closing your eyes won’t work as studies show that even blind people are susceptible to motion sickness. Try to focus on the path or horizon ahead, only look straight ahead not to the side as that will make it worse, looking ahead will help to align sense of motion in muscles and inner ear with what is being seen to help minimize the sensory conflict. Sitting in the middle or in in the front seat can also help.
Sitting in the front normally isn’t an option on a plane, but that middle seat still comes into play especially over the wing which is the most calm spot available. Ensuring that there is plenty of cool air blowing on your face will be of great value while trying to breath slowly and deeply, keep in mind that this can dehydrate you so be sure to drink plenty of water.
What you eat before you travel can contribute to motion sickness regardless to manner of travel. It is best to avoid consuming spicy, heavy, fatty foods before travel as studies show that these can contribute to making more people susceptible to motion sickness. Alcohol is also on the avoid list, it is recommended to wait until your feet are on solid ground to indulge.
There are prescriptions to treat motion sickness such as antihistamines and scopolamine, but they can cause dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness, and blurred vision. For those wanting to avoid pharmaceuticals there are natural routes that may be of benefit as well.
Ginger is well known for its stomach settling effects and they are well documented, including studies on the beneficial effectiveness of ginger on the symptoms of motion sickness.
Peppermint has been shown to effectively treat nausea associated with motion sickness.
Chamomile herbal tea contains several terpenoids and flavonoids that can settle gastrointestinal upset and feelings of nausea associated with motion sickness.
Studies have shown that acupressure bands can significantly reduce symptoms of motion sickness. 25 healthy motion sickness susceptible subjects placed in a rotating apparatus designed to promote symptoms wearing acupressure bands showed fewer and less severe symptoms. These bands are fairly cheap and are easy to integrate into travels, even a small difference makes it ever so appealing to most people susceptible to motion sickness.
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