Motion sickness is one of those afflictions which affect around a third of people at some point in their lives, so below are some tips to give you motion sickness relief. Even though scientists have worked hard to try to find the cause they still aren’t sure exactly what causes it. The most common theory is related to mismatched sensory signals received in your brain. Your eyes telling your brain you are stationary while the vestibular system in your ears are telling you brain you are moving up, down, sideways, accelerating, jumping or on a roller coaster, anything but stationary. The conflicting signals can get stronger if the eyes are looking at a stationary object like reading a book while travelling on a bumpy road.
Scientists think there may be an evolutionary explanation, in that humans have only been moving around in modern forms of transport in the past couple of centuries. Very small time frames in evolutionary terms. Previously humans would only experience this kind of sensory mismatch if they were poisoned by ingesting foods not meant for human consumption. In such cases the body would react naturally by vomiting out the offending poison to get rid of it.
Motion sickness affects everyone differently so there is no magic “cure all” treatment or motion sickness remedy. Having said that there are a range of remedies you can try to help relieve motion sickness if you are one of those that suffer from it:
Best motion sickness medication
There are quite a few different motion sickness medications that are available, some are available over the counter and some require a prescription. Also brand names vary from country to country. Whether you suffer severely or mildly with motion sickness it is best to seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist on which medication will be best for you given you may need to take into account your current medical conditions and any other medications you are taking.
This is not an exhaustive list but base products of the medications include the following:
Meclizine, Dimenhydrinate, Cyclizine, Cinnarizine, Scopolamine / Hyoscine, Hyoscine Hydrobromide, Promethazine. Your pharmacist in your country will tell you which of those requires a prescription but as already mentioned, seek medical advice from your doctor to determine the best one for you.
I personally don’t get travel sick much but sea travel sometimes affects me. I have used Kwells, a brand of Hyoscine Hydrobromide. I take one tablet the day before and one tablet an hour before boarding and that seems to do the trick.
Motion sickness patches
These are patches which are applied to the skin usually behind the ear or on the neck. The medication delivered to your body is Scopolamine which is a very effective treatment for motion sickness. Normally the patch is applied up to 24 hours in advance of your journey. However they do come with side effects, some quite serious, so talk to your doctor about whether your motion sickness condition warrants using these and only do so under their supervision.
There are several natural remedies you could try such as peppermint, fennel and chamomile tea but the one natural remedy that stands out above all others is ginger. As with the other herbal and natural remedies it won’t work for everyone but it is worth giving it a try. You can take ginger in a few different forms – raw ginger root, ginger candy, ginger tablets, ginger capsules or ginger cookies. Use as a preventative remedy, start taking it 24 hours before you trip and continue taking at regular intervals throughout the trip.
There are acupressure points on your body which when pressed can be effective in the prevention and relief of motion sickness. The easiest to locate acupressure points are located on your inner wrists and are called the Nei Kuan or P6 (Pericardium) points. These can be found by turning your hand palm up and placing your first three fingers on you arm with the third finger resting just behind the crease where your wrist meets you hand. The P6 point will then be under you first finger between the two main tendons that run lengthwise along you inner arm. It is this P6 point which wristbands are meant to press upon. Wear a wristband on both arms and be sure to locate the P6 points correctly using the above method or the wristband method won’t work. There are a variety of wristbands and bracelets available at any good pharmacy. The only way to find out if they work for you is to try them for yourself.
Stare at the horizon
One method I have used in the past and is particularly useful on ships during daylight hours is to stare at a fixed point on the horizon. This can also be used on road journey and during air travel. By fixing your eyes on a single point, a message is passed to your brain tricking it into believing you are not moving as much as you are. I once sailed through the Bay of Biscay off western France on a cruise ship in big seas and used this method to help while many others on board were suffering bad seasickness. Even though it may be cold outside, going out on the deck of a ship in the fresh air also helps and gives you something else to think about.
Dehydration makes it worse so drink water
Dehydration will exacerbate the symptoms of motion sickness so drink plenty of water. This is especially true during long haul flights which dehydrates your body due to the reduced humidity in the aircraft cabin. It is a good idea to avoid alcohol before and during your journey as this also dehydrates you and travelling with a hangover is not good as it’s likely you may feel nauseous even before starting out.
Eat light meals
Eat only easily digested light meals before your journey and if possible eat little and often during the journey. Don’t eat anything that is difficult to digest or heavy on your stomach before or during your journey, but an empty stomach is not good either, both can make you feel nauseous.
Choice of seat or cabin is important
Try to make sure you sit in the seat which will experience the least amount of motion and offers the best view to the horizon.
For different modes of transport try the following seat locations:
A car – the front seat so you can look out of the front window.
A motorcycle – as a pillion passenger make sure you can see over the rider towards the front
A bus or coach – any seat towards the front, less bumpy and you can look out of the front window.
A plane – seats towards the front feel the least motion in terms of turbulence.
A train – only sit in seats that face forwards.
A ferry or cruise ship – site near the window facing forwards on a ferry and get a cabin in the middle of the ship below decks, but spend as much time as possible outside on the deck.
If you found the above tips to give you motion sickness relief helpful, please share so others can benefit from the post as well or if you have any questions or tips of your own on motion sickness remedies, leave a comment below.