I recently saw a patient who just returned from a fishing trip with a group of friends in the Florida Keys. The weather was ideal and the fish were biting, but after his first morning on the open sea, my patient refused to get back on the boat. What could possibly spoil such a great vacation? The answer is motion sickness, a condition which roughly half of all adults have experienced.
Boating is one source of motion sickness, but many people also experience it on planes, in cars and even on amusement park rides. If you have ever had severe motion sickness like my patient, you know that the nausea, dizziness, sleepiness and headaches can be extremely uncomfortable.
My patient prefers natural treatments, so he was reluctant to take over-the-counter and prescription motion sickness medications that are known to cause side effects like extreme fatigue. He did not know about the natural remedies that treat and prevent motion sickness. I want to tell you about some of those remedies today so that you don’t end up sidelined on your next vacation.
Perception vs. Reality
Motion sickness begins in the inner ear, a part of the body that contributes to balance. If you are in a car, a plane or a boat, you are not actively creating motion. However, your inner ear detects motion even though your brain thinks your body is at rest. This confusion causes an over production of hormones that leads to symptoms of nausea, dizziness and fatigue that we associate with motion sickness.
Everyone has the potential to experience motion sickness if the conditions are extreme, like a tiny boat pitching and rolling on rough seas. In most cases, the symptoms will dissipate when you are out of the car, plane or boat.
Since you and I cannot just ask the captain of a ship or airplane to pull over because we aren’t feeling so well, I’ve researched the most effective strategies for dealing with motion sickness when it strikes. I have also identified a completely natural remedy that prevents this uncomfortable condition before it starts.
Bodies in Motion
I have seen some of these natural solutions for dealing with motion sickness work well for my patients. Even the gentleman I mentioned above is now planning next year’s fishing trip. If you suffer with this medical condition you might want to try them for yourself:
1) Ginger – This root, most often used as a spice in baking and Asian cooking, is the closest thing I know to a magic bullet for motion sickness. Take 500mg 30 minutes before you get in a car, plane or boat to prevent the onset of motion sickness. Take an additional 500mg every 2 to 4 hours while you are vulnerable to symptoms.
2) Adjust your position – On large boats and airplanes, the center of the vehicle registers less motion than the front or back ends. In the car, sit in the front so the shifting view will notify your brain that you’re in motion.
3) Stay active – This applies particularly to sailboats or other small sea vessels. Help with the handling of the boat since people who keep busy are less likely to experience symptoms.
4) Exercise your mind – Reading in the car may cause nausea, but other things that engage your mind, like spotting license plates from different states, playing word games or even having a lively conversation can reduce the intensity of your symptoms.
5) Stay calm – Many people undergo stress along with the other symptoms of motion sickness, which only makes them feel worse. If this happens to you, try relaxation techniques like visualization or laying still and tensing and relaxing your muscles one by one.
6) Wear a wristband – Special wristbands combat motion sickness by applying pressure to specific points on the body (known as acupressure points) and blocking messages of nausea and dizziness from reaching the brain.
Next time you are worried about a boat, car or plane ride, remember these natural remedies. There is no need to suffer the side effects of medications when you have these strategies at your fingertips. Whether it’s fishing, road trips or luxury cruises, you can get out there and enjoy life without the fear of motion sickness!
Photo Credit: Bernie Condon