The nausea and dizziness that accompany motion sickness can be a severely debilitating condition. Motion sickness can occur in any number of situations, such as on an airplane, in a car, on a boat, or on rides at an amusement park. For some people, motion sickness does not even require actual movement; Some people will experience motion sickness in response to perceived or anticipated movement. Motion sickness typically ends when the motion (or perception of motion) has ended. More than one unfortunate individual has spent the majority of their time on an expensive and exotic cruise ship vacation in bed or in the bathroom, unable to enjoy themselves.
Physically, motion sickness is caused when there is a conflict between the signals sent from the eyes, inner ear, and the rest of the body. Sometimes the conflict is subtle; for example, when one is inside the cabin of a ship, there may be no visual perception of motion, but the inner ear, which controls balance, detects the rocking of the boat. The symptoms of motion sickness can include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, increased salivation, headache, paleness of the skin, and cold sweats.
There are some basic things that a person can do to help avoid motion sickness. A general reduction in stress and anxiety levels will often help with motion sickness. Maintaining proper airflow will often help with odors that add to nausea. Many people have experienced success with distraction techniques (other than reading; reading can make motion sickness worse) that keep their minds occupied and away from motion sickness. Other people find that the use of a head rest or a neck pillow will minimize the movement of the head, and thereby reduce motion sickness. Having light meals and avoiding greasy foods and alcohol prior to travel may help with motion sickness, as will eating foods high in carbohydrates.
Some medications are available for motion sickness. However, most of these can cause drowsiness and can impair judgment in the user. The most common of these is Scopolamine. This is taken prior to travel, and is available as a patch. Other medications that must be taken prior to travel include promethazine, cyclizine, and meclizine. Dimenhydrinate, otherwise known as Dramamine, can be taken after symptoms start, and must be taken every 4 to 8 hours.
Some people who experience motion sickness have had success with the use of herbs. The most effective of these seems to be ginger, and some clinical trials have even seemed to support its effectiveness. Other herbs used for motion sickness include black horehound (ballotta nigra) and peppermint. The Chinese herbal mixture, Pingandan, is also used. Other people have turned to a variety of other alternative therapies, including acupuncture and massage therapy. Homeopathic remedies have included Borax, Cocculus, Nux Vomica, Petroleum, Sepia, and Tabacum.
There are also a couple of types of wristbands that may be useful in reducing sea-sickness. Each has its own unique way of helping the person with sea sickness.
The first type of wristband uses pressure points to alleviate sea sickness. These bands are made from knitted elastic. The materials are tough, long-lasting, and washable. Typically, there are no buckles or clasps, and the elastic allows them to be used by people of all ages and sizes. These bands can be used on children as young as 2 years old. They work through plastic studs sewn into the elastic that place pressure on the “Nei Kuan” pressure point, and specifically work to reduce nausea and vomiting. In addition, these bands are thought to help with nausea due to pregnancy, anesthesia, and other causes, such as chemotherapy. One of the most popular commercial brands of this type of band is called the Sea Band. These bands can be worn before sea sickness symptoms set in to prevent sea sickness, or they may be worn after symptoms start to reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms.
A second type of sea sickness wristband works by sending gentle pulses of electricity into your body. These pulses help to interfere with the nausea messages that your body is sending to your brain. They run on small lithium batteries, and are waterproof and shockproof. These types of bands are not recommended for use by children. These bands use a leather strap which is adjusted to your wrist size.
Motion sickness does not have to be debilitating. Through a combination of preventive measures, and medicinal and alternative health treatments, you may be able to keep your motion sickness under control, and be able to more fully enjoy your travel or vacation.