Motion sickness can be a frustrating and debilitating experience. Yet, the medications developed to help with motion sickness are often not a viable option. For many people that experience motion sickness, the traditional medications, such as the Scopolamine patch or Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) are not acceptable solutions. The drowsiness that accompanies these medications can often result in a person not being able to enjoy the activity that triggers motion sickness in the first place. More than one sad traveler on a cruise has missed a good portion of his trip because she was either too sick or too tired to participate.
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 remedies that may help those who do not wish to use the traditional medications.
- A variety of wrist bands, which use either pressure or electric methods, are also available that may assist people with motion sickness.
- Some people who experience motion sickness have had success with the use of herbal remedies. 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.
In addition to the above remedies, 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.