Motion sickness can be extremely unpleasant and inconvenient for people who suffer with it chronically. It’s something of a mystery as to why some people experience much worse symptoms than others, but we do know that it’s a severe problem for many. The symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, as well as headaches, sweating and even hyperventilation due to stress.
However, you don’t necessarily have to be resigned to the fact that you won’t ever be able to travel comfortably. Motion sickness has a cause, and even if we can’t identify it at first, we can try different methods to regulate the body’s senses until something improves the symptoms. Here are some ideas that you can try instead of medication, if that doesn’t appeal to you or has failed to work.
1) Desensitise yourself –
Before you travel, if you know nausea is likely to be a problem, it’s worth training yourself. Try travelling for a short period of time to expose yourself to the symptoms, then stop to recover. Keep increasing the amount of time until you feel increasingly comfortable. For many people this process is slow but very effective.
2) Avoid upsetting your system –
Before and during your journey, regulate your food and drink intake. Alcohol is unlikely to help, and the same goes for anything too rich or fatty that’s harsh on your digestive system. Ideally you don’t want to be too full or too hungry.
3) Stay in control –
This might not be an option, but if you can take control of your transport (e.g. driving as opposed to being a passenger) your brain will have a better understanding of your movements, minimising the effects of motion sickness.
4) Keep your focus –
If you’re forced to be a passenger, you can still concentrate on other things to take your mind off the movement. Try looking straight ahead at the horizon, and distracting yourself from the actual motion. This helps to keep your senses calibrated.
5) Choose your location –
If you’re on board a large vehicle like a plane or a ship, staying close to the centre and as low down as possible will minimise the amount of unnecessary motion you’re subjected to. Avoid being too close to anyone else who is feeling ill, too.
6) Be patient –
Eventually your body will have the capacity to recalibrate itself and get used to motion sickness. If you’re suffering for a long time, for example on a cruise ship, this may be very difficult to deal with but after hours or even days your body will eventually be able to adapt. Psychological factors are important here too, so you may find that distracting yourself speeds up this process significantly. Children normally grow out of the problem, or it reduces significantly in adulthood.