Have you ever avoided travelling just because the very thought of being on a four-wheeler, boat or airplane makes you feel sick? You’re not alone! Millions of people, more women than men, regularly put off travel due to motion sickness. Though this isn’t a serious medical condition, it can have a deep psychological impact on the way we feel about travel. Motion sickness or travel sickness is a feeling of nausea, dizziness and sometimes vomiting triggered by being in a mode of transport. It is mainly caused by confused sensations. When the eyes perceive movement differently from the actual sense of movement, the result is kinetosis or motion sickness.
Motion sickness can get so debilitating that a person may even shy from traveling over short distances. Many times, the physical effects of kinetosis trigger strong psychological reactions and a person may start to magnify the feelings of motion sickness. Motion sickness can seem worse if one suffers from spondylitis, astigmatism, and ear infection.
Types of Motion Sickness:
Motion sickness is named after the particular mode of transport that triggers this uneasy feeling.
- Spinning sickness
Motion Sickness – Some Simple Measures:
If you find that you cannot delay or avoid travel anymore, here are some easy things you can do to get through the journey:
- Roll down the windows and get some fresh air. Bad car smell is a big nausea trigger.
- Look out the window at far off objects OR directly in the direction of travel, again as far off objects. The closer the objects you look at, the more conflict there is between the eyes (vision) and inner ears (sense of movement and balance).
- If it is night time, simply taking a nap or closing the eyes is of great help. It soothes you by shutting down one of the two conflicting senses.
- Keep your mouth busy – chew gum, eat cookies or chips and sip water. The movement of the jaw helps relieve the tension. It will also relieve the headaches caused by nausea.
- Avoid reading or playing video games.
- Find a seat as close to the driver as possible. The best bet is to BE the driver!
- Don’t travel on an empty stomach. If you think no feed means no puking, you are sadly mistaken.
- Keep hydrated.
- Avoid very heavy, fatty and spicy meals before the trip. They will make the acidity in the stomach shoot up.
Home Remedies for Motion Sickness
In addition to these tips, here are fifteen very effective home remedies that you can try to soothe your motion sickness.
Time tested and sure shot – Ginger is a wonder root that will alleviate the effects of motion sickness. Many ginger based medicines are available in pharmacies; you can also try ginger tea. While boiling water for tea, add some slices of ginger and allow it to boil well with the water. Next, steep some tea, add some honey or sugar. Your ginger tea is ready. Sip it at least an hour before the journey. You can also carry some along in a flask. Also worth a shot are ginger ale, ginger root and ginger cookies. If you don’t have access to any of these, just keep sniffing a slice or two of ginger wrapped in a tissue. This works every time.
This one is from personal experience. Take a slice of lemon (or any citrus fruit) along with you in a paper towel and keep sniffing it from time to time. The fresh, tangy fragrance of the fruit is a sure shot way to soothe motion sickness and related symptoms. You can also try sipping a light lime soda. It works wonders.
This refreshing herb does more than just refresh the senses. Chewing on peppermint candy can actually help in reducing nausea and headaches caused by motion sickness. This remedy for motion sickness is suitable even for toddlers. If you don’t like the flavor, you can try a dab of peppermint oil on the wrist or in a handkerchief. It is aromatherapy on the drive.
4. Ice chips:
Alleviate your nausea and queasiness by sucking on some ice chips. It is soothing, gives you something to do and for the weight watchers – has zero calories! The iced water neutralizes the acidity of a nauseated stomach and makes you feel better immediately.
5. Apple Juice:
Sip apple juice before and during the journey, and your motion sickness will be gone. However, don’t consume large quantities at a time as too much liquid in the stomach will definitely make you puke. Sipping this non-acidic juice gradually will help calm the stomach and nerves. Any other non-citrus juice works just as well.
6. Salty crackers or biscuits:
Travelling on an empty stomach feels like a good way to avoid vomiting. However, this is a misconception. Keep nibbling on crackers or biscuits to prevent gastric juices from building up in an empty stomach. You can also try salted potato chips.
7. Light Meals:
At least an hour before you travel, have a light, low fat meal as you would on any other day. Research says that an empty stomach is more likely to produce acidity, nausea and vomiting. The fuller your stomach is, the better your journey will be. However, don’t go overboard by eating a huge meal. It won’t help.
Brew a light, low sugar cup of tea and sip it before your journey. The mild flavors will not just refresh you; they will also keep your stomach in a neutral state. Tea also has natural soothing and calming agents. However, avoid making a very strong brew as it creates acidity. The same goes for coffee. If you must have some, make sure it is a light decaf cup rather than a strong coffee loaded with milk, cream and caffeine.
So none of the above remedies for motion sickness seem to work for you? Well, measure three finger widths from your wrist on the inner arm. With your thumb, apply pressure on this spot and hold it there for some time. Do this repeatedly until you feel some respite. This is the acupressure point for nausea and works fine for most people in reducing symptoms related to motion sickness.
10. Ice cream:
Wow! Finally a fun home remedy for motion sickness! Ice cream contains milk cream – to soothe acidity – and ice – to soothe a nauseous stomach. This is a great remedy, especially for kids on the drive. It also keeps them excited for the next ice cream stop.
This is a great antacid and anti-inflammatory remedy. Licorice taken as a tincture, decoction or infusion reduces acidity in the stomach and brings down mucus in the stomach lining. Licorice candy works just the same way. CAUTION: do not take licorice if you are pregnant as it can induce contractions.
This beautiful herb is beneficial in reducing the headache and nausea that comes from motion sickness. Sip a chamomile tea and you will feel your body relax immensely. It also reduces the overall feeling of fatigue accompanying motion sickness. It has natural calming agents and a beautiful aroma. A sure way to make you feel relaxed!
13. Mint Leaves:
No, not a breath mint, I mean mint – the actual herb. Chew some fresh mint leaves or add it to your tea. It is a great remedy for motion sickness and nausea. It can also be given safely to children. The fresh fragrance and flavor of the mint is a natural calming agent.
14. Carbonated drinks:
Try sipping (NOT gulping) a carbonated cola during and before a journey. The carbon dioxide will help release the excess bloating of motion sickness related nausea and the cold water will soothe the stomach. (A warning: It may cause some belching!)
15. Deep breathing:
You don’t have to be a yoga guru to do deep breathing. Inhale fresh air deeply and slowly. The surge of clean and fresh oxygen not only soothes motion sickness, it also benefits by reducing anxiety.
Any or all of these remedies and tips are sure to work with you. Do a trial and error bout and decide what works best for you as you venture on that dreaded journey. Moreover, try to relax, what’s the worst that can happen? That you will throw up! Big deal! Go ahead and do it, you will feel loads better afterwards. This will surely end that pucker face you’ve been making for a while.
These herbal and natural remedies are better as compared to allopathic medicines for motion sickness as these OTC medicines usually cause excessive drowsiness and blurred vision for at least 24 hours. Not very useful if you have to attend a meeting right after you fly or drive. Don’t let motion sickness rob you of the wonderful experience of travelling. Try some of these remedies and you will find yourself waiting for the next flight, drive or voyage.