Motion Sickness

Motion sickness occurs when the body is subjected to accelerations of movement in different directions or under conditions where visual contact with the actual outside horizon is lost. The balance center of the inner ear then sends information to the brain that conflicts with the visual clues of apparently standing still in the interior cabin of a ship, airplane or car. From one third to one half of airline passengers will experience some degree of motion sickness when encountering heavy turbulence. It has been found that fear or anxiety can lower the threshold for experiencing symptoms, however some individuals seem to be naturally prone to motion sickness since childhood. Symptoms generally consist of dizziness, fatigue, and nausea which may progress to vomiting.

Prevention is best accomplished by seeking areas of lesser movement in an interior location of a large ship or by facing forward and looking outside a ship or plane. Several medications are now available both by prescription and over the counter that may prevent or limit the symptoms of motion sickness. If medications are necessary, they are best taken at least one hour before embarking. The OTC medications Dramamine or Bonine can be very effective for short trips or when symptoms occur intermittently. For longer trips, a prescription medication called Transderm-Scop comes in the form of a patch can be worn behind the ear for up to three days at a time. Side effects of these medications usually consist of sedation and dry mouth and they should not be taken by people who have glaucoma or urinary obstruction.


Conditions that suggest Motion Sickness

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General  

Motion sickness

Counter Indicators
Symptoms - Gas-Int - General  

Absence of motion sickness

Risk factors for Motion Sickness


Recommendations for Motion Sickness


Ginger Root (Zingiber officinalis)

In a widely cited study of Danish naval cadets, those given 1 gram of powdered ginger daily had much fewer incidents of cold sweats and vomiting (classic symptoms of seasickness) than did those given a placebo. A number of other studies have demonstrated similar findings concerning ginger’s calming effect on motion sickness.

Take l00 – 250mg 2 hours before departing and then every 4 hours afterward, as needed.


Electrical Devices

The ReliefBand® Device is a drug-free remedy which has received FDA clearance for treatment of nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy, chemotherapy, motion sickness, and as an adjunct to antiemetics for post-operative nausea. ReliefBand® Device is a class II medical device. Further information can be viewed on their home page.

Oriental Medicine  


Sea-Bands have proven effective in clinical trials for the relief of nausea and vomiting associated with motion or travel sickness. Sea-bands are worn around the wrists to maintain pressure on certain acupuncture points, which can alleviate or reduce the nausea.


Weak or unproven link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
Likely to help
Highly recommended



Apprehension of danger, or dread, accompanied by nervous restlessness, tension, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath unrelated to a clearly identifiable stimulus.


Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.


A drug or medication that can legally be bought without a doctor's prescription being required.


A disease of the eye characterized by vision loss due to an increase in the pressure of fluid within the eye. This rise in pressure results from a build-up of aqueous fluid and leads to progressive damage to the optic nerve that transmits visual signals to the brain. Over time, glaucoma can lead to a gradual loss in peripheral vision. There are usually no signs that you're developing glaucoma until vision loss occurs.

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