Natural Motion Sickness Remedies

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I have suffered from motion sickness all my life, and if you’re in the same boat you know it’s no fun.

If you want to see the pathetic state it puts me in, Matt can do a pretty accurate impersonation of my “car sick” behavior (overdramatizing for comedic purposes of course).

Since we’re preparing for a trip to Alaska, I had to review all the natural ways to quell my motion sickness on the airplane and during curvy car rides through scenic landscape.

Years ago I used to stock up on Dramamine for plane rides and beg and plead with siblings so I could sit in the front seat for car trips. Thank goodness I’ve found some things over the years that work better and  don’t involve drugs that make me look narcoleptic. (Falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder during a plane ride is not cool.)

If you suffer from motion sickness, you know that once it sets in there is little you can do to treat it; taking steps to prevent it is your best bet.

Traveling by car, airplane, train, or boat this summer? Review these several ways to reduce motion sickness and enjoy your trip.

Motion Sickness Remedies

Tips for preventing or reducing motion sickness

Breathing – My first line of defense against motion sickness is taking deep breaths. It helps with an upset stomach and reduces dizziness. Breathing slowly and deeply will give me bursts of relief on a short trip and help me relax overall. (It also doubles as a signal to Matt that his driving needs to be more smooth and gentle.)

Focus your eyes – My motion sickness is exacerbated when I look at things whizzing by me at high speeds. It helps to focus on the road ahead, the horizon, or a stationary object in the distance. Keeping my body still and my head facing forward is important so my brain and inner ear can sync up and aren’t so confused.

Acupressure wristbands – I discovered these in an attempt to prevent any embarrassment during a car trip with some girlfriends. I was desperate to enjoy the road trip and avoid making a scene with a head-out-the-window-barfing routine. Thank goodness they worked for me! The bands work by applying pressure to the inside of the wrist at the Nei-Kuan point. Stimulation of this acupressure point can reduce nausea. These bands can be purchased online, in drugstores, and some large grocery chains. Better yet, you can try making your own with a large rubber band and small pebble or bead! Just make sure to place it in the correct position.

Peppermint – Although peppermint has never really worked for me, each body is different. You can put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a handkerchief and wave it in front of your nose while inhaling. Sucking on peppermint candies or drinking a strong cup of peppermint tea is also effective for some.

Ginger – (a.k.a. Zingiber officinale), is a fairly common remedy for motion sickness and nausea. It can be taken in many forms to be helpful. Try chewing on ginger candies (make your own!) or even eating ginger cookies. Slowly sipping ginger tea or all natural ginger soda may quell nausea. Ginger tablets or capsules can help, and work best if taken about an hour before traveling. (If you are pregnant or taking blood thinners you should consult your trusted health care provider before taking ginger.)

Motion Sickness Remedies

Other simple hints

If you’re prone to motion sickness, here are some other simple suggestions to consider:

  • Avoid reading or writing while in motion. (Yes, it can make for a very long, boring trip but it will help.)
  • Listening to music, laying your head back, and cracking a window (or directing a fan on your face if on an airplane) will calm you and keep nausea at bay.
  • Always face forward in your seat and avoid turning your head as much as possible.
  • Getting behind the wheel is best to prevent motion sickness in a car, but sitting in the front seat or in the middle of the back seat (so you can look ahead at the road) is the next best.
  • For a smoother ride, try to get a seat toward the front when traveling by bus, or near the wing on an airplane.
  • Give a disclaimer when getting into a car with others. I usually say something like this, “I’m not trying to be rude, but I won’t be able to look at you or read maps for you, and I would LOVE to sit in the front if at all possible.” This warning keeps me from having a miserable ride, feeling nauseated even after getting out of the vehicle, and keeps other passengers from wondering why I’m acting strange and looking green.

Do you suffer from motion sickness? What are your favorite tips for enjoying your travels and reducing sickness?


Resources and References

photo credit to Patxi Izkue and The Wolf

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

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  1. Tanya says

    Easiest, cheapest cure is: Block one ear with cotton wool (I was told blu-tack or cotton wool, but don’t like the idea of blu-tack in my ear!). I get EXTREME sea-sickness (and I’m married to a fisherman :s ), and my Mum heard this idea on the radio 10 years or so ago when they were interviewing a skipper from one of the yachts in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. A friend who gets car sick has also had success with it.

    The reason it works I believe, is that our brains decide we have ingested something to cause us to be disorientated when it receives conflicting messages from the eyes and ears – so then says “throw it back up so we get better”. By blocking one ear, the brain says “forget the ears, they’re not working properly at the moment, listen to the eyes” and there is no problem. I learnt the hard way though that if you lay down to have a sleep you need to UNBLOCK your ear while your eyes are closed! The ears are back in charge while the eyes are shut it seems 🙂

    Hope this helps everyone, I am still amazed at how simple a solution it is that worked for me. I had tried pressure bands, ginger, Kwells etc etc all with no luck – but blocking one ear with cotton wool works perfectly 🙂