Holiday Health

Prevention and Treatment of Motion Sickness

On the third day of the voyage, the weather took a turn for the worse. The sky turned dark grey and the sea became rough and tumultuous. The passenger ship tossed from side to side. Joyce felt an unsettling sensation within her stomach. She retired early to her cabin, laid down and tried to read. However, this only made things worse. Suddenly, she lurched forward and with a forceful heave, disgorged her evening’s seven-course meal in its entirety.
– A cruise vacationer sufferins from sea-sicknesses

Motion Sickness

Joyce has the typical symptoms of motion sickness. It will probably take another day or two before she gets her ‘sea legs’.

All of us, at one time or another, have experienced the unpleasant effects of motion sickness. Other names for this malady include sea, air or car sickness, and relate more to the mode of transportation than the process.

Even astronauts in space suffer from motion sickness.

What is motion sickness?

Research has suggested that some people harbor genes that make them particularly sensitive to this illness.

Certain things are known. Inside our brains is an equilibrium centre that integrates all the sensory information that helps us maintain our balance. Sensory information has three sources: visual (eyesight), somatic (sensors located in our peripheral nerves, muscles and joints) and, most important, the part of the brain called the vestibular system.

The vestibular system includes three small, semicircular canals and two small bones (otoliths) that are located near the eardrums. Normally, information from all three sources work in harmony allowing precise coordination of our movements’ be it walking, running or dancing.
Problems occur when there is conflicting information. For example, imagine that you are standing on a rolling ship. Your visual sense sends information to the brain that you are standing still in relationship to your surroundings (the ship). However, the vestibular system sends just the opposite information – that you are actually moving back and forth, up and down, which in fact is the actual relationship of the ship to the ocean. Nerve sensors in your muscles and joints also notice this movement and consequently there is stiffening and tension of muscles and joints. Ultimately, this conflicting array of data greatly disturbs the brain. Confused as to what to do, it sends a message to the stomach to suspend all operations and to eject contents in a word – vomit.

First, the abdominal muscles tighten. Then there are vigorous convulsions of the stomach, followed by emesis. The medical term for this process is reverse peristalsis.

There are various ways you can prevent motion sickness. Below is our recommended book to help you get rid of motion sickness effectively.
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