Q&A: I Suffer From Motion Sickness


QUESTION: Whenever I go on a long trip by car, I experience severe symptoms of nausea and start vomiting. Is there an effective #Ayurveda remedy so I can enjoy a long car ride?

ANSWER: Motion sickness, car sickness, sea sickness, air sickness or simulation sickness happens when there is a disagreement between visual perception and the body’s balancing mechanism. If the motion causing nausea is not resolved, cold sweats or dizziness or vomiting results; and the person might continue to vomit until the cause (motion) stops. Unlike ordinary sickness, vomiting in motion sickness tends not to relieve the nausea. Once we become habitual to travel, the balancing mechanism adjusts to being in motion.

Motion sickness, or kinetosis, is a response provoked by motion and is actually a defence mechanism. An area in the brain is responsible for inducing vomiting when harmful things are detected. This area is also triggered for resolving conflicts between vision and balance. When feeling motion but not seeing it (for example, reading a book while travelling), the inner ear transmits to the brain that it senses motion, but the eyes tell the brain that everything is still. The brain seems to conclude that it has been poisoned and the response is nausea, vomiting and stress. Motion sickness can also occur for the opposite reason – when playing certain video games, one can see motion nut cannot feel it.

Risk factors include anxiety or fear, hangover, overeating, tiredness, dyspepsia, inner ear problems, rough car rides, poor ventilation, smoke or fumes.

Avoid seating in the rear seat or facing backwards, or on the side seat.

Avoid looking at moving objects and focus on the horizon or on a distant, stationery object.

Don’t read or use electronic devices while travelling and keep your head still, or supported with a head rest. Don’t smoke; avoid strong odours, spicy and greasy foods, and alcohol.

Fresh, cool air can relieve motion sickness slightly. Ginger and peppermints are a mild anti-emetic; sipping a ginger tea can help.

Never ride on empty stomach. Avoid coffee, tea, carbonated soft drinks, and fruit juices.

Intake of the #Ayurveda preparation Dhanwantharam gulika can give quick relief.