Expert Advice

How can I relieve motion sickness?

Go easy on the queasy with these smart strategies.

How can I relieve motion sickness?
Pin it Melinda Beck

An acupressurist says: You can experience motion sickness when traveling by water, land or air. If the balance mechanism in your ears tells your brain that you’re moving, but your eyes tell your brain that you’re stationary, it can result in feelings of nausea.
The treatment: To ease queasiness when traveling, there’s an acupressure point you can press several times an hour before, and during, your trip. On the inside of your arm, measure three of your own finger widths below the wrist crease. At that distance, place your thumb on the point between your two arm bones and press firmly; maintain that constant pressure for two to three minutes while taking slow, deep breaths. This will start to calm you down and soothe your stomach. Wait 1 minute and repeat if you continue to feel nauseous. — Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D., author of Acupressure’s Potent Points (Bantam) and director of acupressure.com

An otolaryngologist says: Motion sickness occurs when the vestibular nerve—which transmits sound and balance information from the inner ear to the brain—senses movement even though the body is still. The brain gets confused by the differing input from the vestibular nerve, the eyes and the rest of the body, resulting in the sensation of nausea.
The treatment: If you’re on a boat, focusing on the horizon can help because the eyes reassure the brain, “Hey, I’m not really moving.” Over-thecounter medications, such as Benadryl and Dramamine (scopolamine), can also be soothing. These treatments won’t directly relieve nausea per se, but they will slow down the brain and keep it from sensing the signals that trigger the feeling. A scopolamine patch placed on the skin behind the ear can also aid in preventing queasiness. — Christina M. McAlphin, M.D., otolaryngologist at California Medical Center in Los Angeles

A naturopath says: Motion sickness is caused by the brain trying to interpret two different signals coming from your eyes and ears. The varying messages trigger feelings of nausea.
The treatment: If you’re prone to motion sickness, take 250 to 500 milligrams of ginger 10 to 20 minutes before your trip. It’s really potent in capsule form, but you can also chew on a fresh piece. If symptoms continue, take 500 to 1,000 milligrams every four hours. In one study, ginger worked just as well as Dramamine, but without the common side effects that can include dry mouth and blurred vision. There are also two homeopathic remedies that can stop nausea associated with motion sickness: ipecacuanha and tabacum. Adults in good health should take a 200c to 1M dose one to three times a day, and only when experiencing nausea. — Keith F. Zeitlin, N.D., Wallingford, Conn.-based naturopathic physician