I was a parent’s worst nightmare as a child. I was the extreme definition of a ‘motion sickness.’ Swinging on swings, merry-go-rounds, even teeter-totters would send me into a fit of salivation and nausea. Car rides? Yeah – not pretty. Even a drive around the corner to the store was an adventure.
My parents pretty much had to drug me to get me from point A to point B. I could manage short drives if I sat in the front seat and looked straight ahead, perfectly silent and not moving a muscle. But anything that took longer than 15 minutes? Bring on the motion sickness and bring on the pills.
Our move from Washington to California was intense. I literally barfed for 14 hours straight. Even on this crazy strong narcotic which was supposed to knock me out and end my suffering. Oh yeah – our Beagle barked the entire time too. My poor parents.
Fast forward years later and I was traveling around Europe with a barf bag in one hand and all kinds of pills in the other. You can imagine what happened when I ended up on a three day cruise in the midst of one of the worst storms imaginable. I almost just threw myself overboard. I am not kidding. I’m really not.
For people like me, motion sickness interferes with life.
You feel like you drag everyone down because you feel awful, you can’t do anything that will make you sick, and worse yet – you don’t want to be barfing in front of everyone thus ruining their good time.
What Causes Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness is an imbalance between what you see and what you feel. In the car, the car is moving forward. However, your body is standing still. This imbalance is what causes you to feel sick. It is also why motion sickness can occur on a boat, in an airplane, on a train, on an amusement park ride, while wearing virtual realty glasses, or even while watching the movement of other people or things.
Some other causes of motion sickness include:
- Fluid in the ear (reference) and other inner ear issues
- Meniere’s Disease (reference)
- Certain injuries (typically head injuries or eye injuries)
- Some infections
- Estrogen is a major culprit when it comes to motion sickness. Not only are women in general more likely to experience motion sickness than men, but studies have shown that women can be more or less likely to experience motion sickness depending on what phase of their menstrual cycle they are in. This means that estrogen supplements and birth control can contribute to an increased likelihood of motion sickness.
- Certain medications and supplements
- Being in the back seat of a car unable to see the horizon
- Reading in the car
- Not getting enough air in the car
- The simple act of thinking you are going to get motion sickness
Mine happened to be inner ear related so there wasn’t a whole lot my parents could do other than to drug me (at least that was what they were told at the time). Sad really. But over the years, I have learned a whole lot about motion sickness and how to relieve it naturally. Luckily, my daughter isn’t prone to the misery I dealt with as a child. Although the one time she did get car sick, it made me panicky because I honestly did not want to go through what my parents did.
What Are The Common Motion Sickness Symptoms?
Motion sickness symptoms usually come on fast and get worse quickly. You may feel sick to your stomach (nausea). Other symptoms include vomiting, pale skin, headache, a cold sweat, dizziness, yawning a lot, and irritability. You may also salivate a lot.
How Do You Prevent Motion Sickness?
Prevention is the key to reducing the ill effects of motion sickness or stopping it from happening all together. Let’s take a look at the best ways to prevent motion sickness.
- Do not eat or feed your child a heavy meal or give him/her too much to drink before engaging in a motion related activity. Avoid junky foods and spicy foods as well.
- If you or your child are going to be cooped up (like in a car) try to keep the olfactory stimuli to a minimum. This means avoid perfumes, deodorizers, and things like that.
- Choose the right seat. The front passenger seat is best in the car. Choose the midpoint on a boat. Sit over the wing on a plane. Face forward on a train. Sit near a window on a train. These seats have fewer bumps. They allow you to see the horizon. If you are on a cruise, book a cabin in the front or middle of the ship. Request a room that is closest to the water level.
- In addition, if it is possible, keep forward facing and looking straight ahead.
- No reading, drawing, etc… while in motion.
- Get plenty of air. Use the air conditioner or roll down the window in a car. Direct the vent toward you on a plane. Sit near a window when you’re on a covered boat.
- You can also suck on a piece of ginger, take a few drops of a ginger tincture, or some ginger tea. Ginger is very soothing to the stomach and taking it beforehand can sometimes lesson the blow.
How Long Does Motion Sickness Last?
It depends on the cause of motion sickness. For anything other than an inner ear issue, motion sickness symptoms usually go away within 4 hours AFTER motion has stopped.
In the case of the inner ear malady, motion sickness symptoms may continue for up to 8 hours.
Motion sickness symptoms resolve quicker after short bouts of motion like a car ride or carnival ride. Motion sickness symptoms after being on a three day cruise could take several days to resolve.
How Does Dramamine Work And Should You Use It For Motion Sickness?
When I was a kid there was one type of Dramamine. It didn’t work for me. Today there are several options including a more natural one. Let’s take a quick look.
Old School Original Dramamine
Original Dramamine contains one single ingredient. Dimenhydrinate. This is an antiemetic which basically means it prevents vomiting and nausea related to motion sickness. Antiemetics help to block specific neurotransmitters in the body. This means that they desensitize the inner ear to the motion of the head.
Would I use it? Not anymore. I hated how drowsy it made it and that groggy fog lasted a solid 24 hours after the pill wore off. No thanks!
Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals
This is Dramamine’s first truly non-drowsy all-natural motion sickness medication. I haven’t tried it so I am relying on the information from their website.
Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals:
● Contains 1000mg of giner per tablet. This is the clinically tested ginger dosage required for preventing and treating motion sickness.
● Prevents and treats the symptoms of motion sickness (nausea and vomiting) without drowsiness.
● Non-Drowsy Naturals is safe to use every day you travel since it’s made from natural ginger.
Would I use it? Yep! I would actually likely give this a try. You can purchase Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals here.
Back to the topic at hand…
7 Natural Motion Sickness Remedies That Work Fast
Coconut Oil – forget that bad-for-you jar of antacids or Dramamine! The anti-microbial acids in the coconut oil will help ward off bacteria and parasites which cause stomach upset as well as soothe a stomach that is rolling for motion sickness. Honestly, my favorite brand to use for motion sickness specifically is Barlean’s. For some reason, the coconut taste is milder, it settles better in the tummy, and since it is in a plastic jar, it travels safely and without leaking. I have tried other brands and I can assure you, I won’t cheat on Barleans again!
Ginger – I know I already mentioned it but it is worth repeating. Make you take the right amount otherwise it won’t do much. If you prefer not to use the Dramamine Naturals, you can try this brand instead.
Hops – yes, the hops that is a key ingredient in beer brewing. Hops are amazing as a natural sedative and work quickly to relax the stomach muscles.
Red Raspberry – another calming herbs that works particularly when vomiting is present. This is my favorite brand.
St. John’s Wort – this herb is used for nervousness typically but can also be effective for a stomach that is churning away without any other accompanying symptoms. This is a nice version in tincture form.
Peppermint – this is one of the most versatile herbs for upset stomachs. You or your child can chew the leaves, drink a tea, take a tincture, or even chew some natural peppermint gum (last choice).
Cardamom – a little known about herb that can really settle down all the effects of motion sickness. A bit of cardamom tea, cold, can work wonders! This is my daughter’s favorite brand of cardamon tea.
Essential Oils Can Help Stop Motion Sickness
My favorite motion sickness blend is:
- 10 drops ginger
- 4 drops peppermint
- 2 drops eucalyptus
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (Barlean’s of course) or sweet almond oil
Mix everything together in small bowl and rub on your back, stomach, and feet before the activity that causes motion sickness begins.
If you prefer to purchase a pre-made blend, this one is awesome!
Have your battled motion sickness? What natural approaches worked for you?