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Natural Cures for Seasickness

Written by Capt. Noah on Friday, 07 June 2013. Posted in Miscellaneous

Motion sickness is the body’s natural reaction to being unbalanced and it is directly related to travelling; whether via car, train, bus, airplane, boat, escalator, lift or any other mode of transportation. Seasickness is the motion imbalance that many people experience aboard ships and boats when out on the ocean. It is extremely common and very unpleasant; with sufferers having little or no warning signs and turning extremely pale in a few short moments.

This article is dedicated to helping victims alleviate their symptoms without the need for medication. Natural cures for seasickness are few, but there are ways to overcome this debilitating problem. There are various home remedies available on the internet; none of which have been scientifically proven to cure motion sickness. Once you understand that seasickness is caused by the brain’s reaction to unnatural movement, you can cure seasickness. The only way to do this is to constantly find a rhythm with the motion that puts your brain back in balance with your body. You can acclimatize yourself fairly quickly and effectively “overcome it”. Prevention is the best cure. Here is the most effective guide for overcoming seasickness naturally:

Recognize your symptoms: Your earliest symptoms need to be known in order to react to them and stop them escalating. Everyone experiences different initial symptoms but they are almost always repetitive. Generally yawning and drowsiness appear first. Then victims feel extremely lethargic and experience abnormal tiredness. These early warnings are so often unnoticed because people are already tired from standing watch.

The next symptoms to appear are usually an awareness of the stomach that turns to nausea. Sweating becomes evident, the face pales dramatically and hands start feeling clammy. Other common symptoms are flatulence, belching, salivating and an excessive need to urinate. Concentration becomes extremely difficult and eventually the nausea will come in waves, increasing in frequency until vomiting inevitably occurs. As these attacks continue, they happen with less warning than previously.

React to your symptoms: Do something about your symptoms as soon as you notice them. Walk around and find something to keep you occupied. Reduce visual conflict by focusing on something that is fixed still and not rolling with the waves. By staying amidships or aft you will experience less motion stimulus because pitching and rolling in the waves is less severe there.

There is a technique called “Horizon Viewing”. Use it because it works. Find a place where you have a clear, wide view of the motion around you. This will help your brain to anticipate the motion and your body will respond kindly. Use oncoming waves, clouds, distant sails and the horizon as references.

Go with the flow: If you lie down or lean passively against objects, the motion will be worse and may even toss you around. You will not get better by doing that. Instead, sit upright and relax your body while finding the rhythm of the motion.

Use your chest and neck muscles to keep your head and shoulders balanced over your hips as the boat moves. This is called “Riding the Waves” and it is far easier to do than fighting to hang on. It is also less tiring. When you feel well enough, then stand up and walk around. Find something to do while developing your sea legs.

Talk about it: Do not keep your seasickness to yourself. Communicate your symptoms with the captain and other parties onboard. Seasickness is common and almost everyone has experienced it at least once, probably more. There really is no need to be embarrassed and your captain should know some tricks that will help you. For example, by changing the course slightly the boat’s motion in the waves can be reduced dramatically.

Go on deck: Avoiding visual conflicts becomes easier when you minimize the time spent below. If you start feeling queasy then go on deck. This broadens your visuals and allows you to train your brain to anticipate the motion again.

Set a pace: If you have duties to attend to, pace yourself. You can keep your symptoms under control by taking regular intervals for some “Horizon Viewing” or “Riding the Waves”. Every few minutes (or when you feel your symptoms returning) then take a break. Increase your peripheral vision by expanding your view of the horizon widely.

Think forward: By anticipating your needs, you can keep your symptoms in check. Bring everything you will need with you onto the deck to eliminate the need to return below. For example; rather dress warmly. You can always remove clothing, but you will need to fetch more if you are underdressed.

Abstain from alcohol: Alcohol directly affects your vestibular system. If you are a sufferer and have consumed large quantities of alcohol, then you will soon feel dizzy every time you or the boat moves. We do not recommend climbing onboard if you are hung over from the night before. It is almost certain that you will get seasick.

Keep hydrated and replace lost nutrients: Those who have continual bouts of vomiting will soon feel weak, drowsy, confused and experience apathy. Even if you are feeling queasy, you need to force yourself to eat food in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. Even if you are unable to keep it down, small amounts ingested frequently will reduce the loss of fluids, glucose and electrolytes common with vomiting. You will soon feel better if you can keep yourself hydrated and replace any lost nutrients.

There is a great deal that you can do to prevent seasickness and even cure it once you know its causes. By teaching your “balance brain” to subconsciously and naturally anticipate the next wave, you can control the symptoms. Until you have learnt to adapt, you can use techniques such as “Horizon Viewing” and “Riding the Waves” to help alleviate sickness. Remember that these work best when you catch the symptoms early. If you do get seriously ill, then these guidelines will make the experience less unpleasant and will aid in a fast recovery. The best way to get over seasickness is to go sailing, yachting or deep sea fishing regularly. Fortunately, this is the most enjoyable method of them all.

About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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