Seasickness is a form of motion sickness experienced by people on ships. It happens for the same reason as any kind of motion sickness – a disagreement in the signals your body sends to your brain. Your body detects motion a number of different ways, but mainly through your eyes and your inner ear. If your eyes see a motion your inner ear doesn’t detect – or vice versa – your brain won’t be sure what’s going on. This leads to dizziness, nausea and even vomiting.
Most forms of motion sickness clear up once the person feeling it is no longer experiencing the disconnect – basically, once they get out of the vehicle causing the problem. On a cruise, however, you’re spending the majority of the trip on the ship itself. If you’re going to be at sea for a day or longer, it’s important to know how to handle any seasickness that does occur. Medicines for seasickness do exist, but most of them come with side effects like drowsiness that can upend your vacation. Here are five natural ways to prevent seasickness:
1. Find a fixed point
If you start to feel motion sickness coming on, try to look at a fixed point. On a boat, this usually means going on deck and looking at the horizon. Having your eyes fixed on a stationary point in the distance gives your brain a chance to catch up with your inner ear. This method can often stop motion sickness before it really starts.
2. Use acupressure
Some people find acupressure in the wrist makes a huge difference in whether or not they experience motion sickness. You can perform acupressure on your own wrist by using your thumb to press down on your inner arm about an inch and a half below your wrist. This method works well in the short term, but might not do the job for long journeys. If you’re going to be on a ship for a few days, you might want to consider investing in an acupressure wrist band, like the Sea Band. These use a plastic stud to apply light, constant pressure to the correct spot on your wrist.
3. Eat ginger
Ginger doesn’t prevent motion sickness exactly, but it can help prevent some of the other elements that can encourage motion sickness. Ginger promotes digestion and settles your stomach, preventing nausea. While digestion issues aren’t the cause of motion sickness, they can certainly exacerbate it. Taking a ginger supplement or chewing ginger gum during your trip might make you less susceptible to stomach aches.
4. Drink water
Dehydration makes most ailments worse, and motion sickness is no exception. Because dehydration can cause dizziness and nausea all on its own, it can seriously compound the symptoms of seasickness. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water during and in the days leading up to your trip. If you start to feel seasickness coming on, try taking small sips of cold water. Warm tea also helps some people settle their stomachs.
5. Breathe slowly
One of the outside factors that may make motion sickness worse is stress. Deep breathing exercises can help you stay calm and prevent you from making yourself feel even worse. Memorize this breathing pattern to use when you start to feel dizzy or nauseous: Breathe in for four slow counts, and then halt your breath for another four counts. Don’t hold your breath or contract your diaphragm, but instead simply stop breathing in or out. Then release all of the air during another steady count of four, and again halt. Repeat this cycle until your symptoms have cleared.