How to Hack Your Brain to Stop Motion Sickness

Many people deal with motion sickness on a daily basis, and if you're reading this, chances are you're one of them. Kinetosis can make your stomach roll, your entire body sweat, and make you feel fatigued and dizzy at even the slightest movement, whether it's related to carsickness, seasickness, or airsickness. And let's not forget the worst part—vomiting.

But travel sickness doesn't have to ruin that trip to wherever you're going. Besides common (and costly) over-the-counter medications like Dramamine and Bonine, there are cheaper and more natural ways to alleviate nausea and all of the other symptoms of motion sickness.

1. Use Acupressure

By placing pressure on certain circulatory points around your body, acupressure can help alleviate many ailments. To get rid of motion sickness, the points you need to focus on are on the anterior of your forearms.

Place three of your fingers against your opposite wrist, and apply light pressure to the spot just below them on your forearm. Called the " Inner Gate," this point works to soothe nausea and stomach sickness.

Images via WakoWa Salon

If you don't want to hold your fingers to your forearm for hours, buy a pair of pressure point bands. With a plastic bulb that digs into the point, these can perform acupressure with little effort on your part.

2. Tilt Your Head

For some, the slightest movement of the head can either cause or relieve nausea. If you're in the latter group, whenever you feel close to puking in a car, plane, or train, medical doctors Andrew Brainard and Chip Gresham recommend that you tilt your head to the side.

Image via SodaHead

Part of the problem when it comes to motion sickness is the movement registered by our eyes and brain. If our bodies are moving, but still sitting still, some minds can't reconcile the fact that we are both still and in motion. By changing your brain's perspective, you may be able to fix the disconnect.

3. Eat Some Ginger

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, who focuses on holistic health, ginger is both a digestion aid and a preventative tactic for nausea. As an anti-inflammatory, this herbal remedy prevents unsettled stomachs. So before hitting the road (or air), mix a half teaspoon of ginger powder with a cup of water. Or, if you prefer, try ginger capsules or candy. You can even make some DIY ginger soda.

Image via Why This Ride

4. Eat a Few Olives

Olives contain tannins, which suck up excess saliva. When we begin to feel motion sickness come on, excess fluid builds up in our mouths, which is a short precursor to throwing up for people like me. So pop a few olives in as soon as your nausea begins, rather than when you're desperate for relief.

Image by Handini7/YouTube

5. Eliminate Anything That Isn't Moving

The biggest problem when feeling ill in a car, boat, or plane is the motion of moving forward. This leads to an overload of the senses, according to Jay L. Hoecker, MD. To find relief, eliminate as many sensory items as possible. Stop staring at your smartphone screen, or locking eyes with the ever-changing GPS. Instead, stare at a point on the horizon. By minimizing what you're reacting to, your eyes and brain can sync up.

Image via Unknown

6. Try an Antihistamine

You know to take an antihistamine when you're suffering from allergies. But did you know these simple, sleep-inducing pills can also stop you from puking everywhere? According to Dale Amanda Taylor, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University, antihistamines like Allegra, Benadryl, and Claritin soothe the brain areas that control feelings of nausea and the act of vomiting, helping you keep it together on the road.

Image by TheeErin/Flickr

7. Take Control

Motion sickness is a unique ailment: it tends to occur only when its victim is sitting in the passenger or back seats, not when they're in charge. If you're worried about falling victim to motion sickness, volunteer to drive the car or boat. You'll not only feel less motion, but also offer the focus needed to keep your brain busy.

Image via Shutterstock

8. Keep Your Eyes Open

Closing your eyes to ward off the sensation of feeling sick with every bump, turn, and motion may seem like a good idea, but you're actually limiting your capability to shut off your motion sickness. By consciously focusing on something, whether it's directly before you as the driver or out on the horizon, you can trick our equilibrium into thinking all is well.

Image by Troycar4444/TravelPod

9. Suck on Some Peppermint

Ginger and olives aren't the only natural remedies that can help with motion sickness—peppermint is also great. Whether you choose to pop a mint-flavored snack, sniff peppermint essential oil, or even drink peppermint tea, you can calm the turmoil brewing in your unsettled stomach.

Image via Shutterstock

10. Forget About Everything

When yesterday's dinner is knocking at the back of your throat, Catherine Saint Louis of The New York Times suggests emptying your brain. When motion sickness strikes, the ears, eyes, and brain are overwhelmed with confusion. By forcing your mind to go blank, and providing nothing to stare at, you can eliminate distractions and focus beyond your ill feelings.

Image via Shutterstock

Each person is different, and reacts differently to certain techniques or products, so just keep that in mind. Some of these may methods may work better than others. What home remedies work to control your motion sickness? Let us know in the comments below.

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Cover image via Apionid/Flickr

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