Motion sickness can put a damper on even the best vacations. Until now, those suffering from it had to use over-the-counter medication (which can cause drowsiness), travel in the front seat, or reach for the dreaded “bag.” Thanks to researchers at the Imperial College of London, a new device can trick the brain, eliminating motion sickness without the side effects of medication.
WHAT CAUSES MOTION SICKNESS?
To understand how the device works, it’s necessary to know what causes motion sickness. You may be surprised that everyone—given the right conditions—can be made motion sick. Some, however, are more susceptible than others. Motion sickness occurs when the brain gets conflicting messages from the inner ear (which controls balance) and the eyes. For example, when riding in an airplane, the inside of the cabin doesn’t look like it’s moving, but the inner ear “feels” the motion and sends the signal to the brain. The resulting confusion causes the classic symptoms of motion sickness: nausea, dizziness, headaches, cold sweats and possible vomiting.
The revolutionary new treatment, published in the medical journal Neurology, eliminates this confusion by delivering a mild, painless electrical current through the scalp. This current suppresses signals from the inner ear. While the device will not be on the market for several years, it could revolutionize travel for the one-third who experience significant problems on planes, trains and automobiles.
HELP FOR MOTION SICKNESS
In the meantime, those with motion sickness can cope with the situation by following these tips:
- Always try to sit in the front seat of a car or bus. When traveling by plane, try to get a seat in the front or over the wing.
- Try to keep your head as still as possible.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not read while in motion.
- Focus on the horizon.
- Avoid greasy meals, alcohol and dairy products before traveling.
If you chronically suffer from chronic motion sickness, speak with your doctor about possible over-the-counter or prescription medications. He or she can help you select one with minimal side effects.