What causes travel sickness, and why are some people immune? Plus 5 tips for minimising travel sickness.
Travel sickness (also known as motion sickness) seems to affect more people than others, why is that? Our bodies have a system known as proprioception which allows us to sense our location, control our movements and stay upright. All day long, sensory information is received by the inner ears, eyes, skin, nerves and muscles to determine movement and make corrections where necessary.
Travel sickness occurs when the sensory input to the inner ears does not align with the information received via eyes, skin nerves and muscles. For example, when we are sitting in the car reading a book, most of the sensory input says we are seated, stationary and reading a book.
Our muscles aren’t propelling us forward, our nerves are not sensing airflow across the skin indicating motion and our eyes are looking at a fixed object, so these inputs suggest that the body is at rest. However, the inner is receiving information that the body is moving (quickly) and it is this conflicting information that results in travel sickness symptoms including nausea, dizziness, sweating, vomiting, headache and increased saliva production.
Why are some people immune?
You may have noticed that some people are more susceptible to travel sickness and wondered, why is that? It is believed that some people are genetically more susceptible than others to motion sickness due to structural differences in the inner ear, eyes and nerve cells. Blood sugar regulation is also thought to play a role in travel sickness as well as medications, age, alcohol consumption, pregnancy status and estrogen levels.
Open a window in the car or sit outside on a boat to allow your skin receptors to acknowledge movement and reduce your body temperature
Position yourself in a place that allows your eyes to see the same motion that your inner ear feels – this could be the front seat of the car, the window seat of a plane or on the deck of a boat. Avoid looking down at your phone, tablet or a book when travelling as this can exacerbate the conflict in sensory information between your eyes and inner ear.
Eating and using chewing gum seems to support alignment between the information received via inner ear and vision.
Take a Nap
If you can take a nap or a sleep while travelling, you can avoid the symptoms of travel sickness
Wear EmeTerm Motion Sickness Wrist Band
Using the EmeTerm motion sickness wrist band naturally alleviates symptoms of nausea and vomiting associated with travel sickness. Gentle stimulation on the wrist safely reduces the nausea and vomiting trigger from travelling between the brain and the stomach.
Motion sickness (travel sickness): Causes, remedies, and symptoms (medicalnewstoday.com)
Motion Sickness | Travelers' Health | CDCProprioception: What It Is, Problems, Diagnosis, Treatment & More (healthline.com)