Unless you were born with flippers for feet and gills for lungs, the majority of us find ourselves most comfortable with spending our time on solid ground. But, some of the most fun trips can include travel by boat, just so long as you don't have to suffer what the French call "mal de mer," or seasickness to you and me. Check it out.
Why Does Seasickness Occur?
Seasickness is a specific type of motion sickness that occurs primarily because of conflicting signals being sent to your brain by your body's motion sensors. Namely, your inner-ear, which detects motion directionally; your eyes, which detect motion spatially; and your skin, muscle, and joint receptors, which detect the motion and orientation of your body.
So when your eyes are seeing something seemingly stationary like your clammy, pasty green reflection in your cabin mirror, but your inner ear is telling you that the cruise liner you're on is rockin' and rollin' through Perfect Storm-like breakers, your brain rebels by making you feel sick.
Who Gets Seasick?
People vary pretty widely in their sensitivity to seasickness, but children over two are typically more susceptible than adults, and women more prone than men. The cycle of motion has a great deal to do with getting seasick as well - the typical loop for a large ship is about five seconds, where shorter cycles on smaller boats often have less of an impact.
So what should you do to prevent getting seasick? Well, other than avoid getting on boats, you can give these a shot: Your best bet is to nip seasickness in the bud at the earliest point possible. Trans-dermal patches are perhaps the most effective method for ensuring you don't become ill, although not necessarily without a price, as side effects can include drowsiness, dry-mouth, blurred vision, and can even act as a mild truth serum.
Be sure to test these on land before your trip, to make sure any side effects are not severe. You know, I actually really enjoy watching the Bachelorette with my wife. I sort of even look forward to it. Dang it.
Natural Seasickness Remedies
If you opt for the all natural route, and begin to feel nauseous, head to the boat's center of motion, which is generally towards the center, and as close to sea level as possible. Be sure to face the front of the ship, get plenty of fresh air, and fix your gaze on a piece of land on the horizon, which should get all those motion signals to your brain in synch. Avoid drinking alcohol, watching TV or reading, and if you're up for trying an alternative method to curbing your seasickness, try pressing down on the acupressure point that correlates to motion, about an inch above your wrist.
Finally, watch out for "mal de debarquement," which can happen after you go to all the trouble of getting your sea legs, only to hit land and forget to bring along your land legs. My best advice for this one is, as in any other stressful situation, is to take a good long nap.
Thanks for watching!