Motion Sickness

About 33% of people are susceptible to motion sickness even in subtle circumstances and almost 66% in mores serious conditions (Kraft). When experiencing motion sickness, a person might feel uneasy and have a weird feeling in their stomach as if they might get sick. People can experience motion sickness in situations like riding in a boat, a car, or even a ride at an amusement park. My dad is in the U.S. Coast Guard and has spent some time on ships for long periods of time. He used to experience motion sickness years ago when he first joined the Coast Guard. Since then he has learned that motion sickness is “all in the mind” and has learned to control it and not experience any of the uneasiness that he usually would feel.


I myself sometimes feel motion sick when driving in the car for long rides. Most of the time if I am reading a book, or on my phone, or fall asleep and then stop focusing on what I am doing, I will start to feel kind of nauseous. A little while ago I started to think about how my dad always says that “motion sickness is all in the mind”. Now when I am in the car I’ve realized that when I am not thinking about being sick, then I don’t feel sick, but when I’m focusing on the symptoms of motion sickness I feel sick. Maybe it is all in my head, but there actually is some science behind why we get motion sickness which is self-treatable.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness is a feeling that someone gets when the motion they sense in their inner ear feels different than the motion that they see through their eyes. There is a mixed signal between what the ears and eyes tell the brain (Davis). The brain gets different signals from each causing your body to seem confused thus triggering the uneasy feeling of nauseousness. There is a difference between when we intentionally move our body and when our body is unintentionally moved, for example in a car (Kraft). When in a car, we are not intentionally in motion, however when the car does move, we are moving without realizing. This is why when we voluntarily move, like when we walk, our brain can process what exactly is happening because all of the input from the eyes and ears is coordinated from the brain. The brain does not coordinate the inputs from the eyes and ears thus causing motion sickness.

What are the symptoms?

            There are symptoms of motion sickness and there can also be signs. Symptoms are known as the things that cannot be seen but felt whereas signs are the things that someone can physically see. In the case of motion sickness, the symptoms include nausea, as I previously stated, vomiting, and dizziness (Kraft). Signs include, sweating and also discomfort, meaning that when someone feels sick, it is easy for someone else to look at them and tell something is wrong. There can also be symptoms that are more serious such as drooling, short breath, and drowsiness (Kraft).


How to treat motion sickness?

Most of the time motion sickness is said to be self-treatable (American). There are many suggestions to help cease motion sickness like looking out of the window of the car in the direction that it is moving. Personally, I have tried this one myself and it does actually work. Another suggestion is to simply close your eyes or doze off and take a nap. Like I mentioned earlier, taking a nap is tricky because if you fall asleep and then wake up and you’re still moving, this may cause more sickness. Some try to chew gum or even just chew on anything to distract from the feelings. There are also a number of over the counter drugs that, when taken before being in the car, boat, ship, or whatever cause the motion sickness, will help to prevent any symptoms (Kraft). There are even many more effective ways to self-treating motion sickness which just sort of proves that it is something that can definitely be controlled by the mind. However, if someone is constantly experiencing motion sickness or has very severe symptoms, it is important that they see their health care provider to guide them on how to take care of it. Here are 10 tips to beating motion sickness.


It is very hard to tell what will actually help relieve any symptoms and the question of if motion sickness is “all in the mind” or not is questionable as well. The reason why we get motion sick has only been hypothesized even though the science behind it is actually true. But if someone can use mind over matter to “undo” the symptoms so to speak, then how can it actually be a brain miscommunication If we coordinate with our brain to relieve the symptoms? We may never know.

Works Cited

“American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery …” American Academy of                                                 Otolaryngology, 2016. Web. 8 Oct. 2016.

Davis, Charles P. “Motion Sickness.” Steven Doeer, Aug. 2016. Web. 88 Oct.          2016.

Kraft, Sy. “Motion Sickness (Travel Sickness): Causes, Symptoms and …” Medical News Today. N.p., 8 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2016.

2 thoughts on “Motion Sickness

  1. Trevor Dennehy

    As a chronic sufferer of motion sickness, I found this blog to be very informative. I get motion sick in cars, on boats, on airplanes, and on amusement park rides. Anytime I go on long trips, Dramamine is my friend. I have also recently, I have taken to using Sea Band, which put pressure on your wrist, and are supposed to prevent motion sickness that way. However, in doing research, it would seem as though they do not in fact work, and in using them I may have been experiencing a placebo. At least according to the National Institutes of Health, where they conducted a study that found no evidence that they are effective. So it would seem that I should try some of the strategies mentioned in the article you linked to, or at least stick to Dramamine.

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