Are you planning a trip this summer that requires traveling along twisty roads? Our last trip involved traveling on North Carolina Rt 80, a mountainous road in the Black Mountain region. NC 80 is a lesser traveled road near the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway filled with spectacular scenery. As the passenger, I was frustrated that I could not enjoy the views because I was preoccupied with preventing myself from vomiting. In fact, I could not wait to get off that road! This situation made me ponder what natural remedies existed for motion sickness and why it happens in the first place.
Although I suffer from motion sickness, interestingly, it only happens when I am the passenger of an enclosed vehicle. When I am operating the vehicle, the symptoms are much less noticeable. In fact, I have never experienced motion sickness while riding my motorcycle. Amusingly, the type of road I dread by car is the one I most seek out on my bike. Perhaps that is because carving corners while twisting on a throttle is an entertaining distraction to queasiness. Regrettably, this particular day of traveling the winding roads was in a vehicle.
What is Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness refers to an inability to adjust to movement and causes an uneasy feeling characterized by nausea/vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and a headache. Motion sickness can occur from any method of travel – car, motorcycle, plane, boat, train – and can be a real nuisance if you are not prepared for it.
Cold sweats, stomach rolls, dizziness…
I rolled down the window and proceeded with sticking my head into the cold, breezy mountain air. The wind felt refreshing against my face, but my head and stomach continued to spin. I rolled up the window and tried blasting my face with cold air from the air conditioning vent. No luck there either. I then tried sitting rigid and upright in my seat to focus my sight through the windshield on a distant object in the landscape, but meandering the descending switchbacks was only interrupting my focal point. Next, I tried putting my head on the knees and closing my eyes. Nope, that made it worse! Finally, I just sat there staring out at the road trying to distract my mind as the discomfort persisted. I remembered hearing about the acupuncture point in your wrist that allegedly alleviates nausea. The problem was I could not remember where it was. I tried pushing on different spots around my upper wrist hoping to find relief. I started to feel better, so either I had found the correct nerve or found a good diversion. Once I got home, here is what I found –
Applying pressure to the acupuncture point, Pericardium 6 (P6), is believed to help relieve nausea associated with motion sickness.
Location of P6
- Find the spot located on the inside of the wrist, about 2” (the width of 2-3 fingers) up the arm from the center of the crease of the wrist (between the two tendons).
- Press this point firmly using the thumb or index finger of your opposite hand.
- Massage this point firmly at least 20-30 seconds.
Why does this work?
Acupressure and acupuncture are methods that use pressure to trigger the nerves to displace energy flow within the body. Acupuncture uses needles to puncture the skin while Acupressure uses the pressure of your fingers to achieve a similar result. These practices have been used successfully for centuries in Eastern Asia. Since we don’t have a current method to measure energy flow, it can not be explained scientifically as to why it works.
Tips for Preventing Motion Sickness
- Drive the vehicle yourself (the brain can better adapt to motion when you are in control).
- If you can’t drive, make sure you sit in the front seat and fixate on a distant point of land or the horizon.
- Don’t read during travel.
- Open the windows or turn the air vents toward your face.
- Chew on ginger.