Motion Sickness No More
I’ve been struggling with severe motion sickness most of my life, spurred from sitting the in backs of cars to amusement park rides and especially to any sort of water-based vehicle, big or small. God forbid I have to spend any extended amount of time on a boat. And yet, I have learned to adapt.
A bit of backstory: despite my fear of boats, my mom loves them. When we travel together (which is often) she has often booked all manner of boat-related activities. So many of these activities have turned into absolute nightmares; from the time I legitimately thought we were going to die and get eaten by sharks on a boat off the coast of Cape Town to the time we both feared for our lives in a tiny skipper speeding through waves twice its size in Croatia, not to mention that time in New Zealand where even the crew of the ferry who makes the trip every single day said it was one of the worst passages of their lives. The point is, I have bad luck with boats. Yet, because my mom loves them, we keep winding up in these scenarios. And in the biggest irony, having had so many downright terrifying boat experiences under my belt and having cried my way through them all to somehow live and tell the tales, I don’t even mind boats that much anymore assuming the seas are relatively calm and the sun is relatively shining.
But more importantly than the trauma helping me conquer my fear of boats, another reason I have been able to get used to them is by conquering my seasickness. And my main choice is Bonine.
My mom first heard about Bonine back when she sailed frequently, long before I was born. She used to get bad motion sickness but loved boats anyways and joined a sailing club near D.C. Some Navy guys that she befriended through the club recommended the pills as a better alternative to the drowsiness of Dramamine. Ever since, she swears by Bonine, as do I in turn.
Bonine's active per-tablet ingredient is 25 mg of meclizine hydrochloride, which prevents seasickness symptoms with minimal drowsiness. From Medicinenet, “Meclizine is an antihistamine with antiemetic (anti-nausea) and antispasmodic (anti-muscle spasm) activity. It also suppresses the nervous system by blocking the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (neurotransmitters are chemicals that nerves use for communicating with each other). Meclizine prevents nausea and vomiting by reducing the activity of the center in the brain that controls nausea. It also prevents motion sickness by reducing excitability of neurons in the motion and balance center (vestibular region) of the brain.”
In other words, it suppresses the parts of your body—your stomach and nervous system—that are closely related to motion sickness and nausea. They come in small chewable raspberry tablets and should be taken an hour prior to travel.
One of my other go-to motion sickness remedies is a classic: ginger. I don’t love the taste of ginger, but I can deal with it because it works. And it’s remarkable how entirely worth it it is to drink some juiced ginger before a boat ride so that you can enjoy the experience rather than spend the next few hours heaving over the side. Ginger is a great all-natural cure for motion sickness, backed by science. If you don’t want to juice your own, you can buy ginger shots at most juice stores like Juice Press and Juice Brothers or you can take it in supplement form like these and these.
Ginger also has a lot of added health benefits and adding it to your routine can reduce inflammation, aid digestion, provide cold and flu relief, and even reduce muscle pain.
A third motion sickness remedy that many people swear by are pressure point bands. I’ll be honest—I have only tried them a handful of times. Because the first two remedies I listed work fine for me, I’ve never needed to use the bands. But I’ve heard too many enthusiastic reviews to not include them.
Most basic pressure point bands work by targeting acupressure points, specifically the P6 point on the back of the wrist. There are a lot of reviews and even some scientific studies saying that the bands work, but there are also a lot of reviews saying they do not. Ultimately it’s up to you to try and see if they work for you. My biggest stipulation is that I don’t like wearing the bands on my wrist—they’re unsightly and uncomfortable, in my opinion. But if they work for you, it might be worth the bulk.
Other Motion Sickness Remedies
A few other remedies that came up in my research include motion sickness patches and a sort of lozenge hard candy called Tummydrops. I have not tried these remedies nor heard any firsthand reviews about them, but if these sound like something more appealing to you then by all means, give it a try.
Motion sickness, when it hits, can ruin your entire day. If you know you are prone to motion sickness, taking steps to prevent it ahead of time will make you much happier in the long run.