Is There a Natural Solution for Motion Sickness?
A doctor weighs in on the effectiveness of natural motion sickness remedies like ginger and acupressure.
Q: I get motion sickness, but meds make me zonked. Is there a natural solution?
A: There are a few home remedies many people find helpful, though the science is wishy-washy. One popular option is acupressure: Massage the underside of your wrist, about three fingers' width from the wrist crease and right between the two tendons, for five seconds or so. Proponents of acupressure believe that stimulating this point helps alleviate nausea. You can also buy bracelets that are designed to apply pressure to that spot. Whether the method actually works is unclear (some studies suggest it does; others, not so much), but there's no harm in testing it out.
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Consuming ginger is another old trick. While you could eat the root raw, you may want to try a lozenge, supplement capsule (look for one that contains around 250 milligrams, and take it up to three times daily), or tea instead. Again, the research on whether ginger works is inconsistent, but it's safe as long as you aren't on any medications that interfere with blood clotting, such as aspirin or warfarin, since ginger can slow clotting.
If you don't have these items on hand, try taking very slow, deep breaths until the motion sickness passes. Rapid and shallow breathing might make it worse. Sit closer to the front of the vehicle, whether it's a car, plane or boat, and keep your eyes on the horizon if possible: A study in Plos One found that staring at the horizon at sea made people steadier than focusing on a point nearby. If all else fails, close your eyes and do your best to ride it out.
Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.