Why do some people suffer from motion sickness and others don’t? For some people it happens in buses, planes, boats and trains – and for many it happens in cars, particularly when riding in the back seat. There is evidence to say that even the ancient Greeks and Romans suffered from motion sickness, or at least they were aware of it, so I suppose you can get it riding in a chariot!
There are, of course, several explanations as to what causes it. It happens when your body is getting mixed signals. For instance, in a plane your brain is saying, “Geez, I’m really zooming along here at about 550 miles per hour” but your eyes are saying “No, nothing seems to be moving.” There is also the bodily function of air and fluid moving through chambers in the ears, depending on altitude and air pressure. As we know, anything going on in the ears affects your sense of balance which often affects the stomach.
The most common form of motion sickness seems to take place in a car but then that may be because we most commonly travel in a car so we are more aware of it than in other forms of transportation. Interestingly, people who suffer from motion sickness often find it more severe when they are backseat passengers. For some, although being in the front seat helps considerably, it is further improved if they are the driver of the vehicle.
From the time I was a small child, I’ve always suffered from motion sickness. It was a miserable ailment. As I grew up and became independent of parental decisions, I found ways to control it. Even for short car trips, I would always volunteer to drive; it was the only way to avoid ending up in the back seat. As an adult, I often didn’t do things I wanted to do because I did not want to suffer the motion sickness blues. Buses were always out, even for relatively short distances. When I started travelling internationally, in my thirties, it was a miserable way to start a trip. I tried every trick known to mankind, none of which seemed to really work. Then in my forties, I discovered Blackmore’s Travel Calm* ginger tablets and it changed my life. I could travel without being sick but there was a routine involved in making sure I had enough ginger tablets to see me through the trip. I learned how far in advance of travel I needed to take them, how many, how often etc. I soon learned that the pure pressed ginger tablets were not easily purchased in most countries. Some don’t have them and others, say in America, are laden with sugar and don’t work near as well anyway.
In my fifties, travel became a non-issue for me as I was always well prepared with my ginger tablets. Now in my sixties, I started noticing that I didn’t need that tight routine about taking the ginger tablets. This initially happened because I just forgot to take them in advance. I was so ‘unconcerned’ about travelling that I wasn’t worried about motion sickness. I’d be in a plane and hit those first air pockets after take-off and realise I had forgotten to take the ginger so would quickly pop two and rest assured that all would be fine. Then I ended up on a boat, having forgotten to take tablets in advance. No problem.
On my recent trip which involved every form of transportation, I discovered that I didn’t actually need the ginger tablets, or at least not very often. On a twenty-six hour train trip I only took two tablets! But I assure you that on the turbulent flights, I am quick to grab my ginger tabs. So what happened? Did I outgrow motion sickness?
I have the good fortune of getting monthly esoteric massage sessions when I am home in Australia. My practitioner is wise way beyond his earthly years. So after arriving home, from my six months of travel, I went for a pre-booked esoteric massage session and while I was there, I asked him what the ‘energetic reading’ was on motion sickness, explaining that I no longer seemed to be affected by it.
He shared that ‘energetically’ motion sickness arises from an anxiousness, specifically an anxiousness of not being in control of the movement the body is going through.
Ah-ha! That would certainly explain why riding in the backseat of a car is so much worse because you can’t even see the curve in the road so there is no way to prepare the stomach for the direction it is about to lurch. At least from the front seat, you have some warning that the body is going to sway this way. Of course, as a driver, you feel in control. In a plane, train or often a boat, you never even see who is driving the vehicle. Talk about not being in control!
For me, personally, I used to worry about travelling a great deal, not only because of the unpleasant sensation of motion sickness but I also had heightened anxiety about missing a flight, having an accident, accommodation on the other end, making connections with people I hadn’t seen in a long time, would I be able to eat the food I wanted and on and on went the number of things I could find to worry about.
One of the many cool things about being in my sixties is that I now find that I worry about very little. What is there to worry about? Dying? Not really. I’ve had a long life, and in my case, a rewarding life, I have no further direct responsibilities in terms of parenting or grandparenting. Death is a change of form and life goes on in a different realm. Worry about not dying but being permanently injured? Not something I would consciously chose but if it happens, I will have to learn to live in a body that is dependent on others. Being imprisoned on false charges in a foreign country? Well, I don’t want this to happen either but a woman friend of mine spent five years in prison on a Spanish controlled island and if it happened to me, she would be my inspiration of how to survive that situation. You get the picture, I am no longer tuned to anxiousness. And my motion sickness seems to have disappeared. So what’s my tip on how to deal with motion sickness? Relax and enjoy the movement of getting from one place in life to another - and keep some pure ginger tablets in your pocket.
For an additional example of an ‘energetic reading’ you might also enjoy my blog on
There is No Brotherhood in Self Sufficiency.
*Blackmore’s (an Australian health supplement company)
Gayle Cue loves writing about life, reflecting on every day miracles and pondering on the big picture.
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