Motion sickness, that feeling of being overcome by nausea and vomiting during a ride in a vehicle, can develop quickly or progressively over time in almost anyone who takes trips by car, boat or plane. Marketed products like Dramamine offer relief with antihistamine-related medicines that cause excessive sleepiness in addition to side effects like dry mouth. For people who repeatedly experience motion sickness symptoms, Dramamine alternatives can be found in herbal, dietary and acupressure treatments.
Ginger root oils have been used to control nausea from myriad sources, including that associated with pregnancy, chemotherapy and viral illnesses like the stomach flu. Doses of ginger root powders, capsules and liquids have been identified for many types of nausea based on folk and clinical experiences. According to the Doctor's Book of Home Remedies, ginger root capsules are better than Dramamine at preventing nausea from motion sickness. Although definitive studies were not yet available in June 2010, ginger does appear to prevent and relieve nausea, compared with Dramamine, whose use only prevents motion sickness symptoms.
- Ginger root oils have been used to control nausea from myriad sources, including that associated with pregnancy, chemotherapy and viral illnesses like the stomach flu.
How to Depressurize Your Ears
Sipping sugary liquids like concentrated cola syrup minimizes the motion sickness symptoms of nausea and vomiting after they have developed by soothing the stomach with carbohydrates. Similar relief occurs when marketed cola syrup is replaced with regular carbonated cola products or with homemade sugar water by mixing and heating 1/4 cup water with 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
Pressure bands around the wrist rely on Chinese acupressure techniques to relieve existing motion sickness symptoms immediately when they develop. This acupressure method relies on the concept that motion sickness is ultimately caused by an improper reaction of the body's balance system between the ear and eye. Acupressure bands on the inner wrists are intended to reset an imbalance, improve body wellness and reduce nausea symptoms. Although these bands are a popular non-drug remedy, a 2004 study by Dr. K.E. Miller and Dr. E.R 1. Muth in the March 2004 issue of the Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine journal reported no differences between two types of pressure bands and a placebo, non-pressure point band in 77 users who received instructions for proper pressure band use. As of June 2010, no consistent data are available to clinically support the medical use of acupressure bands for motion sickness 1.**
- Pressure bands around the wrist rely on Chinese acupressure techniques to relieve existing motion sickness symptoms immediately when they develop.
How to Depressurize Your Ears
Ginger Candy & Nausea
Acupuncture for Balance and Dizziness
Herbs & Tea for Vertigo
Over the Counter Medications for Nausea
How to Get Rid of Pressure Headaches
Causes of Nausea & Dizziness
Medications to Treat Vertigo
What Does Ginger Root Do for the Body?
Relief From Ear Congestion
- Efficacy of Acupressure and Acustimulation Bands for the Prevention of Motion Sickness. K.E. Miller, E.R. Muth; Aviat Space Environ Med, March 2004
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Alternative Medicine: Ginger
- Takov V, Tadi P. Motion Sickness. [Updated 2019 Nov 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539706/
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Complementary Health Approaches for Travelers. nccihe.nih.gov November 7, 2019
- Halson SL, Burke LM, Pearce J. Nutrition for Travel: From Jet lag To Catering. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2019;29(2):228-235.
- Wada T, Yoshida K. Effect of passengers' active head tilt and opening/closure of eyes on motion sickness in lateral acceleration environment of cars. Ergonomics. 2016;59(8):1050-9.
- Stromberg SE, Russell ME, Carlson CR. Diaphragmatic breathing and its effectiveness for the management of motion sickness. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2015;86(5):452-7.
- Lackner JR. Motion sickness: more than nausea and vomiting. Exp Brain Res. 2014;232(8):2493–2510. doi:10.1007/s00221-014-4008-8
- Stoffregen TA, Chen FC, Varlet M, Alcantara C, Bardy BG. Getting Your Sea Legs. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(6):e66949.
- Ming JL, Kuo BI, Lin JG, Lin LC. The efficacy of acupressure to prevent nausea and vomiting in post-operative patients. J Adv Nurs. 2002;39(4):343-51.
- Hofmann D, Murray C, Beck J, Homann R. Acupressure in Management of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting in High-Risk Ambulatory Surgical Patients. J Perianesth Nurs. 2017;32(4):271-278.
- Steele NM, French J, Gatherer-Boyles J, Newman S, Leclaire S. Effect of acupressure by Sea-Bands on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2001;30(1):61–70.
- Lien HC, Sun WM, Chen YH, Kim H, Hasler W, Owyang C. Effects of ginger on motion sickness and gastric slow-wave dysrhythmias induced by circular vection. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003;284(3):G481–G489. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00164.2002
- Ernst E, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Br J Anaesth. 2000;84(3):367–371. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.bja.a013442
- Marx W, McKavanagh D, McCarthy AL, et al. The Effect of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) on Platelet Aggregation: A Systematic Literature Review [published correction appears in PLoS One. 2015;10(11):e0143675]. PLoS One. 2015;10(10):e0141119. Published 2015 Oct 21. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141119
- Hofmann D, Murray C, Beck J, Homann R. Acupressure in Management of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting in High-Risk Ambulatory Surgical Patients. J Perianesth Nurs. 2017 Aug;32(4):271-278.
- Stoffregen TA, Chen F-C, Varlet M, Alcantara C, Bardy BG. Getting Your Sea Legs. Balasubramaniam R, ed. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(6):e66949.
- Stromberg SE, Russell ME, Carlson CR. Diaphragmatic breathing and its effectiveness for the management of motion sickness. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2015 May;86(5):452-7.
- Wada T, Yoshida K. Effect of passengers' active head tilt and opening/closure of eyes on motion sickness in lateral acceleration environment of cars. Ergonomics. 2016 Aug;59(8):1050-9.
Nicole Van Hoey is a pharmacist and medical writer/editor in Washington, D.C. She has worked extensively on National Institutes of Health and trade pharmacy publications and is a contributing textbook writer on topics in infectious disease, nutrition and more. Van Hoey currently enjoys applying her drug information expertise to writings on women's health, complementary medicine and pediatrics.