Turn, turn, turn
February 8, 2020 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I love boating -- but I get horrifically seasick, especially when a ship is at rest and bobbing on the water. Someone suggested spinning in circles each morning as an exercise to accustom one's inner ear to queasy-motion. I'd like to try it but need specifics -- how long to spin, eyes open vs closed, how many days in advance of a boating trip? Any other "inner ear training" tips likewise appreciated!

Please no tips on "looking at horizon when on a ship" "pressure point bands" "dramamine" etc. I've tried them all! Really just looking for exercises I can do in advance to help me prime my dumb inner ears.
posted by egeanin to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if it's an inner ear thing, but: I also get horrifically seasick, and I find that if I can physically get into the water and swim for a few minutes, that somehow resets...my ear? Something? I'm not exactly sure what gets reset, but it gets me another hour of being in the boat without having to vomit. Obviously this works better when you're, say, sailing off a Hawaiian island, and less well if you're in cold water or otherwise nonswimmable circumstances.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:40 AM on February 8

You can try a Valsave Manouver.

Please no tips on "looking at horizon when on a ship" "pressure point bands" "dramamine" etc. I've tried them all!

I've had horrific motion sickness my whole life due to an inner ear condition. I could not ride a bus. I always had to sit in the front seat, and still vomited on nearly every car journey. A drug called Valoid (Cyclazine) changed my life. It's prescription only.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:37 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

I also get really seasick, but this exercise sounds...really awful to me. (And not that scientifically sound?)

I would either 1) get prescription medications after speaking to a physician, or 2) try ginger + acupressure bands (that combo actually has worked for me).
posted by namemeansgazelle at 1:54 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

I've not heard of inner ear training. Hm. The only motion sickness I've had (and it was bad) was in a glider/sail plane, doing sudden rises and drops in a thermal. What would I do to train for that? Trampoline? Might have some positive effect, maybe?

It's maybe on the borders of what you're looking for / don't want, but I have a tip. For people I've encountered with 'bobbing' motion sickness as you described, or who can't stand up on a moving bus without feeling queasy. I've had some success coaching them through it by noticing that they're fighting the motion, trying to stay solid on top of something fluid.
Like, the most uncomfortable thing you can do on the back of a moving horse is to try to remain stiff legged and motionless; you have to bend your knees and let your pelvis go naturally wherever it needs to in order to keep your head upright. Learning to let a boat move underneath you, but centering yourself by doing the same dance step backwards, would be helpful training.

Surf? Paddleboard? Stand up on the bus or subway, and don't brace yourself on the poles, just let your body learn what to do when a curve comes up? Teaching your inner ear that there's a state where the normal rules don't apply, things are going to get swoopy but that's not a threat, would be training.
posted by bartleby at 3:05 PM on February 8

Well, this may get deleted, but: I am someone who gets traumatically sick in boats, often in cars, etc; and has never been helped by staring at any damned horizons or by "bands" etc. And I've never heard of the method you mention so I can't comment on that. BUT:

What has helped - dramatically, astonishingly - was a battery operated wrist thing like this. It wasn't exactly this brand, I don't think, but it was this kind of thing. It sends an adjustable electric pulse along the median nerve; you feel it in your wrist and hand, going a bit up the forearm. I had it turned up to the point where it was strong but tolerable, and I was able to go out on a two hour small boat ride on fairly choppy water, which... I mean, last time I did that, it was just puke, puke, puke. And this time: no trouble at all. It was incredible.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:23 AM on February 9

I get horribly seasick and I'm on a boat right now (albeit, in a marina at the moment where it's flat). The only things that have helped me are the scopolamine patch and time. The drugs are really useful for the short term. One just needs regular exposure to the sea and the body eventually adjusts. Some people, I've read, never adjust but hopefully you're not in that minority.
posted by vivzan at 9:02 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

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