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About travel sickness

Travel sickness, or motion sickness can occur as a result of repetitive small movements, which can mean the brain is sent mixed messages. The eyes are sending a certain message about the position of the body, but the inner ear balance mechanisms are sending another. This often brings on symptoms of nausea (sometimes vomiting) and sweating.

Travel sickness can also be caused by smells (such as food or petrol) and anxiety or trying to focus on a nearby object (reading a book or a map). More children than adults suffer from this.

Western Medical View

Your brain relies on the inner ear, the eyes and muscles to pinpoint where you are. When you are in a moving car, your eyes tell the brain that the body is still (when your eyes focus on a stationary map) while your inner ear tells the brain that you are moving. The brain receives this conflicting information, which makes you dizzy or nauseous – travel sickness. Some people may experience vomiting, yawning, face turning pale or red, rapid breathing, sweating, or headaches.

Chinese Medical View

Acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials – to be an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting, which are the common symptoms of travel sickness*.

When you are in a moving vehicle, Qi (the essential energy) and essence (the primal energies acquired at birth) in your body become imbalanced due to the unusual movements. This causes the stomach Qi to flow reversely. The stomach Qi which is supposed to descend now goes upward. The liver and spleen also fall deficient. As a result, you may feel nausea and travel sickness.

According to Chinese medical theory ear acupuncture can usually be recommended before travelling to help prevent travel sickness. Massaging the acupuncture points on your hands when you have the travel sickness symptoms in a moving vehicle is recommended in CM theory. Such treatments can help the Stomach, Liver and Spleen return to function normally and thus dismiss the symptoms.

Acupressure can also help and can be applied using a wristband or by pressing your finger against the middle of the inner wrist about three finger widths above the crease where the wrist joins the hand, according to CM theory

Lifestyle Advice

Avoid heavy meals and alcohol before travelling. Keep still with eyes closed. Also there are ginger or peppermint remedies. Ginger can be taken as a biscuit, tea or in crystallised form, peppermint taken as a sweet or in tea.

For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation. Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.


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