Motion Sickness

Motion sickness
As guests prepare for their first charter vacation, we hear a common question: Will I get seasick? In fact, we hear it more often than not, and it makes sense. No one wants to suffer through a luxury yachting vacation with the nausea and dizziness caused by seasickness.

The truth is: Motion sickness has long been experienced by sailors. Charles Darwin once said, “If not for seasickness, the whole world would be sailors.” Fortunately, ship construction has come a long way since Darwin’s time. Today, luxury yachts utilize key innovations – like stabilizing systems – that greatly reduce the ship movements that can cause seasickness, even in rough seas.

Plus, we understand the science of motion sickness better. Therefore, we can help guests prepare better to avoid symptoms, and each yacht has natural and medicinal remedies on board to help ease symptoms if they do occur. Although we can’t guarantee you won’t get sick, we wanted to point out the causes of seasickness, note what charter guests can do to avoid symptoms, and look at some common cures for motion sickness.

What is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness has been recorded by humans for centuries. The ancient Greeks and Romans were some of the first to develop remedies for seasickness and motion sickness. Today, even NASA is studying motion sickness and developing cures and remedies. But what is it exactly?

Motion sickness typically occurs in unstable environments, in which we experience unnatural movements. For example, aboard a boat, which might rock due to the natural ebb and flow of the sea, the movement of the ship can cause us to develop symptoms. Amusement park rides, cars and even horseback riding are other common causes of motion sickness.

Ultimately, it’s this unnatural movement that promotes the feeling of nausea and dizziness that are common with motion sickness. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Increase in saliva production

In recent years, we’ve uncovered the reason that these unnatural movements are more likely to cause seasickness. And as such, we have much better remedies for treating motion sickness symptoms.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

You might be wondering: Why do people get seasick? Why do those unnatural motions cause the feelings of dizziness and nausea?

And there’s one theory that seems to explain it. We all use our eyes, ears and feet to keep our balance (as well as other sensory and motor systems). It’s not too hard to stay balanced when we’re on dry land, because all the sensory information matches up. What we see and the movements detected in our ears and by our feet all match up.

Yet, in the car or on a boat, the unnatural movement plays tricks on the system in our inner ear. The sensory information don’t match up. For example, on a ship, the eyes and feet feel like a stable surface. But the inner ear thinks, “Oh no! I’m rocking from side to side.” And that’s when motion sickness develops: When your body moves in a way that’s different from what your eyes see.

This theory shows why motion sickness is common when you’re reading in a car. Your eyes see the book and the interior of the car, and you believe you’re still. Yet, the motion of the car as you hit bumps, or go around curves, tells the other sensory systems that you’re moving. This dissonance between what we see and what the body feels is what causes motion sickness.

Motion Sickness Remedies

It’s believed that some people are genetically immune to seasickness. In fact, as many as 30 percent may be immune to the effects. Yet, if you aren’t one of these lucky few, you probably want to now if there’s a cure for motion sickness.

Although you might not see symptoms immediately vanish, there are natural remedies and medications you can take to prevent or alleviate symptoms. They include:

  • Nausea Medication – One of the most common prevention methods is anti-nausea medications or anti-histamines. It’s believed these medicines help by blocking the neurotransmitters that speak to the inner ear. Therefore, these medications can help to prevent the “sensory conflict” that causes symptoms.
  • Ginger – For thousands of years, ginger has been a remedy for nausea. On board, a ginger ale or ginger candy can help to soothe the stomach or alleviate some of the feeling of nausea caused by seasickness.
  • Getting Your “Sea Legs” – Seasickness is usually temporary. Once you’ve adapted to the conditions of the boat, you begin to naturally anticipate movements. This helps to prevent the sensory conflict that causes symptoms.
  • Staying Above Deck – Below deck, the sensory conflict can be more pronounced, because you can’t see the horizon and it appears you’re in an environment that’s not moving. One way to avoid symptoms is to stay above deck and focus on the horizon.
  • Motion Sickness Bracelets – Seasickness bracelets use magnets to stimulate a pressure point on the wrist. For many people, these bracelets help to prevent symptoms.

How to Stop or Prevent Seasickness. Almost everyone will experience motion sickness at some point. Although there is no catchall cure, using preventative measures like a nausea medication, as well as staying above deck until your body adapts to being at sea offer the best solution for preventing seasickness.

Seasickness and Yachting

A yachting vacation is all about you, with days planned to fit into your schedule. Therefore, if you’re prone to motion sickness, the type of yacht charter you choose may also help you avoid symptoms. Our brokers are happy to help you design a charter vacation that fits your exact needs.

Motor yachts, for example, tend to be more stable than sailing yachts. Today’s motor yachts are built with advanced stabilization systems, which use gyroscopes to reduce the side-to-side rocking of the ship. These systems make the ride on a luxury yacht much more comfortable.

Additionally, you might consider a shore-based trip that doesn’t venture out into open waters. A shore-based itinerary stays closer to ports along the coast and may only travel a few miles out to sea. This can help prevent seasickness in two ways. For one, you’ll always be able to see the horizon. And secondly, closer to shore the ways and motion of the sea is typically much less pronounced. Plus, you’ll always be close to shore, so you can take a tender in to recover if symptoms progress.

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