If going on holiday always starts with a bout of
travel sickness, it can make for an unpleasant
start to your well-earned break. Herbalist and
acupuncturist Steve Kippax offers practical
advice to nip sickness in the bud.
Travel sickness occurs when the messages your inner ear is sending to your brain differ from the message sent from your eyes. This causes confusion and makes you feel dizzy and sick. Here are some things you can do to nip symptoms in the bud or avoid feeling ill altogether.
1. Look out of the window
If you are sitting by a window, look out at the horizon. Also, if you can, open the window to get fresh air, although this is only possible on some modes of transport – not planes of course!
2. Eat something
Low blood sugar can exacerbate travel sickness. However, if you’ve had a large meal, more food may not help.
3. Avoid alcohol
Don’t consume lots of, if any, alcohol either before or during travel.
4. Get into the best position
Sitting towards the front of a plane is best, as you’ll feel less motion than if you sat at the back, where the tail swings about. If possible, sit by a window so you can also look out. It’s best to sit in the passenger seat of a car if you’re not driving, as you can more easily look forward and out at the horizon. And on trains, find a chair that faces forwards in the direction of travel.
5. Eat some ginger
The spice has been shown to reduce feelings of sickness. Try ginger pastilles, biscuits or take some ginger tea along with you. Cut up an 8cm piece of fresh ginger and put into a pan with 500ml of water. Bring to the boil and simmer vigorously for 7-10 minutes. Sieve. Add a drop of honey or maple syrup if desired. Put into a flask to drink while on your journey.
6. Make a beeline for mint
This herb can also help alleviate symptoms. Again, take some tea bags with you or pre-prepared tea, or have some chewing gum to hand.
7. Wear sea sickness bands
These press on an acupuncture point called ‘Nei guan’, which is located two fingers-breadth down from your wrist creases and in between the tendons found there. It’s the main spot on the body linked to nausea and sickness. While these bands may help in an ongoing way, often they do not exert enough pressure to be really effective, so if you press this point yourself quite hard, ideally for 15-30 seconds at a time, this will also help. It can also help to relieve burping.
8. Take Rescue remedy
Adding a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy (£9.20) under your tongue can help lessen general discomfort and can be taken in conjunction with any of the above recommendations.
9. Inhale essential oils
Try adding a few drops of either ginger, mint or chamomile essential oil to a hankie and inhaling the scent. Lavender also helps relax and reduce agitation.