Will motion exercises on land aid in preventing seasickness?

Posted By on June 1, 2018

SeasicknessGreenTom Hoskins wrote an interesting article on "Overcoming Seasickness by Habituation On Land" and although parts of it seems humorous (lamp shade and swings), the testing of motion sickness on land makes a good deal of sense … especially the testing the meds one might try when going sailing. Better to know in advance how they medically affect you than to be testing them as needed crew at sea. Check out the article on Currents or the PDF here.


Early on in my trials, I swapped reading with closing my eyes, but it was worse. A literature review confirmed my findings and mentioned that closing your eyes is the worst thing you can do. Another trial involved taping a page from a book inside a lampshade to totally block all peripheral vision, like when you are below deck reading. After about 9 days, I could swing 20 minutes or longer, either reading or with my eyes closed. I hoped to do this for several weeks and that I would be able to maintain my sea legs while sailing.


So, it may be worth it for you to test yourself on a swing, while reading a book that blocks as much peripheral vision as possible. You could buy some higher power reading glasses from a Dollar Store so you will have the book closer to your face, blocking more peripheral vision. If you get nauseous, you have an opportunity not only to see if you can habituate to motion on land, but also to try various seasick pills on the swing, where you can “abandon ship” without consequence. It is important that the scopolamine patch be tried on land anyway, to see if you get psychotic episodes as a side effect, as some people do. The swing test may help you determine efficacy and side effects. (If you look up Wikipedia on “antihistamine”, it says second generation antihistamines cause less sedation.)

If you do several other drug trials, you may get your “sea-legs”  through habituation, giving a false positive to a pill. Do another trial after the drug has been eliminated from your system to see if you are still sensitive to motion. I have done this myself and it works. We have all heard stories of people finding out the hard way whether or not they succumb to seasickness, sometimes selling their boat after years of dreaming and preparation for their offshore adventures. A seasickness drug trial ahead of cutting the lines may be worth a try.




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