Thursday, March 27

Is Sea Sickness all in the Mind?

Years ago, on a family holiday to Cornwall, I remember getting on a small boat and sailing out to sea to catch some fish for dinner that evening. At 9 years old I was thoroughly enjoying being out at sea, catching fish and learning to “drive” a boat. And then came the sickness…
There is nothing quite like sea sickness, one minute your feeling fine, the next you feel completely green. Luckily enough we were already heading back to shore as the sickness was reaching its peak.

Since then I have moved on to bigger and better ships and started cruising. As of yet, I have not experienced any sea sickness at all (lucky me). Not so surprising when you consider how huge cruise liners tend to be and how well stabilized. However, many cruise passengers claim they suffer badly from sea sickness, even on these large ships.

The chances are that the majority of people who go cruising probably won’t suffer from seas sickness. Having said that, I guess you really won’t know until you get onboard.

Sea sickness is caused when the body, inner ear and eyes all send conflicting signals to the brain which makes you feel queasy. The brain is confused as your eyes are sensing everything’s stable whilst your ears are screaming that its not. But, can you control this feeling? According to this story I read, the answer is yes -

A husband and wife cruised regularly year after year, and each time the wife suffered with sea sickness. The husband was of the less sympathetic variety and decided to conduct a little experiment.He got in touch with an old friend who was a doctor. The doctor then informed the wife that she should drink cranberry juice each morning to cure the symptoms whilst on the cruise. The wife followed his instructions and for the first time had an enjoyable, sickness free cruise. Cranberry juice is not known as a cure for sea sickness, and instead acted as a placebo, convincing her that her sea sickness had been cured!

Whilst this suggests it is all in the head, I don’t think we can dismiss the symptoms completely. There are now prescription drugs to try to help ease sickness, as well as a new gadget which looks like a watch, but sends out gentle shocks to trick your body into thinking you are on land.

My advice? Each person you ask is likely to come up with their own remedy for sea sickness, some more credible than others. A few basic tips to eliminate the affects of sea sickness is to stay hydrated, eat lightly, avoid fatty foods and stay out on deck if possible. You may find that focusing on the horizon or nearby land is also beneficial.

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