Curbing motion sickness

This item appears on page 55 of the August 2011 issue.

I read with interest the article by Lew Toulmin about motion sickness (June ’11, pg. 59). I have always been prone to motion sickness, though it has lessened with age, as he mentioned it would. (However, I’m not sure it’s not picking up again.)

Boats are the worst, for me, and I had never cruised until a few years ago when I sailed from Philadelphia to Bermuda. For just a short trip on a big boat, “All will be well,” friends assured me.

Well, there was this huge storm with 15- to 18-foot seas — the worst my companion, an avid cruiser, had seen since crossing the Atlantic in a troop ship 40 years earlier. The ship pitched and rolled until I was violently ill and sought an injection from the ship’s doctor.

Believe me, if I’d known about the Scopolamine patch then, I would have used it in a heartbeat. I have used it since, in a small plane doing figure-eights over the Nazca Lines, in a diesel-powered boat across Lake Titicaca and on a train in Bolivia. It’s very effective, and the only side effect I experienced was a dry mouth.

For lesser situations I wear a battery-powered wristband (ReliefBand, $99-$139, depending on the source) that stimulates the same nerve as the button bands Toulmin mentioned. It works for me.

When I am caught unprepared, however, I simply press that accupressure point with the opposite thumb. That point is about two fingers down from the base of my thumb and between two tendons that come together there.

I’ll also be seeking out a source of Stugeron® (cinnarizine), which Toulmin mentioned, to add that to my arsenal.

Richland, MO