Being at sea can be an amazing sensation - floating on the water is reminiscent of the soothing rocking of a cradle. However, if the motion of the ocean suddenly increases, your body doesn’t expect it and starts to want OUT. Motion sickness begins with mild stomach discomfort, and by the time it deteriorates into headache, dizziness and severe nausea, there is really nothing else you can think about!
Having worked at sea for long periods of time, I’m aware how debilitating seasickness can be. So what exactly happens in the body to make us feel so rotten?
Our bodies are used to walking on a stable ground with steady reference points. When the ground literally starts to move beneath our feet, the energy flow in our body can change completely. In Chinese medicine, the main cause of seasickness is the rising of the energy of the Stomach, creating headaches, dizziness, nausea, and ultimately the need to hug a toilet bowl.
What can we do to get the energy centred and get back on our feet again without taking medicine? Here are some natural tried-and-tested tips:
Breathing slowly and deeply, taking one step at a time, will help you ground and reduce nausea immediately, especially whilst walking on a rocking yacht. Put your hands in the abdominal region to help you focus better (another trick is putting a cotton ball in the navel). Fresh air is best - avoid strong odours, especially if you’re feeling nauseated.
Massage the Neiguan point
This is the area on the internal part of your wrist, 2 fingers away from the wrist, in-between the tendons. It’s the location of an Acupuncture point called Neiguan which helps the Stomach energy to calm down (this is why Seabands are so popular and it's exactly where they should be placed).
Get comfy and relax your eyes
If you can, place yourself where you feel the least motion, a place close to the centre of yacht on the lower decks. Gaze at the horizon on a fixed point or close your eyes, trying to keep your focus on the breathing. Avoid staring at close points, like reading or watching your mobile or computer.
Go easy at the buffet table
Eat light and simple, avoiding rich or hard-to-digest foods; keep hydrated and avoid alcohol. The Captain will likely warn you if rough weather is expected, so eat accordingly.
Drink fresh ginger tea
Peel some ginger root, grate or thinly slice it, at the same time bring water to boil, add the ginger and turn off heat, steep for 10 min and strain (you can add mint leaves to taste). Alternatively, keep some ginger candy on board if you need a quicker option.
Get an Acupuncturist on board
Working directly on specific points to get your energy balanced will have an instant effect on alleviating seasickness symptoms.
These simple tricks to get your body back in balance can make a significant difference when you’re going through rough waters. Based on ancient Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture theory, they stimulate the body’s own intrinsic resources, getting us back in shape immediately.
And of course - prevention is better than cure. For the ultimate comfort of your guests, get an Acupuncturist onboard!
Filipa is Angels On Board’s Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, offering acupuncture, Chinese massage, reflexology, Chi Kung and advice on lifestyle, nutrition and herbal treatments.