Motion Sickness Mania

We have big problems in my family with car sickness. Not just one of the children, it’s all 3 of them! Is this connected to the work that you do Clare?

It sure is! Motion sickness is a sign that the vestibular system is underdeveloped.

The vestibular system is part of the inner ear, a semi fluid-filled canal, lined with lots of little hairy bits. As we move in different directions and at different speeds, the fluid sloshes about in the canal, and the hairs report back to the brain about what we’re doing. A very technical explanation I know, but one that I hope you were actually able to follow!

For most of you, it’s uncommon to become queasy when moving about on the solid ground. The trouble starts when you get into a moving vehicle such as a car or a boat. In this instance, your body is completely still and so is the fluid in your ear. Acting on this information, the hairs tell the brain that you are at rest.

But then you open your eyes. Your brain is flooded with visual footage suggestive of the fact that you are moving. The scenery is changing but your body remains still. Your brain becomes confused. Your system has no idea what’s going on. Things don’t feel safe.  Things don’t feel predictable. As an act of self-preservation, it gives you an uneasy churning feeling in your gut. It’s essentially your body’s way of communicating “danger, danger! We don’t know what’s going on, get the heck outta here!”.

The difference for those of us who don’t get motion sickness is that the vestibular system is more finely tuned. It’s able to detect the stillness of the body, receive the incoming visual input and determine as a result “aha, we must be in a moving vehicle! All is safe, all is well, let’s enjoy the ride!”.

If motion sickness stems from a problem in the vestibular system, the way to resolve it is to work on the vestibular system!  And the best way to do that? Start with those pesky reflexes!

To add a touch of inspiration for you, I’m going to share an email I received back in October 2013 from a teacher who attended one of my Move to Learn workshops just three months prior. She’s someone who previously experienced motion sickness!

A Tale of Transformation…

“I have to say a huge thank you to you. I was not sick on our holiday. There were other sick people on the boat, but not me. We also went on some tours on the islands we stopped at. Normally I would have been sick on the buses, but not this time. I didn’t even feel queasy. I even slept in our car in the backseat on the weekend. I can’t normally sleep in the car or sit in the backseat without feeling ill.

I rolled for the 10 weeks before going away. At about week 5, I noticed that I was not sleeping in a ball so much in bed, I was stretching out more. I first went on a swing at Kindy in about week 7, but felt a little queasy. By week 10, I could swing just fine. I could also roll for about 5 minutes continuously back and forth by week 10”.

So what do you think? Time to get rolling?

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