Date - 2018.05.07

Category -

Why people get Seasickness? Considering mechanism

Four years have passed since I started working on board as a cruise acupuncturist.
Based on the experience of treating more than 200 diseases and symptoms by examining more than 1,000 patients on the ship. Today, about “seasickness” that can be said as a special disease among them, I will introduce considerations based on my experience. If you are thinking to be an acupuncturist on board, please refer to it. And, if you are not an acupuncturist on board a ship, it is a good opportunity to know what to do in order to get seasick, so please learn by all means “how to prevent”.

What is the symptom, which can not be treated by land acupuncturist but can be done by a shipboard acupuncturist?

– That is “seasickness”.

Seasickness is no different from motion sickness if you look only symptoms. The mechanism of occurrence is not different. Because it happens when you are on a ship, then you are given a name of seasickness. After all, it is the same as motion sickness. The shake of the ship, the shaking of the car, the swing of the train, possibly the shaking of the elevator, these are a cause of motion sickness. Okay, those who thought that elevator is a cause??? This is not an exaggerated expression. Actually, I was feeling bad every time when I got on the elevator.

Seasickness, motion sickness
Although this may not be understood by anyone who has never experienced this. For people who have experienced terrible seasickness, can be said that it was a “worst experience”. I would say that it is a hangover, which never gets better even if through up. Yes, I also experienced. The first two months after boarding the ship, I got seasick like almost every week. I get motion sickness easily since I was children. When I read a book in a car, I had gotten sick in minutes. Even if I wasn’t reading a book, I had gotten discomfort when I ride a car for a long time. I often went to sleep as soon as the car started running. Because of that, I still get sleepy soon when I ride a car. But there is no problem with driving a car by yourself. It may be said that it is suitable for talking about seasickness to me.

So now,
The seasickness,
This seasickness,

Even if you say that a patient has gotten seasick, symptoms are not the same each time. Common symptoms of seasickness are nausea, dizziness, and headache. If it gets worse, vomiting, trembling of the body coming from the cold, continuing with a losing equilibrium sensation, in the end, it will be difficult to walk and lie down to rest, even breathing normally is difficult. The feeling of seasickness is one of the worst feeling, which you experience in a life.
If the sickness gets worse and worse, the face’s blood is drawn, going to a tight condition, can not treat by acupuncture. Sometimes an intravenous treatment will be necessary. There will be even death if you get to the worst state of seasickness and leave you alone. If it gets worse, you won’t be able to enjoy a cruise. If you have nausea, you can not enjoy your meal, you can not enjoy shows and movies, you will have to sleep all the time. That sounds so bad. I met a guest who couldn’t enjoy the previous 5days cruise because of seasickness. That is the worst journey. If you are on a car and got motion sickness, you can get better when you stop the car and take a break, but you can not get off the ship in the middle of an ocean. If you jump off the ship because of seasickness, you will die for sure. Even if it is stopped at the harbor, after the ship moves, symptoms will come again. To a person who is afraid to get sick, it is hard to go to cruise casually. Usually, these kinds of people drink medications for prevention while on a cruise. Seasickness medication causes sleepiness due to side effects. Many time people couldn’t enjoy a cruise because they were sleeping in the room most of the time. Even if the symptoms are not severe, people don’t feel good on the stomach and couldn’t eat what they want.

Acupuncture is effective for treating such seasickness and for preventing it.
 It may not be widely known, Acupuncture shows a tremendous effect on seasickness.

If you combine the traditional Chinese herbs, it will show even better effect. Actually, I have treated more than 100 seasickness patients by acupuncture. In the severe case, I have treated the patient who was in a serious seasickness condition, which was not stopped trembling, could stand, walk or lie down because of nausea and headache. Well, in such a severe symptom, I thought maybe it would be better to go to the medical center without getting acupuncture, but if you got to rely on it, why don’t you to help them if there is some possibility. This is acupuncturist Pride. So I treated it and she got better. Of course, there is a rule to send them to the ship’s medical center without treatment if you think it is an emergency case. The acupuncture point to be used for treatment depends on the symptoms. It’s not using same points all the time but if it is an easy symptom like the beginning of symptoms, placing ear seeds on the acupuncture point of the ear will heal it quickly. That acupuncture points are “inner ear”, “stomach” and “Shinmen” which are in the ear. If you place an acupuncture needle here, it will prevent seasickness. On the ship, a wristband called “Sea Sickness band” is sold at shops for helping seasickness. This method is also from acupuncture theory. The band makes pressure to one acupuncture point which is called HG6. The key point of this HG6 is a point that has an immediate effect on nausea, upsetting stomachache or discomfort of a chest. So when symptoms start to appear, it will show good effect. If you stimulate HG6, it can be used for prevention. However, this band, Although it works for the symptoms of seasickness such as nausea and vomiting, it is not very effective for symptoms of seasickness like dizziness and headache. So even if you bought this Sea Sickness band and put it on your arms, something it doesn’t work.
Well, there is also a reason why it is ineffective. It doesn’t work if you put it in the wrong place. The position will not be effective if it deviates 1 centimeter.
By the way, the acupuncturist searches the position of the acupuncture point in millimeters and sticks acupuncture. 

Now I guess you will be, like “So how do I ease the symptoms of dizziness and headaches?”
I will explain the mechanism first, “why people get sea sickness” before start writing the answer because it is very important to prevent seasickness. You can prevent it if you understood the mechanism.

The most important thing for medicine is prevention.
Treatment is a remedy when you couldn’t prevent,
I believe that treatment is a lower method as a choice for health.

I always tell my patients this, “Please think about why the symptom is occurring to you”. It happened because you did not prevent it properly. It’s no one’s fault. It’s yours. “Even if I cure your symptoms now, if you do not know why it happened, maybe you will suffer from same symptoms.”

All things have a reason to happen.

Think like this, “The illness is not coming from other person’s fault, it’s own fault. It is a good opportunity to face yourself, Let ‘s face the sick with thinking that it is a good opportunity to look back on your life.” That is my stance as an acupuncturist. So I always tell my patient “why you got sea sickness”.

Well, about the seasickness mechanism, Let’s talk about this first. There are two main types of seasickness. One is symptomatic in the stomach such as nausea and vomiting. Another type is symptomatic in the head such as dizziness and headaches. Although they may come out at the same time, there are many people who only have one type. The common one is abdominal symptoms. About 60% of my treatment experience is abdominal symptoms only.
30% is for both, and 10% is for head symptoms only. Causes are different if the symptoms are different.
Both of them are for the same reason as the shake of the ship, but the shake of the ship is only a trigger, and it is greatly related to body condition to get seasickness. This is the reason why some people do not get seasick even if they all are in the same boat. Seasickness is briefly caused by the illusion of the brain. 

I explain what it is in order. As the ship sways, the semicircular canals in the ears feel shaking. (We can stand or walk because the semicircular canals feel the movement or position of the body.) That signal is sent to the brain. However, We shake with the ship together, we can not see the shaking of the scenery visually. 
As information entered from the vision, Signal of shaking the room where you stand on the ship will not send to the brain because you can’t see it. So the brain will be confused by different information sent from the eyes and the semicircular canal to the brain. When the shake of the ship gets bigger, the mismatch of that information becomes bigger, so the brain gets more confused. And the mess is transmitted from the brain to the internal organs through vagal nerves. There is no problem if your internal organ’s condition is good at this time. Strong internal organs do not develop symptoms such as nausea and nausea with a little or gently stimulation. However, if the internal organ’s condition is bad, the internal organs react easily to the brain confusion.
The result will be to get seasickness. The state of the internal organs is a usual eating habit greatly involved and it depends on what you ate on the ship.
As information commonly known among crews, Drinking too much water and eating too much rice makes it easier to get seasick. And if you eat green apple or ginger, it will work for seasickness. I also heard one story from my friend. There was a massage therapist who drunk a beer in the morning for making better sea sickness then came to work in the spa. She believed that a beer will work for seasickness. Actually, it’s not wrong. Because alcohol works to drain water from the body. You can improve the sea sickness by draining extra water from the internal organs (especially the stomach). But if you drink a beer all the time, a hangover will be waiting for you. As it turns out that whether to be seasick will depend on the condition of the internal organs and what you usually eat.
If I use strong ward, I would say that YOU GOT SEA SICKNESS BECAUSE OF YOU. Even if I know it, I do not say it to patients who are suffering from seasickness. I teach them what to eat after taking the symptoms away and I ended treatment with the recommendation to improve internal organs condition.

I’m usually talking to guest very gently but I’m saying to spa colleagues sternly that improve your eating habits!

However, this is a story about seasickness of abdominal symptoms, The cause of seasickness of head symptoms is different.

Symptoms of seasickness such as dizziness and headache caused by muscle tension in the neck. This is not a story only to seasickness, symptoms of general dizziness and headache come from neck tension often.
The muscles tension of the neck can be a cause of limiting the neck movement. The muscles of the neck are attached to the bone of the head, if the neck is tight, the shake of the ship is transmitted directly to the head accordingly. If the muscles of the neck are loose, the shaking feels in the semicircular canals also changes because the shaking is reduced by the flexibility of the neck. I talked about the semicircular canals earlier, it will also appear here. As it turns out, seasickness is happened from “shaking”, so this organ that senses the body’s swing affects it. This semicircular canal exists in the ear. And it is connected with a small bone called “ossicles”. The Ossicles is connected to the muscles of the head and neck via the ear canal and the earlobe. If the neck is tight and the movement of the head is restricted, the input of the stimulus to the Ossicles increases and the swing feeling in the semicircular canal will become bigger.

Let’s make it simple,
You can think like this, the neck muscles tightness will cause dizziness, which is a result of deviation of the semicircular canal.

What is the point in the acupuncture treatment? When symptoms of a headache and dizziness are strong, focus point will be in the neck then when abdominal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting are strong, you need to focus to improve digestive conditions. When the condition of the internal organs, especially the stomach condition is bad, the neck muscles(especially the sternocleidomastoid muscle) get tight. The important thing when treating patients who have both abdominal symptoms and head symptoms is internal organs treatment. Although it is almost always possible to take away both symptoms if internal organs are treated, occasionally the tightness of the neck is sometimes strongly left, in which case treatment treating the neck muscle tension is also important.

How can I relieve the symptoms of dizziness and headaches? I return to the answer to the previous question.

When patients have only the symptoms of dizziness and headache in seasickness, if you massage their neck, warm their neck and relax muscles, the symptoms will be improved. Please try it. Of course, you can use acupuncture or moxibustion if it’s possible. When the symptoms of seasickness get worse, patients feel cold and the body trembles. From that point on, it is important to warm patients body in order not to worsen the symptoms of seasickness. So, people who do not have a strong stomach should not drink cold drinks on the ship, food that cools the body should be avoided as much as possible.

By the way,
I had been treating seasickness a lot, and when I touched the stomach of a patient who had abdominal symptoms, it was always very cold.

When I became seasick, I put a hand on my stomach and warmed it up, then the discomfort of stomach got a bit better. So, if you get seasick, warm your stomach. Well, please be careful on your digestive condition well before you get seasickness.



Contents from here will be for acupuncturists.

If you do not treat patients as an acupuncturist, maybe it is hard to understand. so I think you can skip it if you are not a physician. I will write about seasickness for non-acupuncturists in the next article. Maybe you can stop reading here. Of course, I think that it is interesting for those who are interested in acupuncture and moxibustion, even if you are not acupuncturists. It would be nice to try reading in interest when treating seasickness, there are some points I always check.
It is the temperature of the abdomen, pulse and the reaction of the stomach area(reaction of CV12), the tension of the neck.

Seasickness pulse is mostly “slippery” and “Hurried”. It is often “Sinking” as well.
The abdomen is very cold, there is hardpoint around CV12, Patients feel very uncomfortable when pushing there.

In the case of those who are nausea feeling, if you press hard, they feel very discomfort, so please do not press hard when you check patients abdomen. If there are no symptoms such as dizziness or headaches, there is no neck tightness sometimes but when the symptoms appear in the stomach, the sternocleidomastoid muscle usually gets tight, so there are many cases that patients have neck tightness without head symptoms when they have stomach symptoms. If patients have dizziness or a headache you will see definitely tightness in their neck.

How to treat seasickness can be divided into two types.
One is a treatment for symptoms. Although it is called countermeasure therapy, in case of severe seasickness, this countermeasure therapy becomes very important so I can not dismiss it. In Japanese acupuncturist, most of us don’t have a good image about countermeasure treatment, but if people do not go to cruise, they will not get seasick. Maybe there is no problem with countermeasure therapy only to do on the cruise. Patients may be happy with it. Another way is fundamental treatment. As I mentioned in the discussion of the mechanism, the cause of seasickness happens from the internal organs bad condition. Acupuncture treatment changes the body fundamentally and strengthens internal organs. In other words, we can cure seasickness with treatment that improves constitution. In countermeasure therapy, It will choose acupuncture points for symptoms. For example, effective against nausea and nausea, will use “HG6” and “SP4”. If it’s not bad seasickness condition, symptoms will disappear with placing the needle for about 15 minutes in these two points.
I do not use it much, but my friend who is an acupuncturist says that “LU7” of the left arm is also effective. As it can be seen from the Slippery pulse, seasickness is related to damp inside the body. It is effective to remove damp from “ST40”. I do not do it most of the time because I prefer not to use abdominal acupuncture points but it is good to get rid of symptoms by directly tp use CV12 for indigestion. And, as I mentioned earlier, there is the acupuncture point on the ear, which affect very well for seasickness. The ear acupuncture points “Stomach”, “Inner ear”, “Shinmen” are also effective to take symptoms away.
But It may not be enough for the severe seasickness case. In that case, in addition to the above acupuncture points, add “LI4” and “LU5” and “LR4”. I think whether adding “LR3” is also good. For seasickness with chief complaints of dizziness or headaches, I choose from “LI4”, “ST41”, “GB12”, “BL2”, “You-Yao”, “SI3”. I often give neck massage together. Generally, the symptoms can be gone with the acupuncture points above without neck massage.

In the case of fundamental treatment, I aim to improve the condition of internal organs. I decide which acupuncture points I use from the result of abdominal examination rather than seasickness symptom. It will not be the same points every time. However, there are certain points to be surely used, Here, I write the points that I use in improving the constitution. The one I always use when preparing the condition of the internal organs is “Yin-Tang”.
This acupuncture point is a point that can be effective for any abdominal symptoms. Indeed this fact, I have removed many symptoms such as seasickness, abdominal pain, hangover, abdominal bloating, the discomfort of a chest and so on.
I skip explanation because it will be so long to explain why it is effective for any abdominal symptoms but I can say that this acupuncture point is a very important point for digestive problems. The other thing that I can say is for sure, I often use these combinations “LU5” & “LR4” and “LR3” & “SP4”. It depends on the reaction of pulse diagnosis, I also used “LU7”, “KD6”, “KD27” often. I do not use it much but I think that “SP6” and “ST36” are also good choices. Because my treatment style is coming from Nagano style and Kiko style, those who want to know more detailed about my treatment, I think that it would be better to read Master Nagano’s books or Master Kiko Matsumoto’s books.

In the end, I tell you a little about how to let a patient lay down the bed when you treat seasickness.
Patients with seasickness are difficult to lie down on flat. People who have experienced seasickness can tell sitting position is the most comfortable position. Now you know when the symptoms are terrible, treatment should start with sitting position. When the symptoms became better, use a pillow under the body and let a patient lay the supine position with the upper body raised. It is better to raise the upper body about 30 to 45 degrees. And if you put the palm of the patient around “CV12”, you can warm patient stomach with the temperature of the palm. If you can use heat mattress it is good to warm their body.
Just body temperature rises, nausea and nausea will be easier.

The Chinese Herbs is also very effective. As it turns out that seasickness is a big concern for eating habits,
In my case, I tell a patient about how to change meals at the end of treatment. I will write about eating habits to prevent seasickness next time and introduce own experiences, so please refer to that. You will do more or less seasickness treatment if you get on board. If you are an acupuncturist who is planning to work aboard a cruise ship in the future, please refer to this article.



blog about

I write what I learned from what MITS actually experienced, mainly on acupuncture and moxibustion, medical care, and the human body.

Sometimes I write about things, such as talks about traveling and daily thinking.

Through blogs, I show my way of life, a way of thinking and so on. I wish I could share the world what MITS saw as much as possible, I wish people would be able to live happily through this blog.




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