When you are about to embark on a nice trip, cruise sea sickness can spoil it all. Fortunately, there is something that can solve this problem. The French call it “Mal de Mer” – and whilte this sounds like the brandname of a premium salt, it’s the feeling of nausea and dizziness that many people suffer from when they stay on a ship for some time.
Why do you feel cruise sea sickness?
One of the main reasons why we feel ill when we’re on a boat is simply that our brain receives mixed messages. When you are on the boat, and you look at something on deck, or you are indoors (like in the restaurant and you look at fellow passengers or your food) then it looks as if you aren’t moving – everything is steady. So in that regard, the message that your brain gets is this: “No motion, everything is stable, I’m not moving right now”.
But your brain doesn’t just get a message from your eyes. It also gets a message from another organ. And that organ is called the vestibular apparatus. This little thing is inside your ear. There are small “tubes” or canals that are filled with liquid. Whenever you move your body, the liquid in these tubes moves too, and that is a crucial mechanism how we maintain our sense of balance. That is why we can still stand upright, and even walk slowly with closed eyes.
But when you are on a ship, your body is moving all the time with the waves. So the vestibule is sending your brain another message: “Motion, I’m moving right now.”
This mixed message of “motion & no motion” is a common symptom when your body got poisoned. And what is your body’s natural reaction to poisoning? It’s trying to get rid of the poison, for example by emptying the contents of your stomach: you feel nauseous and maybe vomit.
However, since it’s not actually a poison that causes the mixed message, the vomiting doesn’t make things a lot better. That’s why even after you vomit you can still often feel sea sick.
Now that you understand the basic mechanism behind sea sickness, let’s look at what you can do to prevent it.
Reading on a ship is one of the last things you should do as it intensifies cruise sea sickness. When you read, your eyes are focused on a very stable element in front of you: the written words on a book or an ebook reader. (The same is true for computer screens).
If possible, look out at the sea, so that you also visually perceive some motion. But since cruise ships are often huge, the visual perception of movement is often so miniscule that it doesn’t help a lot either.
Retraining Your Brain
You can also engage in a specialized kind of “brain training” against sea sickness. With the help of hypnotic suggestions, you can teach your brain to react differently on a cruise ship. Actually, this is a process that happens naturally: over time, even people with severe sea sickness accommodate themselves to the situation and feel comfortable. But oftentimes this takes several weeks. If you’re on vacation, you probably don’t want to feel nauseous for several weeks – so with the help of hypnosis, you can help your brain to simply adapt quicker to this new situation.