Two female friends hugging

Hug It Out To Slow Down Aging

Have you heard of professional cuddlers? For about $60/hr, you can hire someone for a platonic cuddle up without the complications of a relationship. In fact, some of the services even offer cuddling parties. Sound a little creepy to you? Well, what if you found out that hugging can help to slow down the aging process? According to the University of California, Berkeley, people who don’t hug age faster. Ready to cash in your $60? Let’s look at the effects of oxytocin on the aging process.

The Love Hormone
Oxytocin is also known as the “love hormone” or “trust hormone, and it gets released when people let down their guard and participate in a good hug. As we age and get fewer hugs, the levels of the hormone drop and muscle loss are one of the major side effects. In fact, science shows that we lose five percent of muscle mass per decade once we reach our thirties. In the study at UC Berkeley, oxytocin was injected into older mice who were showing signs of aging and muscle loss. Within nine days of the injection, their muscle mass improved to within 80% of that of the younger mice. Wendy Cousins, coauthor of the Nature Communications study says, “This is good because it demonstrates that extra oxytocin boosts aged tissue stem cells without making muscle stem cells divide uncontrollably.”

Friends laughing

Oxytocin Increases Happiness
Paul Zak, PhD, hypothesized that there was a direct correlation between well-being and happiness and oxytocin, at least for women. To test his theory, he drew blood from 60 female college students after receiving a gift from a stranger of $24. The women were given the option of returning a portion of the money or keeping it. The women were also required to fill out a survey on their satisfaction with life. Results showed that women who showed a larger increase in oxytocin after receiving the money reported being more satisfied with life and were also more likely to share their money with the stranger. They also tended to be more trusting. According to Zak, “Those with higher oxytocin had more sex with fewer partners,” indicating a likelihood to form more long lasting relationships and be liked by others.

Oxytocin Increases Generosity
Another of Zak’s studies found that men treated with oxytocin were more likely to donate money after watching public service ads. Forty-one men were divided into two groups, one of which was given the hormone, and the other of which was given a placebo. They were then shown public service ads on topics such as smoking, drunk driving, and global warming. Zak says, “Those on placebo donated to 21% of the ads, those on oxytocin, 33%.” The men given the hormone donated 56% more money than those given the placebo.

Oxytocin and Social Anxiety
Researcher Jason Yee, PhD, says that oxytocin can help relieve anxiety in social situations. Prairie voles are known to form strong monogamous bonds. Yee exposed the animals to a brief period of stress, and then gave them oxycontin to reduce anxiety and compared the recovery from stress in the animals who recovered alone to those who recovered cuddling with another prairie vole. Yee found that those who were assigned a partner showed less anxiety, and were less likely to try to escape from their cage.

What do you think of professional huggers? Yay or nay? Let us know what you think about paying for hugs.

Woman exercising in the gym

The Importance Of Choosing An Exercise Routine You Enjoy

Looking for a long term love connection is serious business. After all, this is the person you’re thinking of spending the rest of your life with, waking up next to every day, allowing to see you without your makeup. These things can’t be taken lightly; you need to find someone for the long haul. The same can be said of your exercise routine. When it comes to your workout, you need to find something you can see yourself doing on a regular basis; something built around you. The last thing you need is another short-lived fling. Here are some ways to help you pick the right one when it comes to the long haul.

Determine Your Goals
Give yourself a routine that will get you where you want to go. You don’t need to run several miles a day if you’re not planning to run a marathon. Think in terms of what it will take to get you to where you will be healthy and comfortable.

Train Your Whole Person
People tend to get so focused on muscle development that they forget about coordination, breathing, and circulation, even though these are really more important for long term health. Make sure you keep your perspective on achieving larger goals as well as immediate ones.

Separating Weight Loss From Fitness
If you try to equate burning calories directly with weight loss, you may end up very frustrated. According to science, you need to burn off 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Good luck jogging for six hours. Unrealistic goals of burning off a certain number of calories may motivate you to take on routines that are too demanding and may not even accomplish your weight loss goals. A pure recipe for disaster when it comes to formulating a comfortable routine.

Friends working out together

Fit Your Schedule
Remember, exercise is supposed to reduce stress, not create it. If getting to the gym is a problem, exercise at home. if you don’t have two hours to devote toward exercise, a focused twenty-minute workout in the living room is better than an interminable hour or more at the gym. Exercise too boring? Find a buddy to workout with. It may provide the fun and motivation your need to keep at it.

Look for Something With More Than One Training Benefit
Western thinking is often categorical. It ends to separate workouts into categories. Some are done for strength, others for meditation, others for cardio. Eastern disciplines, such as yoga, are more focused on whole person development. You may find that a workout that engages your whole person, mind, body and nervous system, may be more rewarding and stimulating.

Do Something That Fits Into Your Life
There is no reason for extreme exercise unless you’re lifestyle demands it. You don’t need a heavy weight lifting program or intense cardio if you’re not planning to fight in the UFC. Remember, your main goal should always be to live a happy and healthy life.

Have you found the right one? Let us know your exercise love story. We love happy endings.

Woman holding energy drink

Energy Drinks May Zap Your Zing

Energy. Everyone wants more of it. In fact, if someone could put energy in a bottle and sell it, they would probably make a million dollars. Oh, wait, someone’s already tried it? Whenever you get a million dollar idea, you can be pretty sure that someone has already thought of it, and if that someone has access to the means of production, he or she has probably attempted to make it a reality – probably a lot of people. The only problem is, not all of these people are too concerned with what these products really do to the people who buy them. It’s no secret that energy drinks are big money, but are they really all they’re cracked up to be? Let’s take a closer look at the truth behind the can.

The Stats
Feel as if you’ve been hearing more lately about energy drink related visits to the emergency room? You’re not imagining things. Between 2007 and 2011, these visits doubled from an estimated 10,000 to 21,000 visits. According to a USC study of randomly sampled ER patients, a third of those who reported having consumed an energy drink suffered symptoms including everything from chest pain, to heart palpitations, to seizures. In addition, the FDA has received at least 15 reports of deaths related to the energy boosting beverages. Although there is no definitive proof linking the drinks with negative health reactions, Michael Jacobsen, PhD, says, “No one really knows how dangerous they are. They certainly raise a caution flag about drinking too much (caffeine) too quickly.” This “too quickly” may be related to the form of the drink itself. Says Jacobson, “Some contain large amounts of caffeine. And they’re consumed differently than coffee. Energy drinks are gulped, rather than sipped.”

Coffee beans

Caffeine Content
It may not surprise you to know that the active ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. What may surprise you, on the other hand, is the amount. While some brands stop at 50 milligrams, others pack in a whopping 215 mg. To break it down, an eight-ounce cup of Joe contains about 100 milligrams and most experts advise topping out at 400mg a day max. As if that wasn’t worrying enough, energy drink manufacturers are not required to list the amount of caffeine in their products unless it’s in the form of pure caffeine. That means, if the caffeine in the drink is added in the form of tea, coffee, or natural substances, such as guarana, the amount may not be on the can, and if it is, it may not be accurate.

How Do Energy Drinks Deliver?
Ok, so we know they might be dangerous to our health, but do energy drinks even do what they’re supposed to? While it may be true that caffeine can help to improve the clarity of thought and exercise endurance, as little as 1.5 mg per pound of body weight (2 cups for a person weighing in at 150) will do the trick and more does not make it better. Furthermore, according to a 2012 Nutrition Reviews report the energy drinks’ natural ingredients, like amino acids, vitamins, and botanicals do little to increase energy.

The Bottom Line
The overall verdict on energy drinks? Overall, when consumed in moderation, they are fairly safe. However, a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2013 Scientific Sessions found that downing these babies can raise systolic blood pressure by 3.5 points on average and can lead to irregular heartbeats which can be potentially fatal, especially if you have an underlying heart condition. So bottom line? Proceed with caution.

What do you think about energy drinks? Friend or foe? We want to get your take.

Woman with headphones on the bed

Add Pink Noise To Your Bedroom Routine

Let’s face it, everything is better in pink. If there are two cupcakes, one with white icing and one with pink, which one do you pick? Hostess snowballs? Definitely better in pink. If your Mom bought you and your sister notebooks, she had better have made sure both or neither were pink. Party dresses? Don’t even go there.

If you are familiar with white noise, you know it to be that pleasant buzzing that often occurs when the radio loses reception. It is often used in healthcare to block out noise caused by hearing impairments or as a sleep aid, but did you know about pink noise? Although it may sound like the latest psychedelic rock movement, pink noise is more accurately the latest proposed solution to sleep interruption. And, according to a recent study, it may actually help to improve memory as well.

Sound Stimulation and Sleep
According to recent research done at Northwestern University, when gentle sound stimulation is synced up to the rhythm of brain waves, it can not only lead to a better sleep in older adults, but can also improve their ability to remember specific words.

Why Deep Sleep Is important
Memory loss typically occurs throughout the process of aging; so does the gradual decrease in deep sleep. Scientists suspect a connection. Because deep sleep is a critical component in the consolidation of memory, it is believed that a reduction in one may be responsible for a reduction in the other. Therefore, scientists believe that using sound stimulation to induce deep sleep may be the solution to memory loss.

During deep sleep, brainwave production is reduced to a rate of one per second, quite a bit slower than the 10 oscillations that happen during the seconds when one is awake. Giovanni Santstasi, co-author of the study was able to create an algorithm capable of transmitting audio during the rising of slow wave oscillations, to boost the synchronization of neural activity.

Woman sleeping

The Study
The study was comprised of 13 individuals aged 60 and up recruited from Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. It targeted individuals suffering from low levels of sleep and memory loss.

The aim of the study was to monitor brain waves in individuals using a breakthrough audio system that can lock in audio stimulation at the moment when specific neuron communication occurs during deep sleep.

Participants were exposed to a night of acoustic stimulation followed by a night of false stimulation. The two stimulations were identical, except for the fact that the individuals did not hear noise in the false stimulation. Upon awakening, the subjects were given memory tests, with another set given the following morning.

Results
The study found that while memory recall ability rose by a couple of percentage points following the false stimulation, those who listened to the pink noise showed a vast increase in memory recall. In fact, those who were subjected to the acoustic stimulation showed three times as much improvement as their counterparts. These finding suggest that slow wave sleep can indeed have a significant impact on memory.

What Does This Mean?
For those suffering memory loss, the new is good. It suggests that there might be a way to safely improve memory without the use of expensive, side effect inducing medicine. “Pink noise” may offer a completely safe and simple alternative.

What do you think about the latest findings? Is pink the new white? Let us know!

Woman holding a basket of fresh fruits

Your Diet May Help Regulate Your Mood

Normally, eating when stressed is ill advised. The term usually brings to mind the image of someone who has just had some shocking news running frantically to their freezer in search of the curative pint of ice cream. He/she gorges greedily, only to awaken the next day not only to find their troubles still very much present, but an additional five pounds added to their body weight.

However, what if you learned that eating actually can relieve stress? You just need to make sure that when you open that freezer, you reach for the frozen grapes instead of the vanilla swirl.

The Anti-Stress Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
You may know that fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but did you know that they might also help to ease stress, anxiety, and depression. A recent study examined diet of 60,000 Australians aged 45 and up, only to reveal that those who had 3-4 servings of fruits and begins a day had 12% less psychological stress than those who had just one. Those who got five to seven servings had an even bigger reduction in stress, showing a 14% reduction as compared to the single serving percentage.

Ladies Only?
However, the researchers found that in a study based on a 10 question comparative survey focusing on anxiety and depression between the years of 2006 -2008 and 2010, males subjects did not show the same results. Says study co-author and University of Sidney PhD student, Binh Nguyen, “We found the fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables.” The questionnaire revealed that women who consumed 5 to 7 portions of vegetables and fruits experienced a 23% reaction in stress levels in comparison to ladies who only ate 0-1 portion. Two portions produced a reduction in stress of 16%.

Happy woman

More Work To Be Done
While you may not want to wait to start consuming more fruits and veggies, the authors of the studies do stipulate that there is more work to be done before any definite conclusions can be reached. They state that while the intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce the stress levels in middle-aged and older adults, the link between the diet and psychological distress requires further investigation.

Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
But while we wait for the final verdict, keep eating those veggies and fruits. The mental health charity “Mind” says, “Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy. Eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients-several portions of the same type of food won’t be so good for you.”

As for choosing the best fruits and veggies: tomatoes, bananas and mushrooms top the list for their high potassium levels which are “essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain. they also advise keeping fruits and veggies raw for the highest number of nutrients.

What do you think? Do fruits and veggies make you feel a little less stressed? Let us know the results of your private research.

Senior couple walking in the park

Tips For Starting A Summer Walking Routine

To some, high-intensity internal workouts are the most efficient way of exercising; to others, they are a bizarre three-minute self-torture ritual. Although at times it may seem like the world is being overtaken by the overachieving and impossibly healthy, there are some who still prefer to keep their exercise routines a bit more humane.

Most of us learn to walk by the time we’re eighteen months – so let’s talk about an exercise routine so easy that even a baby can do it. Here are some tips for beginning a summer walking routine.

How To Start
The first thing you need for walking is a good pair of shoes and some comfy clothes. Start out slow. Head out the door, walk for ten minutes and walk back. Repeat every day for a week. If you find yourself building stamina, add five minutes to next week’s walk. Keep increasing as is comfortable.

Posture
Keep good posture in mind when you walk. Walk tall. Keep your mind on elongating your body. Your head should be up, your eyes focused forward, Keep your shoulders down, relaxed and back, with your abdominal muscles and buttocks tight.

Preparation
Make sure to have water handy at all times. Be sure to get enough to drink before you walk, and take the water bottle along for mid walk hydration. Try adding stretches to your routine. For example, you might start at a slow pace and stop to do a few warm up drills for flexibility. Slow down your pace at the end of the walk and take some time for a few more stretches. This will help you to feel better while preventing injury.

Sticking with It
The toughest thing for most people starting a fitness routine is making it routine. You should try to walk daily, aiming for a minimum five days of exercise per week. Walk fast enough to increase your heart rate, but not so fast that you find yourself short of breath.

Three friends walking

How Much Should You Do?
Speed and distance should not be a priority in the beginning, but once the habit starts to stick, you may want to start developing goals. Here are some general health guidelines:

People walking for general health benefits should try and get in a half hour minimum each day, most days of the week, keeping to “talking pace,” or a comfortable pace at which you can still hold a conversation.

For improvement of cardiovascular fitness, three to four days a week are recommended, doing 20 to 30 minutes at a very fast pace. You will find your breathing is elevated, but you should not be gasping for air. Warming up and cooling down time should be additional to the time spent walking.

Those walking to lose weight should probably aim to do 45 to 60 minutes five days a week at a moderate to brisk rate. The faster you walk, the more calories you will burn. However, make sure to increase pace and mileage gradually to prevent injury.

Tips For Walking Faster
Once you become comfortable with your routine, you may want to speed it up a little. Here are some guidelines for walking faster:

  • Use good posture. Walk tall, keep your gaze forward, focused about 20 feet ahead of you, chin level and head up.
  • Your chest should be slightly raised with your shoulders down, back and relaxed.
  • Your arms should be bent at an angle slightly less severe than 90 degrees. Gently cup your hands and swing arms front to back. The faster you swing your arms, the faster your feet will go, but do not swing elbows higher than your breastbone.
  • Tighten abs and buttocks; keep back flat and pelvis slightly forward.
  • Visualize yourself walking in a straight line.Take smaller faster steps to go faster, trying not to elongate your stride.
  • Push off with your toes, concentrating on landing on your heel and rolling through the step. Use the spring of your calf to propel you.
  • Take deep rhythmic breaths to get the maximum amount of oxygen. Your breathing should be heightened, but not strained.

Have you started your summer exercise routine? How are you staying hot this summer? Let us know!

Woman with lower back pain

Embrace Massage For Lower Back Aches and Pain

According to the principles of yoga, the inner spirit, or kundalini, is symbolized as a coiled snake at the back of the spine. When it is awakened, the snake moves upward and a burning flame shoots through your chakra. Thus, if you practice holistic healing, lower back pain may be an indication that your root chakra is ungrounded. If you don’t subscribe to this philosophy, however, you may just think that your lower back really hurts.

Either way you look at it, a lot of people suffer from lower back pain and most can agree that massage is a good way to relieve it. But, how does the medical world weigh in on the possibility of massage as a real world treatment for chronic back pain? Read on to find out.

Benefits of Massage for Chronic Lower Back Pain
William Elder is the principle investigator of a recent study on the benefits of massage therapy for lower back pain. He says, ” Current medical guidelines actually recommend massage therapy prior to the use of opioid medications for lower back pain.Yet, even with those guidelines, physicians and nurse practitioners are not recommending massage therapy.”

Lower back pain is a common problem, but it usually goes away relatively quickly, However, for about 15 percent of sufferers, it can be a more long term problem. For long term sufferers, treatments generally include prescription opioid painkillers, exercise, behavioral changes, steroid injections, acupuncture, and surgery. Recently researchers have begun to explore massage as another possibility.

Woman having a massage

The study included over 100 volunteers paired with approved massage therapist who expertly assessed the patient’s problem and created a suitable treatment plan. The participants received ten treatments and were reevaluated after 12 weeks. Findings showed more than half of the volunteers had less pain after 12 weeks and continued to report a reduction in pain over the following three months. Said Elder, “The results are exciting because it shows that most doctors can refer their patients for massage as a treatment. It’s applicable in the real world.”

The Medical World
Dr Anders Cohen also believes in the possibility of massage as a solution for lower back pain. The neurosurgery chief at the Brooklyn Hospital recommends massage therapy to his patients as a part of his comprehensive treatment plan. “Massage is a great way to break up adhesions and is great for soft tissue, If the back pain is a soft tissue issue, such as muscles and ligaments, it works great. Plus there is the bonus of a therapeutic touch,” he says.

Tips for Effective Treatment
Study co-author Niki Munk give some advice for those seeking massage treatment for lower back pain. She advises that massage needs to occur regularly until a level of general comfort is achieved, and then patients can manage their back pain on a schedule that suits their needs. Munk recommends finding a therapist that you can develop a good relationship with. ” Chronic low back pain is a complex issue that can’t be cured from just a one-hour massage. Find a therapeutic massage clinic and asks questions about the therapist, such as their initial training and continuing education. Also, make sure the therapist sets up a treatment plan that works for you.”

What do you think of massage as a way of treating lower back pain? Let us know how powerful you think the power of massage can be.

Notebook with the word birth control written on it.

What's On The Horizon For Male Birth Control?

Birth control for men? In theory, it sounds great. Women have been bearing the burden of preventing pregnancy for decades, and not without some dangerous side effects. If your man says he wants to help you out when it comes to taking responsibility in the bedroom, it would seem that chivalry is not dead. But if your current Prince Charming is borrowing money for cigarettes from you, you may not want to leave important stuff in his hands.

Vasalgel, the latest form of male birth control, is the newest contraceptive innovation to hit the pharmaceutical industry. Here’s a breakdown of the ingenuity; use with discretion.

How Does It Work?
Vasalgel is the latest version of a technology called RISRUG, Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance, developed by Dr. Sujoy Guha in India. It is similar to a vasectomy, only rather than cutting the vas deferens, a polymer contraceptive gel is injected into the vas deferens. This contraceptive is designed to block sperm from passing through the tube. The process is reversible; the polymer can be flushed out with a second injection at any time.

Effectiveness Of The Gel
A press release from the Parsemus Foundation confirms Vasalgel to have proven effective in a study involving baboons. Three male primates were injected with the contraceptive and given free reign to 10 to 15 female baboons each. After a six-month trial period led to no impregnation, human trials have been set to begin next year. The Parsemus Foundation hopes to see the gel on the market for less than the cost of a flat screen TV.

Implications Of Use
Parsemus Foundations expect that the widespread use of Vasalgel could lead to a major reduction in unwanted pregnancies.The Guttmacher Institute reports the average cost of an abortion at $485, which “pose(s) a major financial burden for women seeking these services.” Vasalgel could provide an inexpensive option for avoiding this eventuality. In addition to avoiding unintended pregnancy, Vasalgel would provide an alternative to potentially dangerous female birth control.

Women in distraught while looking at her pregnancy test.

WomensHealth.Gov notes side effects of the birth control pill included high blood pressure, blood clots, irregular bleeding, nausea, depression, and an increased risk of heart disease. Methods, such as sponges and diaphragms, have been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and injections can cause bone loss or rips in the lining of the uterus. Vasalgel has, thus far, not been associated with any negative health effects for men.

Possible Barriers
Elaine Lissmer of the Paremus Foundation cites the “20-something or 30-something man, out on the dating market as the main target of this innovation. She blames the reluctance of pharmaceutical companies on the desire to “sell pills to men’s partners every month.” The foundation is relying on crowdfunding and donations to make this innovation available to the public.

What do you think? Would you be willing to give Vasalgel a try? Weigh in ladies and gentlemen. We want to know what you think.

Sign board that points to which direction you would like to go. Stressed or relaxed?

Healthy Alternatives For Relieving Stress and Anxiety

Why is it that being bad feels so good? What is it inside of us that make us want to relieve our weekly stress by engaging in self-destructive behavior? Sure, after toeing the line all week, wanting to engage in a bit of weekend mayhem is totally understandable, but when being bad starts feeling bad, that might be a signal that you need to find a healthy alternative.

If you’re finding yourself having more downs than ups, here are a few things you might want to try.

Mind Relaxing Activities
Okay, so writing doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend a weekend, but leaving yourself some time to write might make it a little more relaxing. Writing about the things that are bothering you can help to put them into perspective. Aim to write for about 10 to 15 minutes each day about stressful events and how they affect you. Tracking your stress can help to locate the cause of it and find better ways of dealing with it.

Let It Out
Not very emotional? Maybe that’s the problem. Let yourself cry, laugh, talk and express anger when you need to. Seek support from family, friends, counselors, and even members of the clergy who are willing to provide a sympathetic ear.

Enjoy Yourself
A lot of the time, we see enjoyable activities as a barrier to getting things accomplished, but sometimes, they are just what you need to help you relax. You might try engaging in a hobby, such as gardening, a creative activity, volunteer work, or even caring and playing with pets.

Women lying on a yoga mat.

 Focus On The Now

  • Mediate
    Meditation helps you to concentrate on things that are happening in the present, temporarily allowing you to release anxiety
    caused by thoughts about future goals and past mistakes. Meditation can be achieved by focussing on breathing. Mindful-based
    stress reduction is an especially effective form of meditation for coping with stress.
  • Guided Imagery
    Guided imagery is a way that helps you imagine yourself in a setting in which you feel calm and relaxed. Audiotapes, books and teachers can all help guide you through the process.

Relaxing Your Body

Couple sitting on the grass stretching.

Exercise
If you’re considering committing to a regular exercise routine, it may seem more likely to add to the chaos of the day than escape from it. However, exercise is one of the best ways to relief stress. If the daily workout is not for you, walking is a perfectly acceptable form of exercise, as are housecleaning and yard work. Even the briefest stretch can provide relief from muscle tension.

Techniques

  • Breathing exercises
    Engaging in roll breathing and other types of deep breathing can help to beat stress.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
    This is a way of reducing muscle tension by relaxing muscle groups separately.
  • Yoga, tai chi, qi gong
    These are all techniques which combine meditation with exercise. It may take some training to learn how to practice these effectively. Books and videos can help you to learn at home.

How are you relieving your stress healthily? Does it keep your bad behavior in check? Let us know how it’s working, or not working, for you.

Woman holding her head in the train

Don't Let Motion Sickness Get You Down

Planning a getaway this summer? Maybe you’re contemplating a little cruise on the Atlantic, a cross-country car trip, or maybe your plans involve a long international plane ride. You packed some snacks, put together a CD playlist, the kids have their iPod, and you even googled travel games on the computer in case the Wi-Fi goes out. You’ve done everything you can to make sure the trip goes off without a hitch. But, as they say, it’s all fun and games, until someone gets motion sickness.

What is Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness may go right up there with deja vu when it comes to examples of the human brain working in mysterious ways. While exact causes of the sickness, known medically as ketosis, are not fully understood, most experts agree that it occurs when the brain receives conflicting messages from different parts of the body that respond to motions. The sensory confusion creates dizziness, which activates the brain’s ‘vomiting control center,’ and the result of this is probably not going to be one of the more pleasant memories from your vacation.

Symptoms
The most common symptoms of motion sickness are; a general feeling of illness, nausea, vomiting, headache and sweating. Symptoms tend to go away after the movement stops.

Different medicines thrown on top of a table.

How Is It Treated?
If you want to prepare for motion sickness, you may want to put some pharmaceuticals on your packing list. Some of these medications require a prescription and should be taken before traveling for best results. The best medicines for reduction of nausea and vomiting are:

  • Scopolamine
    This comes in the form of a patch which can be placed behind the ear
  • Antiemetic
    This reduces nausea. Examples include ondansetron, or Zofran, and prochlorperazine, or Compazine.
  • Antihistamine
    Some antihistamines, like dimenhydrinate, Dramamine, and meclizine, Antivert or Bonine, relieve nausea, but they also may cause drowsiness.

If You Find Yourself in The Throes of Motion Sickness, You May Want To Try The Following:

  • Eat some dry soda crackers
  • Drink something clear and fizzy, like ginger ale
  • Get some fresh air
  • Lie down, or try not to move your head

Avoiding Motion System
Of course prevention is the best medication. If you know you are prone to motion sickness:

  • Keep your head as still as possible
  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before traveling
  • Avoid eating and drinking during short trips
  • Avoid strong smells and spicy foods

Couple in a car.

In The Car
If motion sickness hits you while you’re in a car, try and sit in the front seat and avoid reading and watching TV.

In A Plane
If the plane travel triggers your motion sickness, eat small easy to digest meals before and during a long flight to reduce nausea and vomiting and request a seat near the wings.

On A Ship
Sea sickness is the most common form of seasickness. If you’re planning sea travel, your best strategy is to book a cabin near the middle of the ship near the waterline. Try and sit in the middle of the boat, get as much fresh air as possible and keep your eyes focussed on a fixed point on the horizon.

Other Methods
You may hear of the efficacy of taking powdered ginger capsules or wearing acupressure wristbands to prevent motion sickness. Although they are safe to use, there is no evidence of their helpfulness.

Do you suffer motion sickness? Let us know what you do to prevent it from turning your dream destination into a travel nightmare.