But what exactly are the mechanics of this annoying sickness that I'm faced with every adventure I dare take? Actually, the vestibular system (or, the inner ear) plays an important role in deciphering the position of the body. The skeletal and muscular system along with our visual perception (all co-workers for the inner ear) are responsible for sending important informational signals back to the central nervous system to help coordinate our balance. The inner ear uses the mechanical force of gravity to determine our body position.
The first trick being that you always get to ride shotgun (you don't want to make a mess on your friend's car floor). Or better yet, be the driver because it's a lot harder to make yourself carsick than it is to be tousled around in the back seat smashed between your friends.
Get plenty of cool air whether that be putting the window down, cranking the AC up, or whatever it is you have to do to avoid roasting.
Try to stare at the horizon because focusing on objects off in the distance will help stabilize the dizziness. So looking down, reading, texting, organizing your cluttered purse should be the last thing on your mind if you're like me and are in a moving vehicle.
When traveling by air, do what ever possible to get a seat by the window and concentrate on distant objects instead of the plane jerking the passenger behind you into the back of your seat.
If these suggestions don't work, take some antiemetic meds like Meclizine before your travel. These tend to knock you out (especially after a glass of wine) so maybe take half the dose the first time.
Recent studies have suggested that continual exposure to motion sickness usually results in a decrease of symptom onset (3). This included adaptation training on simulation sickness and frankly these people are crazy. They analyzed the use of simulated rotary stimulation (SRS) on visually induced motion sickness. Also, the susceptibility of motion sickness may be genetically linked in a single nucleotide polymorphism of the alpha-2-adrenergic receptor. It was concluded that exposure to excessive rotation did decrease motion sickness symptoms, but whether it is an adaptation phenomenon is still in question. I have yet to agree with these findings and I hesitate to volunteer myself to physically induce such horrible symptoms (I'd rather take Dramamine as preventative measures than be keeled over the porcelain throne from sheer curiosity).
1. Terrie, Yvette C. "Motion Sickness: Calming the Waves of Upset." Pharmacy Times 74.5 (2008): 63-72
2. "Head maneuvers work best for common vertigo." Harvard Women's Health Watch 15.12 (2008): 4-5.
3. DOI: 10.1080/10508410802346921