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Old 02-26-2013
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Motion Sickness -- And Now For Something Completely Different!

0We have discussed motion sickness to death here on Sailnet. I'll bet you think you've mined everything there is to know about it. So did I, until I recently attended a talk by Dr. Patricia S. Cowings, of NASA as she discussed her research and the practical application of Autogenic Feedback to address motion sickness. No drugs, no side effects!

Dr. Pat, as her friends call her, has worked for NASA her entire career (joined due to interest in Star Trek). A true pioneer, she was NASA's first female astronaut. She got involved at just the right time when NASA was broadening its job descriptions for astronauts because of all the tasks to be performed on the Space Transporation System (i.e. the Space Shuttles). She was the backup for Sally Ride. She has won a pot full of awards over the years.

Dr. Pat is only the latest of a long line of researchers in biofeedback, but I suspect she's the first person to move it out of the lab and design a practical use for it. She designed AFTE (Autogenic Feedback Training Exercises), a training program that addresses space sickness effectively. I was particularly interested since it works for every variation of motion sickness including the infamous Mal de Mer we boaters suffer with from time to time. You can see a 5 minute form (excerpted from a 50 minute talk) of her talk here:

What surprised me most was her study comparing the AFTE to drug treatment and a control group who took placebos. AFTE was much more effective both immediately and long term. And apparently it is like riding a bike -- once learned, never forgotten. AFTE skills may become rusty through disuse but they quickly come back with practice. Those trained can also use it to reduce or increase blood pressure too -- if you suffer from fainting or hypertension, wouldn't it be a great thing to know?

Sadly AFTE is not widely available and, being NASA training, is quite expensive. However, if you can pay she offers it to anyone (apparently offering it is a government requirement for taxpayer-funded training). Alas! Wouldn't you just love to spend a week in her lab? I think it would be worth the suffering!

Tom
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Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Motion Sickness -- And Now For Something Completely Different!

Sorry, Tom. There's nothing new there except the acronym she stuck on it. Biofeedback, yoga, hypnosis, have all been used effectively to treat seasickness and a single $100 hypotherapy session may be all you need. Or, a $30 hypnotherapy tape.

IF it is going to work for you. Like every other cure, none of the "mental" ones works for everyone.

Of course, a true zen master can simply calm the seas so the boat ain't rockin'. (VBG)
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Old 03-03-2013
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Re: Motion Sickness -- And Now For Something Completely Different!

I read somewhere that the only cure for sea sickness is to sit under a tree.
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Re: Motion Sickness -- And Now For Something Completely Different!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Sorry, Tom. There's nothing new there except the acronym she stuck on it. Biofeedback, yoga, hypnosis, have all been used effectively to treat seasickness and a single $100 hypotherapy session may be all you need. Or, a $30 hypnotherapy tape.

IF it is going to work for you. Like every other cure, none of the "mental" ones works for everyone.
Interesting, hellosailor, and thanks for the info. You are clearly more knowledgeable about it than I. The last I checked on biofeedback (which admittedly was in the '90s) it was "fringe medicine" stuff, if you could find it at all. You make it sound like it is more mainstream now, like acupuncture is. I wonder if I could I, say, get a referral from my GP to it as he does for acupuncture? I'll have to ask.

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Re: Motion Sickness -- And Now For Something Completely Different!

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Originally Posted by norahs arc View Post
I read somewhere that the only cure for sea sickness is to sit under a tree.
Or have a boat enough to have its own tree and I don't think a bonsai would count because you could not sit under it.
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Re: Motion Sickness -- And Now For Something Completely Different!

Tom, biofeedback is recognized and mainstream, and accupuncture recognized if your GP deals with "alternative" medicines. Whether the GP recognizes them and will write you a referral, depends on the GP and your insurer. But you can certainly find mainstream practitioners that deal in them, have dealt with them 20 years and more now. I have a friend who was doing biofeedback training (not for motion sickness) at the NIH 25 years ago.

As NASA says, everything doesn't work for everyone, but something does work for almost everyone. You just have to aggressively try out all the options.

Except the stuff that you dab behind the ear, that's just snakeoil. Or, self-hypnosis.
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