The Co-driver’s and Driver’s nightmare!

Motion sickness is both the passenger’s and driver's nightmare - for the person there is nothing worse than that feeling of nausea that envelops them, and then for the driver there is the frustration that strikes as they have to slow or stop to cater for their passengers health!!! Motion sickness stops many from doing things they would enjoy, and it hits people from different walks of life. Parents will talk about the anguish of going on trips with their family - because one member suffers car or motion sickness.

From a holistic point of view, there are several factors that can contribute to someone getting car sick, these are -

  • Low Blood Sugar - in brief this is caused by not eating regularly enough, or eating foods that are too high in sugar and do not give lasting energy. As our blood sugar drops a variety of symptoms can follow including - headaches, craving more sugar, getting lightheaded and this may progress to nausea and for some vomiting.
  • Poor Liver Function - nausea is frequently an indication that our liver is not working as well as it should. This is caused through our poor eating habits, poor bowel habits and too much alcohol.



Initially many people think that if they do not eat then they won't get sick. Not quite true. A fat filled, greasy meal of a hamburger, or pizza and chips, eaten two minutes before a fast ride in a car may make even those with cast iron stomachs a little green at the gills. But not eating doesn't help. When we don't eat our blood sugar levels drop and our energy drops, we also get light headed, put this together with a ride in a car travelling at speed and the result will often be nausea and motion sickness.


Always start the day with breakfast. You don't run your car without fuel, why should you run your body without fuel? Breakfast has to be light but also give you energy for the day ahead. Avoid a full breakfast of sausages and eggs or bacon and eggs, this is too rich for the body to cope with and will only cause problems later in the day!!!

What to have?

Whole grain toast with jam or vegemite, keep the butter very low or none at all. The fat in the butter will make the toast much harder to digest and will put the liver to a real test.

Cereals may be helpful but many are full of sugar and of little nutritional value. Porridge, or a home made muesli are possible exceptions, however adding milk to the cereal is not a good move. This makes the breakfast harder to digest and more inclined to be regurgitated. For those who do not like their cereal dry, you can use some fruit juice over your cereal (this is really yummy), or, muesli, nut or breakfast bars may be viable option. Fruit is also light and easy to digest, but if you have fruit for breakfast you will often have to have some more fruit one to two hours later.


During the rest of the day the solution is to eat little and often. Small snacks of food are the best way to go. Fruit is light and easily digested, bananas are especially good. Muesli bars give quick and fast acting energy, and they also have some whole grains in them so will give some lasting energy as well. Salad vegetables are easy to digest and reasonable in terms of giving energy. For those who want to eat sandwiches, it is best to go for something on whole grain bread and preferably without meat and/or cheese and only eat half a round at a time. Wholemeal muffins, rice cakes, ryvitas, crusketts, corn cakes or other crackers that are made of whole grains are another good snack choice. Organise frequent breaks for snacks, and getting out of the car and wandering around in fresh air will usually help as well.


Caffeine is disguised in many forms including coffee, tea, chocolate, guarana, iced coffee and choc milks, chocolate and cool drink. Caffeine intake increases our blood sugar and makes us feel more energetic, but this is only a short term solution, within 1 - 2 hours we are feeling tired and in need of more food and coffee. If we go longer without our next hit, our blood sugar drops and potentially nausea and car sickness may develop. Do not suddenly reduce your coffee intake, especially in the week before a rally. For those who normally drink a lot of coffee, going cold turkey is a quick way to produce headaches which can potentially develop into car sickness. When reducing coffee, it is best to reduce intake by a cup a week.

Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks are well known for making one burp. Do not consume any fizzy drinks during the rally, or in the hours preceding it as these may contribute to any feelings of nausea and unrest in the digestive system.



This is possibly the most common natural remedy used by those suffering motion sickness. Ginger traditionally is very good for the digestive system, it is calming and helps one digest food better. However ginger is also hot and warming, and many who suffer motion sickness take ginger on an empty stomach and then complain about it burning them. Ginger must be taken with some food and I would recommend that you try it first. It is no use trying it on a rally and then finding out that the burning feeling gives you heart burn and that you then feel sick!!!

Flower Essences

These are a liquid infusion of flowers that are taken internally and work at calming our systems and allowing us to cope more easily with stress. These are different to essential oils which must not be taken internally. Using these essences I have had wonderful results in treating others that had previously suffered from car sickness. I make up a mix for the person which is called Travel Well, using a combination of - Rescue Remedy - for relaxation, calming and allowing one to cope with stressful situations. Paw Paw - for helping one digest and integrate decisions and digest food. Elm - for feeling overwhelmed by everything. Clematis - for helping you feel stable and more grounded. To this mix I add some tissue salts, typically- Sodium sulphate - which assists the liver and digestion and helps with those who suffer from nausea. Potassium chloride - which helps us digest food better. Magnesium phosphate - which is a relaxant and helps one cope with any stress and tension. I also add some low dose herbs to help with nausea, digestion and stress and make these up in a liquid base that uses a small amount of brandy (a maximum of 5 ml in a 25 ml bottle) as a preservative, but for those that are concerned about alcohol I can make this up in water but the mix will not last as long as it has no preservative in it. This mix is best taken as 4 drops, under the tongue, about 3 - 4 times a day. Start taking 3 to 4 days before the rally begins and take as needed during the event. This mixture is quite safe, and will not cause any drowsiness, and will not affect any drug testing that may be done (for those who may be competing in sports). It is also impossible to overdose on this remedy. More will not necessarily improve the situation any further, just make no difference. You are better to take more often and it can be taken every 15 to 30 minutes if needed. Drops are taken direct under your tongue or can be placed in a water bottle.

What Else?

A glass of warm water with some lemon juice, first thing in the morning assists with digestion, liver function and also our cravings for sweet things. This is something that can easily become a regular part of life and not just used on trip or journey days. Remember to look up and look out the windscreen, if you are feeling nauseous the feeling will be accentuated by looking down and feeling trapped. Have the window open a little so you can get some fresh air in. Make sure you do not drive with recycled air on all the time, this will contribute to feelings of tiredness and can contribute to you feeling sick and nauseous. Also do not drink alcohol the day before your trip, this can leave you feeling thirsty - at the very least do not drink the night before and if possible for the week before the rally. Peppermint essential oil can be helpful to those who feel nauseous, put one to two drops on a tissue or handkerchief and sniff regularly. Finally if you have any ear trouble, please have it checked out as this can contribute to lack of balance and motion sickness, also the pain of earache can contribute to motion sickness. Please contact me at Caroline at Healing Solutions if you have any further queries.