Sea sickness


Sea sicknessSea sickness has had a share of my attention for many years. The basis upon which my study was begun was as follows: I made ship trips on the Californian coast for years. On some of my trips on the sea, at some occasions I suffered from sea sickness. I got dizzy and suffered a decided motion-sickness.

Upon this limited, but sufficient basis of experience, supplemented by data personally obtained from many individuals, and from the scanty and crude literature of the subject, is founded almost all of what this site contains on the causes of seasickness, and the conditions and manner of their operation, - in medical parlance, the etiology of seasickness.

When, after four years of slow growth, the etiology had assumed the form in which it is now presented, I determined to go to sea for a more varied, extensive and fresher experience and to test my conclusions, but chiefly to observe the seasickness symptoms and treatment, get their signification, and try to see if sea-sickness might be avoided more or less completely, with the assistance of an understanding of its etiology.

What the following pages contain on cruise sea-sickness, was developed during the years at sea. Had i not been seasick in all stages during my trips, this practical study would not have been a fruitful one. The practical outcome of the whole affair is that the intensity, violence or severity of seasickness can be reduced in any individual case to at least one-tenth of what it is without management.

References to authorities will show to what extent I am under obligations to them for data. I have appropriated no one's theories: I have had no use for them. Nor do I owe any theory of my own to anything suggested in the literature of sea-sickness. True, there are outcroppings, here and there, of very crude and crudely expressed ideas, which might have led to what I have presented on disturbances of muscular adjustments, vascular disturbances, and optical vertigo symptoms.

But, as it was only after my second year of study that I began to read what there was on the subject, I had on these several topics proceeded nearly to their present stage of development, and therefore derived nothing from these outcroppings, which were generally but little more than arbitrary statements of belief without support of reason.

The senses, no doubt, had often much to do with sea sickness; but, certainly, not always; persons had been awakened from sleep by the occurrence of sickness. Fear was not always present: the most courageous persons frequently suffering from sickness. It was well known that Nelson, who 'never knew fear,' was incapable, for many days, of leaving his berth from sickness, and Sir John Franklin was never able to take charge of his ship until he had passed the Bay of Biscay.

He believed that the cause of sea sickness existed primarily in the heart, an irregular action being produced in that organ, like that arising from concussion of the brain. The consequence was that the brain did not receive a sufficient supply of the circulating fluid, and the phenomena of sea-sickness were produced. This was proved to be the fact, also, from the circumstance of the recumbent position in some measure preventing the sickness, the circulation in the brain being then more powerful. In syncope we placed persons in the recumbent posture to obtain. this latter result. He believed that the circulation was primarily affected, but the subject of sea-sickness was involved in great obscurity.

Another seaman thought that the sickness arose from some impression made on the brain, and probably through the medium of the circulation. If he remembered an instance in which some old seamen, part of a ship's crew, after rowing in a small boat for several hours, became very sick. These men were never sick when exposed to the inotion of the ship to which they were habituated. He thought that the sudden pitching of the vessel must have considerable influence in deranging the circulation, which affecting the brain, the stomach also became disordered. Secondary causes came in to hasten or to increase the effects."