Growing up, I was the little kid, green at the gills, crying at the Illinois State Fair. While the rest of my family rode the rides, I stood still, usually facing away from anything that moved. I suffer from vertigo and motion sickness. I never know when it will strike, and it can be quite awful.
I have tried everything: protein loading; ginger; pills of all kinds; getting up certain ways; lying down other ways; stretchy, tight elastic wristlets; and other well-intended suggestions from folks who have never suffered from motion sickness.
When the Mid-Illini Sail & Power Squadron came up with the idea of chartering sailboats in the British Virgin Islands, I knew I had to find something to help. A week of debilitating motion sickness would ruin our trip, and I wasn’t about to tell my husband we couldn’t go.
After much investigation, I discovered the Reliefband made by Neurowave Medical Technologies in Chicago, Illinois, a watch-like device you wear on your inner wrist. It runs on a battery and sends electronically programmed pulses through your body, designed to reduce nausea.
I ordered it online, and after it arrived I read everything in the pamphlet and on the box before testing it. I put it on and went for a ride in a hilly area on an empty stomach with my husband driving, a combination that usually makes me nauseated. I dialed the Reliefband up to one and felt a soft tingling in my wrist and hand (similar to the feeling when your hand goes to sleep, but less strong). I experienced no motion sickness. Hallelujah!
I seem to fly very well, so I didn’t use it on our flights going to the BVIs. As soon as we left the marina on our sailboat, I went belowdecks to retrieve my sunglasses and instantly got dizzy. So dizzy that I walked into two walls trying to find the travel bag that had my Reliefband in it.
Too dizzy to put it on, I stumbled up the steps and had our boat mate help me.
One thing I learned quickly: Put that thing on and leave it on! I should have been proactive and had it on as soon as I stepped on our boat. Once you become dizzy and sick, the Reliefband doesn’t work as well.
With my Reliefband on, I felt confident in the island waters of the BVIs. On day four, I woke up in the middle of the night, seasick. The boat was swinging and swaying in the wind. I had never dialed the Reliefband up past one but realized it was time to punch it up to two. Thankfully, I was able to sleep again.
Morning came quickly and with daylight, I could see the 8- to 9-foot waves and feel the 27- to 30-knot winds. I started to feel sick again, so I dialed the Reliefband up to three. That did the trick. For the rest of the day, we rocked and rolled along. I held on tight, got sea sprayed and had a great time. Success!
I highly recommend this wonderful device. You can go to reliefband.com and learn how it works and how many hours you can expect it to last.
I wear the Reliefband while taking sailing lessons from my husband on Clinton Lake. I take it on car trips and train rides too.
One of these days, I’ll head to the Illinois State Fair to put it to the ultimate test on those carnival rides.
Debbie Yeagle, a proud member of Mid-Illini Sail & Power Squadron/20, volunteers as social director for the Clinton Lake Sailing Association. She enjoys traveling and taking sailing lessons from her husband, Thomas.