What Causes a Persistent Sensation of Motion Boating All Day and How Do You Cure the Balance Disorder?

What Causes a Persistent Sensation of Motion Boating All Day and How Do You Cure the Balance Disorder?

A few unfortunate people experience persistent symptoms lasting months or even years.

This is known as mal de debarquement syndrome. Exactly why their symptoms persist so long isn’t understood, but they can be treated.

Sailing isn’t the only activity that causes illusory motion after-effects.

Overnight rail passengers sometimes say they can feel the “clickety-clack” of the track in their legs after they leave the train. And astronauts returning to Earth commonly experience vertigo, nausea, difficulty walking, and sensory flashbacks.

The longer one is exposed to the unfamiliar motion, the more prominent and long-lasting are the after-effects.

In order for you to estimate your location, your brain combines information from a variety of sources, including sight, touch, joint position, the inner ear, and its internal expectations.

Under most circumstances, the senses and internal expectations all agree. When they disagree, there is imprecision and ambiguity about motion estimation, which can result in loss of balance and motion sickness.

On boats, seasickness may develop because of conflict between sensory input and internal expectations about motion. Developing “sea legs” is nature’s cure for seasickness.

You become accustomed to anticipating the boat’s movements and prepare to adjust your posture accordingly.

When you finally go ashore, you may feel your body continuing to do this for hours or even days afterwards, making it seem as if the room is moving and sometimes even leading to nausea.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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