When I was a kid, I wasn’t afraid of motion. Spinning, twirling, rolling – I could do it all. The only times I can remember having an issue with motion sickness were when I attempted to read in the backseat of a moving car, so I learned pretty early on to avoid combining books and vehicles. But I loved amusement park rides, doing underwater cartwheels, and never thought twice about any kind of motion.
In my early twenties, things changed. Suddenly I began feeling nauseous when exposed to sudden motion. Not only was I ill when reading in a car, but even just riding in a backseat caused issues. Amusement park rides were out for good, unless it was a rollercoaster moving steadily ahead with no loops or backwards motion. I couldn’t even take my kids on a carousel when they were too small to go on by themselves, or I would feel dizzy and sick for hours afterward. My husband was, by necessity, our ‘go to’ carousel rider.
Over the years I’ve learned to avoid motion where I can. I sit out on rides at amusement parks and instead take pictures of my kids having a blast. I do my best to sit at the front of buses on field trips or ride shotgun whenever I can during carpools. Sometimes I’m still taken by surprise as during a holiday party last month when I realized about 30 seconds into the planetarium show that I would have to keep my eyes closed the whole time. Virtual reality rides or games are an absolute no for me. I know there are options that could help, but I hate the idea of taking medication, plus I don’t always have time to wait for it to take effect.
For the most part, my kids do ok when it comes to motion sickness, although my 14-year-old has always struggled on long car trips, especially ones full of hills and/or curves. She doesn’t throw up, but her stomach hurts (sometimes greatly) and we end up having to make a lot of stops for her stomach to settle. She can’t read in the car at all either. We’ve tried over-the-counter medication for her, but it doesn’t seem to help, at least not enough.
What is Reliefband
Recently I was sent a sample of a wearable product that helps with nausea from motion, morning sickness or VR gaming. The Reliefband is FDA-cleared and easy to use. According to the website, it takes effect in just minutes, without the side effects or delays from medications.
The Reliefband is worn on the inner portion of the wrist and works by, “Neuromodulation: Reliefband Neurowave proprietary technology uses the body’s natural neural pathways to regulate the mechanisms causing nausea & vomiting”. When you turn on the Reliefband, it emits gentle pulses to the body’s P6 pressure point. “These intermittent signals modulate the body’s natural neural pathways and block the sensation of nausea”. There are five settings so you can adjust the Reliefband to work for what your body needs at any particular time.
Here’s my take on Reliefband
It’s strange – I’m so used to avoiding motion, that it was difficult to figure out a way to test the Reliefband. I should have taken it with me to the Detroit Auto Show – I watched another blogger try hers out on a virtual reality ride put on by the Ford Motor Company in their booth. I skipped the ride as usual, but sympathized with friends who had tried it out (with no motion sickness remedy) and felt ill for hours afterward. The Reliefband did seem to help the other blogger, but I absolutely still wanted to try it out for myself.
The first time I put on the Reliefband was at home, so that I could make sure I was using it correctly. It is very easy to use, but one important step to remember is to apply the included conductivity gel to the wrist before putting on the Reliefband. This is to both hydrate the skin with electrolytes and to make sure the Reliefband is in the correct position and stimulates the median nerve correctly. The gel feels similar to what’s used during an ultrasound – it’s very easy to apply and to wipe off afterward.
The Reliefband comes with instructions to make sure that the device is positioned correctly on your wrist and those were easy to follow. The strap has plenty of room and fit on my wrist easily. I made sure it was tight enough to not slip, especially while moving around. And then I turned on the Reliefband to both test the location and see how it felt.
There are five settings, that increase the level of relief as you go up. On the first two settings I couldn’t really feel much in my wrist or hand, but as I moved up into the higher settings I definitely felt a stronger pulsating tingle that went through my wrist where the Reliefband was positioned and through the center of my palm into my middle finger. The tingle was stronger when my hand was relaxed or in a fist and less when I stretched my hand out straight. It wasn’t painful – just a strange feeling.
The next step was to test out whether the Reliefband helped with motion sickness. Although we were headed out on a road trip, my daughter was not willing to try reading in the car, even with the Reliefband, because she didn’t want to take the chance that it wouldn’t help and that she would feel ill for the rest of our journey. She wanted me to be the first one to try it. So, I did – not having any amusement park or virtual motion rides handy, I tried a few things at home that usually would have me feeling dizzy and ill. I twirled in a circle, sat in our recliner and spun, and then also wore the Reliefband while riding as a passenger and looking at my phone as my husband drove our van. For each of these, I began with the Reliefband on a low setting and turned it up if/as necessary.
Does the Reliefband help?
I felt a definite difference on the first two tests, while twirling and spinning. Admittedly, I did each of these actions for only a minute or two, so I wasn’t really feeling very ill before turning on the Reliefband, but where I would normally feel sick for a while afterward, I felt fine almost immediately and had no ill effects after stopping.
The bigger test was using the Reliefband in the car, especially while looking at my phone. This is generally a big no-no for me, which can be frustrating for my husband, especially if he needs me to look something up or help navigate while we’re out and about. The Reliefband definitely helped a lot – my stomach was fine.
I’ve also used the Reliefband at the carousel in our local mall, and was able to ride along with my youngest daughter with no ill effects at all. She may be old enough now that I’m not required to ride with her anymore, but I’m definitely thrilled to have the option! I can’t wait to try out the Reliefband on more rides this summer.
Tips for Using Reliefband
Here are a few quick tips that I’ve figured out while using my Reliefband:
- I’ve used the Reliefband with a small amount of gel and also after using a much more generous amount. There was a definite difference in the amount of tingling I felt in my hand – when I used more gel, I couldn’t even feel anything at the two lowest levels, whereas when I used less gel, I could feel the tingling even at the lowest level and it got very uncomfortable above level three.
- After you’ve stopped moving (or watching VR or whatever else you’re doing that caused the motion sickess), you turn off the Reliefband.
- Keep the Reliefband strap as tight as you can manage so that it doesn’t shift around while you’re in motion. You want to make sure that it stays at the correct location on your wrist to ensure that it’s working for you.
A few things to know about Reliefband
I have a contact skin allergy to most metals – basically if I wear anything other than real gold or sterling silver against my skin, it breaks out in a green, itchy rash. Even the tiny metal clasp pin on a leather watchband will be uncomfortable if worn too tightly. Given that the back side of the Reliefband is metal and it has a metal clasp, I’m not sure how long I could wear it before having to worry about my allergy. Although the conductivity gel does sit between the metal back and my skin, the clasp may be an issue if I need to wear the Reliefband for an extended period of time, especially since I need to wear it fairly tightly. For most (quick) uses I don’t see this being a problem.
The Reliefband comes with a small tube (.25 fl. oz.) of the conductivity gel, but you need to buy extra if you’re going to use the Reliefband a lot. You can purchase a larger tube of the gel for $14.99 (as of January 2017) on their website at http://www.reliefband.com/buy-now/.
I received a Reliefband for the purposes of review. As always, all opinions stated here are either solely my own or those of my family.