Land Sickness: What You Need To Know About This Condition

What is land sickness?

Land Sickness – If there is seasickness, people can also experience land sickness, and here is the explanation for this.

Seasickness is what people experience when their bodies grow accustomed to a boat’s motion patterns. This makes them feel unsteady and nauseated. However, when it comes to land sickness, the opposite happens.

Based on the article in Mental Floss, the first mention of land sickness was from Erasmus Darwin in 1796. What he wrote was the definition of this condition.

land sickness
Conway Medical Center

Those, who have been upon the water in a boat or ship so long, that they have acquired the necessary habits of motion upon that unstable element, at their return on land frequently think in their reveries, or between sleeping and waking, that they observe the room, they sit in, or some of its furniture, to librate like the motion of the vessel. This I have experienced myself, and have been told, that after long voyages, it is some time before these ideas entirely vanish.” 

Based on what Darwin’s writings, this condition occurs after someone has been out at sea for an extended trip. On the other hand, the amount of time on the water doesn’t necessarily correlate to the severity of their symptoms.

Aside from boats, a person can also feel this condition after riding on airplanes and trains which can cause a sense of imbalance and unease. Based on records, between 43 and 73 percent of people experience this condition. It can happen to anyone but records show that women from the age of 30 to 60 are more prone to have this. Those who experience migraine are more susceptible to it.

The cause of this condition is still unknown. The leading theory states that consistent motion disrupts a person’s vestibular system which is located in the inner ear. It helps people stay balanced and maintains your awareness of your body’s position in space.

When the body has prolonged exposure to a wave-like motion, the body is typically able to adapt to the new environment and will become accustomed to the continual rocking movement. Then, if the motion stops, a person’s brain may continue reading the environment like the waves are still rolling.

With this conflicting sensory information, the body is having confusion. This disrupts the vestibular system and makes a person prone to feeling nauseated, unsteady, and generally unwell. The condition is perceived to end after a person has spent a few days on land. However, there were records stating that the condition lasted for months or even years.

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