Diaphragmatic Breathing and Its Effectiveness for the Management of Motion Sickness

This article reports on a study that investigated the possible role of diaphragmatic breathing in reducing the unpleasant symptoms of motion sickness. The authors note that controlled breathing has been shown to maximize parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) tone and thus may have the ability to decrease motion sickness symptoms. The authors randomly assigned participants (n = 43) who were susceptible to motion sickness to either an experimental group trained in slow diaphragmatic breathing (DB) or a control group breathing naturally at a normal pace. The training was accomplished using a digital video that helped participants pace their diaphragmatic breathing at six breaths/minute. During the study, subjects participated in a virtual reality (VR) experience of a boat in rough seas for 10 min. Motion sickness ratings along with heart rate and respiration rate were collected before, during, and after the VR experience. The study found that the experimental group was able to decrease their breathing to eight breaths/min during the VR experience. This breathing rate was significantly slower than those in the control group. The DB subjects also displayed significantly greater heart rate variability and reported feeling less motion sickness during exposure to the VR experience than those in the control group. The authors conclude that the slow DB breathing technique may well be a useful nonpharmacological method for controlling seasickness conditions.


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  • Accession Number: 01573447
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 14 2015 2:06PM