Effect of breathing supplemental oxygen on motion sickness in healthy adults

Mayo Clin Proc. 2003 May;78(5):574-8. doi: 10.4065/78.5.574.


Objective: To compare the effects of breathing supplemental oxygen vs air on alleviating motion sickness in healthy adults.

Subjects and methods: Between April and July 2002, 20 healthy subjects were exposed to a provocative motion on 2 occasions (1-week interval) according to a randomized, counterbalanced, crossover design. During motion, subjects rated their nausea (1, no symptoms, to 4, moderate nausea) every 30 seconds. Once mild nausea occurred, subjects began breathing supplemental oxygen or air through a face mask. Motion ceased when moderate nausea occurred, but subjects continued breathing study gases for 5 minutes while recovering. Recovery was assessed for 20 minutes after motion.

Results: There were no significant differences in the rate of increase in symptom severity or the rate of recovery between the 2 conditions.

Conclusion: Breathing supplemental oxygen had no advantage over breathing air in reducing motion sickness in healthy adults.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motion Sickness / physiopathology
  • Motion Sickness / prevention & control
  • Motion Sickness / therapy*
  • Nausea / etiology
  • Nausea / therapy*
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage*
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy*
  • Reference Values
  • Respiration
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Oxygen