Objective and subjective time courses of recovery from motion sickness assessed by repeated motion challenges

J Vestib Res. 1997 Nov-Dec;7(6):421-8.


The aim of this study was to determine whether the time course of recovery of tolerance, as assessed objectively by rechallenge with motion, paralleled the subjective recovery from motion sickness. Subjects (n = 20) were exposed to 5 pairs of nauseogenic motion challenges in which the time interval between the end of the first and the start of the second of each pair ranged from 15 min to 2 h. The cross-coupled motion challenge had an incrementing profile of rotational velocity from 4 degrees to 92 degrees.s-1 in steps of 4 degrees.s-1 every 30 s, with 8 head movements per 30 s, of approximately 45 degrees, and was continued to the point of moderate nausea. Objective loss of tolerance decreased from 15 min to 60 min after the first challenge, but increased again at 2 h. By contrast, most individuals reported subjective recovery by 15 min to 30 min. It was concluded that there is an underlying effect of motion sickness that sensitizes the response to subsequent motion for a period of at least 2 h. This underlying objective effect can occur in the absence of subjective symptoms, has a slower time course than the subjective recovery from symptoms, and appears to be non-monotonic.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Sickness / physiopathology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Rotation
  • Sensation
  • Time Factors