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Tips for dealing with VR sickness

Published: 19:15, 18 March 2020
Updated: 20:06, 18 March 2020
Oculus
Oculus Go

VR sickness is real and players who would like to enjoy some great titles like the already-proven Beat Saber or the most anticipated VR title in recent months, Half-Life: Alyx, may be stopped in their tracks. Here are a few ways to deal with this issue.

VR sickness shares many traits with motion sickness and can usually be treated the same way. As you will find from the suggestions below, getting it and getting over it tends to go the same way.

Get VR legs (build tolerance)

Asking about ways to overcome VR sickness usually leads to the best but also the least helpful advice - build a tolerance. It is the only way to enjoy VR long-term and the journey may not be easy.

Technically, this is an oxymoron since advice can't be best if it's not helpful but this is an odd situation where simply telling someone to build tolerance is not really useful. What a person like that is probably asking for are the ways to build the aforementioned tolerance. Here are a few.

Know when to stop

Just because you are building tolerance does not mean you need to puke your way throughout the journey. It is usually recommended to stop playing when you start feeling nauseous. 

Not playing until the next day will be the right course of action initially but as you build up a tolerance, you will be able to just close your eyes until nausea passes, without even having to quit the game. 

If closing eyes doesn't work, you have no choice but to stop. It's better to have a pause until you feel better than to puke and go through torment since VR headsets will immediately remind you of the experience in the future, possibly making things worse in the long run.

Once again, do not try to push through nausea! Take a pause when you feel it, however long it may need to be.

Ginger-based treatments

Just like with motion sickness, ginger works well against nausea. It's up to you to decide whether you want to use ginger root itself, tea or pills made from it. Don't overdo it though and follow the rules of consumption.

Ginger can be used preemptively too so find what works better - consuming it before the VR session or during a pause that was caused by nausea.

Motion sickness drugs

Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) is a popular treatment for motion sickness and nausea, making it seemingly perfect for the situation. Even though it's OTC, it's still a drug and you should ask yourself whether it's worth it beforehand.

Valve VR character getting arrested in Half-Life: Alyx VR Sickness police in action

Try standing or sitting

Not everyone's organism reacts the same to VR, even in the group that gets nauseous from it. There are reports of players getting the sickness while sitting while others reported it happening while standing. 

In case sitting is not right for you, it's possible that your brain will get tricked when you stand up. Some players reported that it feels more natural this way as the point of view in most games is adjusted to simulate a standing person.

On the opposite side, some players are not comfortable when standing up. Sitting down may help relax the body and possibly reduce nausea.

Fresh air

If you ever got nauseous in a car or any other vehicle, you probably remember that you instinctively sought fresh air. It may have helped before or after puking but it eventually helped regardless.

It appears that such a method also works with VR sickness so make sure you create a flow of fresh air in your room, be it from a draft, air conditioner, fan or a simple open window.

Sea-bands!

No, we are not talking about a Criss Angel-inspired rock band that plays on the water's surface. Sea-bands are basically wristbands that help against nausea by applying pressure to certain points on your arms. Some players reported this method helped them bypass the VR sickness to the point of having grown bona fide VR legs.

Be patient

Building a tolerance can take anywhere from mere hours to several weeks. Don't rush it, don't push through nausea and patiently practice for your VR legs. All the advice above this one should help alleviate the troubles but they can't cure them on their own. It is your body and it's ultimately your approach that will decide if, or rather when you will overcome VR sickness.

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