Aikido, and Coping with Vertigo and Balance Disorders

This is an interesting article, and a good introduction to vertigo, balance issues, and vestibular disorders.

My vertigo (BPPV) has improved a lot since I started training in Aikido. The vigorous movement in all directions seems to be therapeutic—maybe it keeps those canaliths loosened up in my inner ears.

“Dr. Stoffregen rejects the theory, which, he says, fails to explain why women are more prone to motion sickness than men or why it’s harder to stomach being a passenger than a driver. He argues that humans become nauseated in situations where they have not yet learned strategies effective in maintaining a stable posture.”

Peter Andrey Smith
From his New York Times blog post, Rethinking Motion Sickness

While I don’t get attacks of vertigo as often as I used to, before I started training, I know from personal experience that when my inner ear gets screwed up, I’m in trouble. Walking can be challenging, and sometimes I’ve not even been able to stand. The balance skills I’ve learned in Aikido—having a stable base and strong posture—are probably a big part of making vertigo less of a problem for me.

And I suppose if all that fails, I can put my safe falling skills to the test!