Rocking and Rolling - A Case Study of Mal de Debarquement

22 January 2010 3 comments

I love Rock and Roll.  Who doesn't?  But for some people, Rocking and Rolling represents their ability to be ill constantly, to not be able to see straight and to not get anything done.

Ok, I am not talking about Keith Moon.  

I am talking about a condition called "Mal de Debarquement", "Disembarkment Syndrome" -- a syndrome characterized by the constant sensation of rocking and rolling and though one is at sea.

This condition, actually thought of as an inner ear disturbance, remarkable abates during movement, in a car, plane, boat, walking, etc.  It is only when one is still when one has difficulty.

Symptoms from Wikipedia:

"a persistent sensation of motion usually described as rocking, swaying, or bobbing; difficulty maintaining balance; extreme fatigue; and difficulty concentrating ("brain fog"). Other common symptoms include dizziness, visual disturbances (such as seeing motion, inability to focus etc.), headaches and/or migraine headaches, confusion, and anxiety. Many patients also describe ear symptoms such as hyperacusistinnitus, "fullness", pain, or even decreased hearing. Cognitive impairment ("brain fog") includes an inability to recall words, short term memory loss, and an inability to multi-task."

Two months ago a 15-year old young woman came to my office.  She had the constant sensation of rocking, rocking and rolling, as though she were at sea.  It had been going on almost two years, sometimes accompanied by nausea and sometimes by dizziness...but every time she was still, the experienced the rocking and rolling.   She could not concentrate even to do her schoolwork -- and she was beginning to look towards college.

She had not traveled recently and her neurologist (and her parents) were unable to draw a link between any past travel and the onset of her symptoms.  Her neurologist pronounced "spontaneous onset".

Her mom asked me if I could help.  I told her "yes".

Upon evaluation, I noted that she was deficient in the pulses corresponding with the Yin of the Kidney channel.   I also noted from pulse and tongue diagnosis that her Heart Yin was deficient.

Acupuncture was administered to strengthen the Kidneys, the Yin, and to settle the heat of the Heart.

She saw me weekly for five weeks, then a few weeks off...then two more weekly treatments.

After the second treatment, she reported that she was 10% improved.  After one month she had longer periods when she was able to read and focus in school.

She began to smile.

This morning she reported that she has no major rocking and rolling to speak of this week.

Except of course --

Whatever it is that 15-year olds listen to these days.


  • Anonymous said...

    Sure wish your treatment worked for everyone. I spent two years with a certified accupucturist and am still rocking and rolling. For your future information MdDS is thought to be brain based and not inner based.

    Glad you can report a success, it gives others hope. You might want to visit

  • Unknown said...

    Sorry that you were not able to get relief. I hope that you will be able to find help. Please note that current Western science has several theories on what causes this syndrome. Some say that it is caused by an inner ear disorder and some say it is brain-based.
    Thanks for reading and for commenting!


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