Hundreds of Japanese Suffering from “Earthquake Sickness”

Hundreds of Japanese Suffering from Earthquake Sickness

Two months ago there were two major earthquakes that struck the city of Kumamoto, Japan on the southern island of Kyushu. One was a magnitude 6.4 and the very next day a massive magnitude 7.1 quake struck the same region. 50 people were killed and several thousand injured. Now, two months later, more than 200 people have been diagnosed with dizziness following the disaster in a condition known as “jishin-yoi” meaning “earthquake drunk”.

Kumamoto Earthquake

With this earthquake sickness, people feel dizziness and feel like they are experiencing an earthquake. It makes them them lose balance much like motion sickness. They are also scared that another earthquake is coming and experts believe stress and anxiety are contributing factors. Half of those who came forward with symptoms also said they felt depressed. Dr. Munetaka Ushio of the University of Tokyo Hospital’s department of otolaryngology (specializing in the ears, nose, and throat) said:

“An estimated 30% of the population in quake-stricken areas have experienced this… even I have had it recently”

Earthquake Sickness Suffered by Many Japanese

Thankfully the feeling of being unbalanced is temporary and it occurs when there is a neurological “mismatch” between the balance mechanism in the vestibular system of the inner ear and sensory signals from nerves in the eyes and feet. It can usually be relieved by focusing your eyes on a distant object, laying down, or sipping cold or hot liquids much like the way to cure motion sickness. Severe cases may be triggered by post traumatic stress disorder and could linger for weeks or months which is the case for some Kumamoto residents.

There have been over 1,600 aftershocks that hit the region since the April quake with more than 89 registered at magnitude 4 or more. No wonder anxiety is high as the rebuilding process continues. Must be a horrible feeling of first experiencing such a disaster then re-living the shaking on a daily basis. Hopefully that feeling will go away as I’m sure it can leave a lot of emotional and mental scars.


  1. Matt

    Wow, interesting I never heard of earthquake sickness before. It must be really tough to one day lose all your possessions and then the next day realize you are losing your mental health as well. I wish only the best for the unfortunate people in Japan.

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Yeah it’s very unfortunate. Hopefully they can develop an instant cure for this problem so people don’t have to go through the torture of the feeling of being in an earthquake all the time as it can last months in severe cases.

  2. Pamel

    My name is pamela, I’m from mexico and I have just experience a earthquake 8.1 ( 4 days ago) it was traumatic I thought I was gonna die. I think I have a severe case of earthquake sickness.

    1. The massive earthquake bring 2 days of replicas, so between me imagining and really shaking I went insane. Couldn’t sleep for 2 days.

    2. On the 3th day I started feeling really nauseous and dizzy, my legs shake and I feel super tired.

    3. I feel really depress, and weak. I think its not Worth living if I’m like this.

    4. I woke up: dizzy. I try to sleep: dizzy. I try to eat : dizzy

    I need to know how to make this better !! I’m going insane

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Hi Pamela,
      I’m glad you made it out safely during the big quake. It’s an incredible thing you just experienced and I can imagine it’s very stressful.
      Earthquake sickness is usually caused by sudden movements that your body doesn’t expect. The fluids within your ear which controls balance get disturbed and combined with high stress from experiencing the earthquake, this “sickness” can get worse.
      There’s no real cure for this except for trying to relax and not get stressed (I know it’s super difficult since you just experienced a major earthquake but that is the best way).
      It will just take time for your body to adjust.

      I did some Google searching and found this article which may help you. It explains how you can massage the back of your head using an acupuncture technique and controlling your breathing through your nose.
      Please read it for more information and hopefully it works for you.
      Alleviate Dizziness Caused By Earthquakes

      Stay safe!



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