In addition to the answers above which are nicely referenced to Wikipedia, I will make a few additional statements.
The motion sickness response is, unfortunately, hard-wired into many people. VR goggles have been around far longer than Occculus Rift, and have been causing sever motion sickness for just as long as they have been around. It is not a phenomenon isolated to the Rift. It is not even isolated to VR goggles.
Back in the early 90s when I first tried on VR goggles, I got so nauseated that I had to sit down for 10 minutes after a mere 2 minute exposure. (Which BTW cost $10 just to try out!)
I experience a similar phenomenon without goggles while playing FPS games, or games with rapid shifts of the background compared to a stationary character. But, without the goggles the effect takes longer to onset. (About 30-90 minutes, depending upon the game.) It has severely limited my ability to play a lot of games over the years. Quake made me want to vomit within 20 minutes, Metroid Prime an hour, etc. etc.
It is believed that this response is an evolutionary advantage gone hay-wire. For most animals, when the visual and vestibular systems are not reporting identical information, a toxin has been ingested. Therefore, vomiting in response to this conferred a survival advantage.
As far as strategies to avoid this:
First, not using VR goggles in the first place is a good one. This limits the gaming potential, but it keeps your floors clean of vomit.
If you insist on playing these games that induce motion sickness, then the best strategy is to play only for short periods of time, and then rest with eyes closed until the feeling subsides. Some people (myself included) find that putting an ice pack over the forehead/eyes can help with the sensation.
Another strategy which I've seen work for people: Fix on a farther away point. While this is not easy to do with a screen that is located about 2 cm from your eyes, you can trick your eyes by relaxing them. When focusing for near vision the eyes constrict, and extreme near vision the muscles around the eye tend to contract, too. By consciously allowing them to relax it will help to simulate the feeling of the eye adjusting to far vision.
I would NOT recommend using anti-motion sickness medication for this use. They are not without side effects, and long term use is not indicated.
Accupressure devices (such as the relief band) have been shown to work for many people. They are not medicated, and would be harmless to try out. But, they will not be a cure.
Source: Personal Experience, Years of Medical Training