With a little planning, you can have your vacation propel you towards greater wellness!
Most people do not understand that the problem is that air travel is extremely dehydrating, the dry air wicks important liquid from our bodies, this is why our main goal inflight is hydration. Our body and brain do not function well when dehydrated. A lot of people I know who have traveled frequently through their lives develop more negative effects of travel the older they get. Here, I outline some simple steps, to minimize the negative impact of travel.
Prepare in advance:
- Hydrate well for several days before you fly. 1 gallon of pure (filtered or artesian water) daily.
- Give yourself an oil massage the day of or the day before you fly.
Self-massage Instructions here
- Prevent travel constipation by stabilizing your bowel movement cycle. You can do this by drinking 1 cup of warm water or tea immediately upon rising to stimulate peristaltic movement. Peristaltic movement is the wavelike movement of the intestines and colon which moves waste out. Avoid colon weakening laxatives like cascara sagrada. Do ‘pose of the child’ AKA balasana, for several minutes upon arising.
- The best food choices at this time are warm, cooked, easy to digest, soupy foods that are easy to digest and in simple combinations with some extra grass fed butter, coconut oil or ghee, adding the oils supports hydration. *Warm foods are grounding and calming and counteract the dryness. According to Ayurvedic Medicine, we heal using the influence of opposites. For instance, if someone has dry skin, we recommend oil massage.
- Bring a home cooked meal on the plane. Right before your trip, make some cooked foods, basmati rice, fish, with your favorite veggies and add 2 tbs of ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil.
* Use the container as you travel and for a meal when you return.
The opposite of what we need is what we are served on an airplane.
Inflight food is usually; cold, processed foods; pretzels (dry, light, rough). We need warming, grounding, unctuous, easy to digest foods.
During the flight:
- They allow you to bring a quart sized zip lock baggie with your liquids in it. I bring 2 ounces of coconut oil (for food) and another container of some herbal massage oil, essential oils and some tinctures that I might need during my trip, such as rescue remedy etc.
- Sip warm or hot water so you can stay hydrated.
- Self-massage, to hydrate/lubricate skin, and rejuvenation. I go to the bathroom after people have already used it. This way, I can take a few extra minutes in there without feeling the pressure of knowing that people are waiting. If it is cold, I cover the air vent, then wipe off the basin and fill it with hot water, so I can put my oil bottle in there to warm up. While that is heating, I take a few drops of essential oils in my palms and breathe deep. I like to start off with thieves, which kills airborne pathogens, or other simple essential oils such as Lavender, lemon, orange etc. Then, I use the warmed oil and give myself a modified ‘Abhyanga’. I rub some oil on my arms, chest, back, and legs. If it is a long flight, this will be completely absorbed by the time I arrive, and I will have deeply hydrated tissues!
- I wear compression socks and take several stretch brakes to increase circulation.
When you arrive:
* When going anywhere, I leave some spring water in a glass container, in my car for my return. There is nothing like spring water from where I live!
- Drink a lot of water, from a stainless steel or glass bottle, not plastic. I am sure by now you have heard about the DNA altering plastics and chemicals.
- Take a hot shower as soon as you can.
- On Kauai, we like to go to the ocean to wash off the plane and the mainland.
- Get a nice warm meal and add, avocado, grass-fed butter or coconut oil.
- If you watch the sunset and sunrise, this helps your body regulate to the current time zone. Enjoy!
Travel according to Ayurvedic Medicine:
Ayurveda is the ancient “Science of Life’ from India dating back 7,000 years.
The three goals of Ayurveda are to prevent disease, preserve health and promote longevity. From the outside, it may appear that Ayurveda is simply a diet, using herbs, massage, and body typing, however it truly is a lifestyle. Ayurveda is a health-giving, longevity creating, increasing quality of life, daily practice. Yoga and meditation are part of Ayurveda and common ‘prescriptions’.
According to the Ancient science of healing, Ayurveda, there are 3 specific energies that must be balanced in order for optimal health to prevail. When one of the three becomes depleted or excessive, the ending result is a disease. What is not common knowledge is that people who travel frequently for work or, for pleasure can easily increase the energy of movement. Then, this imbalance or excess of Vata, if not counteracted will begin to take root in the body, then continue to grow through the stages of disease. The root cause of disease is excess doshas, also Known as Vata/movement, Pitta/transformation, and Kapha/structure.
Traveling increases ‘movement’ and is called Vata in Sanskrit. The qualities of Vata are cold, dry, light and rough. When these qualities are increased in the environment or diet they affect our organism. If we want to remain calm and balanced we will counteract these with warm, oily, smooth and heavier substances.
Symptoms of high Vata:
Dry; skin, nails, hair, mouth and eyes, constipation, insomnia, forgetfulness, anxiety, nervousness, weight loss, shooting pain, traveling pain etc.
Read next: Exquisite Self-care
In person and Skype, Ayurveda Consultations are available by invitation