Even those of us that love travelling will admit that air travel is not all rainbows and unicorns. Long security lines and tight connections are just one part of the story. I’m talking about the effects of travel on your body. Air-conditioned airports and the constant blow of air hitting you on airplanes can leave you drained by the time you get to your destination. Let’s face it, by the end of a 10-hour flight, many of us will likely feel dry, and may even have red, itchy eyes with a hint of dry skin patch or bloating. Peachy!
The good news is there are certain things you can do to reduce the “wear and tear” on your body. The qualities of air travel are dry, cold and light. So go for the opposite: do things and eat foods that are oilier, warmer and more grounding.
1. Warm up to the idea of oiling
On the day of your flight, apply warm oil on your body. Organic, cold pressed, untoasted sesame oil works well. Let it soak in for about 15 – 20 minutes, then take a hot shower to open the pores and let it further penetrate. If you’re not ready for a full body immersion, rub oil on the soles of your feet. Pack some oil in your luggage in a double ziploc plastic bag.
Feeling adventurous? Fill up a small container with oil and warm it up in the airport bathroom in hot water. Once the oil is pleasantly warm, squeeze 3 to 5 drops in each nostril and in each ear before hitting the jetway.
2. Go on a soup hunt
Once you’ve passed security, head to a restaurant that serves soup. Get it to go. Enjoying a warm bowl of soup on your flight is a great choice to counterbalance the coldness, dryness and lightness of air travel.
3. Sip on warm water
The first time you ask for warm water, you might get a puzzled look and 2 -3 follow up questions. Just go with it. Get your warm water anyway. Plain. Warm. Water. Drink plenty.
Even if you’re in the window or friendship (middle) seat, look for opportunities to get up and walk around. Go to the bathroom to wash your hands, stand in the back of the plane, pull one knee at a time to your chest, bend your knee and grab the foot behind you, and so on. If getting up is hard or you don’t want to disturb your neighbor(s), at least consider doing some shoulder rolls, seated “cat and cow” tilts, arm stretches above your head, ankle circles, foot pumps and leg raises in your seat.
5. Use the flight time to adjust
Especially if you’re crossing many time zones, it’s important to use your time on the plane wisely. Use it to start closing the time gap between your departure and arrival cities. Continue with your day at the time of your destination.
6. Pack some clarified butter
The other name for clarified butter is ghee. It contains butyric acid, which is a short chain fatty acid, a best friend to your gut. In fact, our gut produces butyric acid so ghee is very synergistic to what your intestines need to get rid of bad bugs and toxins. Add some ghee to your meal and keep it out of direct sunlight (it doesn’t need to be refrigerated though).
A bonus benefit: our bodies can use short chain fatty acids, such as butyric acid, for energy immediately because they don’t need to be broken down by bile.
7. Reset your digestion
Travel can cause constipation and bloating. If that happens, drink some warm milk or water with a teaspoon of ghee (or triphala ghee); or mix together equal parts of fresh cumin, coriander and fennel powder in hot water and gulp that down. Alternatively, you can opt for fruits that have laxative qualities, such as prunes. (Don’t mix the fruit with other things).
Ideally, you will also want to give yourself a little break before you head to your business meeting or go on your adventure. Freshen up by applying some warm oil again, followed by a warm bath.
These are the little tricks that help bring back the rainbows and unicorns into my travel. As strange as I thought these things were at first, now I can’t imagine heading out of town without my oil or opting for ice anything at 35,000 feet.
Image by Ruth Enyedi, Unsplash