Ayurveda on the Plane: How to Keep Immunity Strong When Flying
I imagine most of you experience bodily effects when traveling via plane. I know I do! I was genuinely shocked when reading the fine details of what happens to your body when you fly.
It wasn’t until my Clinical Ayurveda studies that I seriously elevated my travel wellness guide significantly to avoid travel bugs and exhaustion at all costs.
Nothing’s worse than arriving to your destination with a cold, or even worse (in my opinion), having to come home from travels (already exhausted) with a travel bug. Not the souvenir most of us are looking for.
Let us first discuss the 5 Major Effects of Flight Travel:
#1. EXPOSURE TO SICKNESS
Turns out, we are 100x more likely to catch a cold on a flight. This is because the cabin is extremely dry, making air-borne infections quite easy to pass throughout the flight.
Pack your Vitamin C, Iron, and D3. This is especially important if you feel as if your digestion is not up to snuff.
Vitamin C Dosage: 500 IU per 1/2 pound
EX: 150lbs = 3,500IUs
Vitamin C SideKick #1: Zinc Picolinate: 30-50mg per day for up to 10 days
Vitamin C SideKick #2: Vitamin D3: suggested Intake: 500 IU/ half pound
*Take Vitamin C supplement 1st and Zinc 2nd. If symptoms of diarrhea arise, lower dosage until symptoms subside.
The exhaustion most of us feel after flying isn’t in our heads. We often feel tired after flying because of the lower oxygen levels on the plane. Our body circulates less oxygen because air pressure on a plane simulates somewhere around 8,000 ft elevation.
Do you best to situate yourself in a way that lends itself to some adequate rest. Rest easy. Take a nap. Take some time to run through some breathing exercises. My favorite go-to breath practices:
Inhale for 4 counts
Exhale for 6 counts
We lose a lot of water content when we fly. Our body is exposed to a significantly dryer atmosphere; therefore, we experience dehydration.
By the time you feel the physical sensation of ‘thirst’, you're already dehydrated! Our thirst mechanism does not signal in due time. Research shows that as little as 1% dehydration negatively affects your mood, attention, memory and motor coordination.
What does this mean? Well, when dehydrated our blood thickens and concentrates, making it harder for the cardiovascular system to maintain appropriate blood pressure.
Stay hydrated! How much do we drink? Focus on ½ body weight (healthy/ideal weight) in ounces.
Example: if you weigh 150lbs, drink 75oz per day.
Important: avoid coffee and booze on the flights. If you know you can’t do without or simply just want to tap into ‘vacay’ mode - compensate with sufficient water consumption!
#4. GAS EXPANSION
GAS GAS GAS - as the plane rises & cabin pressure drops, the gas in our intestines expands, hence feelings of stomach discomfort or pains when traveling.
Focus on carminative herbs - these are herbs that dispel gas. Such as, ginger, peppermint, cinnamon and black pepper. I always travel with peppermint, ginger, or cinnamon tea. I drink it on the plane to settle my stomach. This is pretty simple - give it a shot.
Peppermint: quick to settle an upset stomach, dispel gas and increase heat in the body (which can be nice on generally chilly airplanes).
Green Tea: great for an energy boost and hydrates the body more efficiently than water.
Smooth Move: supports elimination (or lack thereof) when traveling.
Black Pepper: settles gas and indigestion. If I’m on an international flight, you bet I’m putting a healthy dose of pepper on everything that I eat.
#5. LACK OF CIRCULATION
Blood circulation goes down the tubes when flying! Since most people sit with their feet flat on the floor, the stagnant position leads to blood pooling into the veins and capillaries of the legs. This often contributes to swelling as the body directs fluids into the surrounding areas.
The teas listed above are also circulatory stimulants. Therefore, don’t just brush off the practical benefits of drinking a cup of ginger, peppermint, or cinnamon tea.
Massage your legs. Increase stimulation in the lowers limbs. Do your best to get up and activate the lower muscles.
while are your gate, patiently waiting for your flight…. Move yo-self! Your muscles, bones, tendons, joints, cartilage, etc will thank you endlessly.
You cannot control the effect that air-travel has on your circulation; however, you can proactively set yourself up for success in very simple ways.
Looking to ward off Cold + Flu symptoms?! Read here!
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to email me, or visit my consultation pages for one-on-one consultation packages.
*This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before administering use, especially if pregnant, nursing, on medication. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not to be used for diagnoses, treatment, or prevention of disease.