POST CORONA TRAVEL
Natural Must-Dos Before, During & After
Excessive time indoors definitely triggers may be triggering your wanderlust, and with all the quarantining and social distancing over the last couple of years, you’re probably thinking about travel. Whether you’re the type sticking to socially distant, outdoorsy roadtrips, or if you’re looking ahead to international travel, it’s likely you’ll have to travel at some point in the future and you should be prepared. There’s a lot you can do to prepare your body and mind naturally before, during, and after your trip. Eastern Medicine and TCM can help you travel well the wholistic way.
What to Do Before Your Trip:
Before you reach the airport, hop on the bus, or into your front seat, think first about where you’re going: Are you leaping across time zones, continents, or just taking a much needed road trip? Whatever you have in mind, here are a few pre-departure tips that can help your body adjust.
Tip 1. Practice Tai Chi Movements in the Morning to Relax
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art form that mimics nature with slow movements and patterns you make with your body. By practicing Tai Chi, you help the body’s circulation and flexibility, but there are many other health benefits ascribed to the art form, too.
Tai Chi is softer on your joints and muscles than say, running or weight lifting, and it’s not as strenuous as yoga. In fact, it’s more of a meditational discipline than anything. Skip your workout the day of your trip and substitute it with an early morning Tai Chi session to relax your mind and body.
Tip 2. Load Up On Supplements and Probiotics
Supplements can help boost your immune system and can help your stomach combat any foreign bacteria or germs you may encounter from the local water and cuisine. The staples you need to stock up on are:
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Fish oil
It’s best to start taking these supplements daily, and the earlier you start taking them, the better. The same goes for probiotics. You want to start taking them at least two days before you leave. However, you should consult a medical professional before ingesting probiotics or supplements.
Here are three common formulas that are great for traveling:
- Jade Windscreen (Yu ping feng wan): This well-tolerated, astragalus-based formula is designed to strengthen your respiratory system so you don’t get sick in the first place. Try readywell for an easy-to-use tincture option. Note – you don’t take it if you are already sick as that would be like locking an intruder into your house with you.
- Gan Mao Ling: A cold formula with immune boosting herbs that’s ideal to alleviate cold and flu symptoms at any stage
- Huan Lian Su: This formula is used for diarrhea and dysentery
- Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San: This formula treats upset stomachs and calms the respiratory and digestive systems, and helps in hot, humid climates
Tip 3. Bring an Empty Water Bottle to Get Past TSA Restrictions
Hydration is key if you’re going to spend time on an airplane. The high altitude dehydrates your body, and the recycled air on board causes bloating and gassiness. Water won’t alleviate those last two side-effects, but it can keep your headaches at ease.
To avoid steep airport prices for a bottle of water, bring along an empty canteen or a collapsible water bottle that you can fill up after you’ve cleared the TSA line.
Tip 4: Pack Clothing to Stay Warm in the AC (and Prevent the Cold)
There are two important meridian points on the back of your head and neck. The one on your head is called Feng Chi and the one on your neck is called Da Zhui. According to TCM, these points are the most vulnerable to cold and wind, and they can cause migraines, fever, cough, and other conditions if not protected from the elements.
If you’re prone to getting sick, it could be that you’re not protective enough of these key points. To prevent sickness while traveling, it’s recommended that you cover these points up whenever you’re cold (e.g. when the cold AC cuts on in the airplane or a long car ride). The most ideal clothing options are scarves or shawls, as these are light and easy to pack.
What to Do During Your Trip:
Your options are more limited once you take off for your destination. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to prevent discomfort while traveling that won’t fill up your suitcase.
Tip 5. Try Acupressure to Alleviate Headaches and Pain During Your Flight
Acupressure is when you apply pressure (a massage) with your hands to specific meridian points rather than needles. It frees up the Qi to flow better, which improves your circulation and prevents inflammation, sickness, and a host of other conditions depending on the meridian.
When it comes to travel, there are four acupressure points to be aware of:
- He Gu (for headaches, congestion, and ear aches): To find this point, squeeze your thumb and index finger so it forms a crease. The meridian point is located just above the end of the crease just below your knuckle. Massage it with your thumb to relax.
- Nei Guan (for nausea, motion sickness, and upset stomach): This point is located on your inner forearm just between your two tendons below your wrist. It’s approximately three finger breadths below your wrist (form a “three” with your fingers and voila!).
- Zu San Li (for bloating, gas, and stomach pain): Located just below your knee cap, you find this spot by forming a “four” with your fingers and placing it beneath your knee. Just under your pinkie and next to your tibia, there’s a soft spot. Rub it to help out with any digestive issues.
- Tai Chong (for cramps, anxiety, muscle and joint pain): This meridian is located between your big toe and second toe on the top of your foot just between the two tendons.
Try applying a gentle massage to any of these meridians when you’re experiencing discomfort during your trip. It will relax you and you’ll have a cool tip to share with other travelers!
Tip 6. Ask Your Acupuncture Specialist for Ear Seeds or Ear Tacks
Ear seeds, or ear tacks, is a type of acupuncture therapy said to prevent the following health conditions:
- Lower back pain
- Weight loss
These little “seeds” are just small metallic or ceramic beads that stick to your ear. To prevent discomfort while traveling, just rub the seeds two to three times a day for one to two minutes or whenever you’re experiencing symptoms. They won’t set off the TSA metal detectors!
Tip 7. Sprinkle on White Flower Oil
Sitting in a tiny seat in an uncomfortable position isn’t fun. White Flower Oil reduces aches, pains, bruises and swelling when applied. It also is said to provide temporary relief for your muscles and joints, so if you have arthritis or chronic back pain, this could be for you, but you should only apply it no more than three times a day.
Tip 8. Eat Ginger Candies to Alleviate Stomach Nausea
If you’re especially prone to nausea or upset stomachs while traveling, carry along some ginger candies. These natural treats can be taken as a lozenge or mixed with tea, and they taste great!
What to Do After Your Trip:
Once you’ve finished up your trip, it can be difficult settling back into your old schedule and routine. To help your body and mind adjust to the change, try these post-travel tips out.
Tip 9. Try Out Qigong Exercises After Your Trip
Is Qi Gong similar to Tai Chi? Yes, but it’s often referred to as the “internal portion of Tai Chi.” With Qi Gong, you repeat certain motions several times to help you meditate and stir your Qi internally. It’s a great way to shake out stiffness from flying or driving for hours on end, and it helps your mind relax, too.
Tip 10. Get Acupuncture Treatment to Recover Your Circadian Rhythm
Jet lag is a modern problem caused by air travel, specifically from traveling East to West or vice versa. When you rapidly cross time zones, your body doesn’t have time to adapt its circadian rhythm. One way to reset your internal clock is to see an acupuncture specialist.
Although there’s no proof that acupuncture “helps” your jet lag, a study found that patients with insomnia slept better after receiving acupuncture treatment three times a week for four weeks. For frequent travelers, acupuncture is said to help them sleep better and manage other travel ailments like back pain.
Prepare Beforehand and Live It Up
Take the above tips to heart and try them out on your next vacation or big trip. By preparing your body and mind to travel, you’ll prevent sickness and discomfort and focus on what counts: Living in the moment and enjoying your travels!
If you have other tips and tricks for travel, feel free to drop them in the comments below.