Travel Healthy! Reduce Aeroplane Stress

Aeroplane travel will surreptitiously “suck the life out of you.” It sucks all the moisture out of your body.
With the humidity level in the cabins of most commercial aeroplanes at just 10-20%, and some even as low as 1%!(1), this makes aeroplanes drier than the Sahara Desert! which sits at about 25% humidity.

Take a good look at yourself in the mirror after travelling, especially if you travel a lot. If you are slightly in tune with your body, you will probably realise how much aeroplane travel accelerates your ageing process.

You may be surprised to learn the many risks associated with air travel.

For example, one study shows how bacteria can stay alive and continue to be infectious for more than a week on the armrests, seat pockets, seats and bathroom doors of commercial aircrafts. The dry air is said to contribute to their extra-long life on aeroplanes. (2)

That’s not to mention the health risks associated with jet lag, dehydration, swelling and fatigue.

Altitude Shock = Dehydration & Dryness

Ever wonder why it is so easy to fall asleep in a plane? It is likely because the oxygen has been literally sucked out of your brain as the cabin is being pressurised.

When people flock to mountain towns to hike, ski or for leisure, it is very common for them to get altitude sickness. Even fit athletes who train at altitude can tell the difference when they climb to 3,000 meters. In a plane, this altitude change happens in just a couple of minutes!

Dehydration and body dryness is the most instant result of altitude shock.

If you are flying a lot and your body is repeatedly put through such drastic altitude changes, the effects become chronic. Chronic sub-clinical dehydration will first dry out the outer skin and then dry out the skin associated lymph beneath the skin. When this dries out, lymphatic flow is hampered, compromising its function of draining toxins and circulating white blood cells around the body for immunity.

The good news is, I’ve compiled some effective strategies to buffer these risks. Incorporating just a few simple tips to your air travel routine will help lessen the impact of flying and help you feel more vibrant during and after your trips.

Air Travel Survival Tools

Pre-Hydrate

For 1-2 days before you fly, make every effort to drink plenty of warm-hot water. Approximately 2-3L depending on your body weight. Fresh coconut water is also recommended if in season and local.

On the day of your flight, sip hot water every 10-15 minutes to help further hydrate and support the lymphatic system.

Lubricate

Perform Ayurvedic Self-Abhyanga (Massage) before and after trips or treat yourself to an Abhyanga if available, especially upon arrival.

This will not only counter the dryness but effectively move the lymph and circulate blood. Continue to topically apply oil as a moisturiser on the flight.
Pack a little Ghee as lip balm, or use the massage oil.

Shilajit

Used by Himalayan mountain climbers to gain energy for climbing at heights above 6,000 meters and to help oxygenate at high altitudes. The active ingredient of this ancient herb, Fulvic acid, has now been found by scientists to support oxygen and energy transport. Consider taking this herb around travel days.*

* It is best to take herbs in a therapeutic combination rather than by itself. If taking by itself, have 1 day break every 7 days. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for a proper formulation and prescription. 

Pitta body types take caution as Shiljait is very heating and may aggravate Pitta.

Recycled Air

The Journal of Environmental Health Research reported that air travel increases the risk of catching a cold by 100 times because of the recycled air.

While exposure is unavoidable, we can increase our immunity and decrease our susceptibility.

Air Travel Survival Tools

Nasya

My most prized aeroplane survival tool.

Nasya is an Ayurvedic technique which involves lubricating the nasal passages (responsible for immunity).

Oil to use:  Vital Veda/Raju Nasika herbalised oil formula is superior. Inferior but still effective is Anu Tailia or cold pressed sesame oil.

Method: Tilt the head back and drop 1-3 drops in each nostril every hour so. The aim is to sniff it through the entire nasal passages, and even further up to your brain.
Also pop a couple of drops in your ears to deal with cabin pressure.

Learn about Nasya more here

Immune Boosting Rasayana (Elixir)

Ananda Siddhi Yog
Highly nourishing to the body and boosts immunity, strengthens and repairs all the seven layers of the dhatus (tissues) and gives all the refined nourishment you need for rapid healing. Very good for chronic coughs (strengthens the lungs) and restores physical vitality.
This is superior to Chywanprash.
Take 1 tsp 1-2x/day. Contact Vital Veda to order.

Chywanprash
This trusted and popular Ayurvedic formula supports immunity. This is a classic remedy for supporting frequent travellers and mitigating your risk of catching a cold during a flight.
*Please buy a quality product from a trustworthy source such as Vital Veda or Maharishi Ayurveda.

Jet Lag

Imagine air-lifting a dolphin from the Tasman Sea off the coast of Sydney, Australia to the Indian Ocean by Singapore in just 8 hours. Then, after a quick layover, air-lift that same dolphin to the harbour in Hong Kong in 4 hours.

Would you expect that dolphin to ever re-establish normal migration patterns? If so, how long do you think it might take?

For humans too, this disruption of the body’s normal biological rhythms is very real.

Jet lag can cause fatigue and lead to cognitive decline, sleep issues, and even psychotic or mood disorders.

Air Travel Survival Tools

Daily Ayurvedic Massage

Since your skin has more nerve endings than any other organ, applying herbalised oil will pacify the nervous system. Every square centimetre of the body’s skin is innervated by sensory neurons. These neurones are much happier when fed with herbalised oil, rather than left dehydrated to become irritated and over-stimulated. Learn to do self-massage.

Abhyanga oil massage as a good alternative for hand soap

Watch the Sunrise & Sunset

Watch the sunrise and sunset to re-connect with the local circadian cycles. Natures rhythms will enter through the retina of your eyes to regulate hormones like melatonin.
Even if it means pulling yourself out of bed, it’s worth it, and beautiful.

Ashwagandha

Considered by many to be one of the most potent adaptogens, this herb supports the body’s ability to adapt to stress like that incurred by jet lag and prevent you from absorbing the crippling impact.

It is best to take herbs in a therapeutic combination rather then by it self. If taking by itself, have 1 day break every 7 days. Consult a quality Ayurvedic practitioner. I recommend the product Stresscom as a good source of ashwagandha.

Blood Clots

20 million travellers will develop blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) a year.(3)
The risk factors seem to be a combination of sitting still for hours in a pressurised cabin, lymph congestion and dehydration.

Air Travel Survival Tools

Get Up and Move Regularly During Long Flights

  • Walk up and down the aisles more
  • Yoga Asanas - find a more spacious place to do stretches - I usually go near the bathroom, back or front of a section, near the staff stations, exit rows, rows with more leg room, empty business class areas, or my favourite, the muslim praying area.
  • Stretch your neck, rotate ankles, wrists, as much as you can while sitting.

Herbal Support

If DVT is an issue for you, it is important to consult a practitioner to tackle this problem. More complex herbs and treatment are required to dilate the channels.

Rest As Mentioned Above

Hearing Loss

Airline cabins range from 75 decibels in the front of the plane to 85 to 100 in the back. A loud nightclub, for example, roars at about 100 decibels. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health limits safe noise levels to 88 decibels for four hours. This suggests that there is potential risk of permanent hearing damage during frequent flights that last longer than four hours.

Air Travel Survival Tools

Noise Reduction Headphones

If you are a frequent traveller, consider a set of noise reduction headphones, which reduce noise by about 40 decibels.

Nasya in the Ears

Pop a couple of Nasya oil drops in your ears before flying. Hold the head on each side for about a minute for the oil to sink down deep down into the eardrum.

Constipation

Very common due to jet lag, altitude shock and dehydration.

Swelling

Mainly caused by congested lymph.
Causative factors of lymph congestion are almost all of the idea discussed above, particularly:

  • Constipation dries out the lymph concentration on the gut wall.
  • Altitude shock affects cellular pressure, which is responsible for lymph movement.
  • Sitting still for hours may congest the lymph as their is no movement to pump the lymph and regulate the circulatory system.
  • Dehydration directly affects lymph flow.
  • Jet lag creates stress on the body, which is a major cause of lymph congestion.

Air Travel Survival Tools

Vital Veda / Raju Shodana Vati

Detoxification agent & whole-body cleansing purifier. 3-dosha blanching. Accordingly these herbal pills prepared by the Raju family will support regular bowel motions.

Triphala

Tripahla is a natural bowel toner that supports regular bowel movements. It can be used for short periods of time around travels without dependency. available at Vital Veda.

*Not necessary if you are taking “Shodana Vati.”

Sip Hot Water Frequently

Ensure you have a thermos with you to keep refilling. You’ll make best friends with the flight attendant and perhaps contribute to the revolution of drink hot water rather than cold.

Vata Tea

Since the Vata dosha gets mostly thrown out during travel, a Vata tea can assist in balancing. My favourite Vata tea is from Moksha Ayurveda.

Meditate More

Due to the harsh environment of an aeroplane, meditate as much as you like! It will buffer against jet lag, provide deep rest, and get you through the flight a lot more joyfully. Vedic Meditation is recommended.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

These only dehydrate you further while in the flight.

Tongue Scraper and Herbal Toothpaste

Don’t forget these in your carry on luggage for long flights to scrape away the ama (toxins).

My on-board travel kit. Also includes a thermos and some Vata tea bags.

Don’t just Arrive Alive, Arrive and Thrive!

References
(1) Robert Haru Fisher, http://www.frommers.com/articles/4606.html
(2) http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/1656
(3) “The Lancet,” New Zeland, 2003.
Credits: Dr. John Doulliard, Lifespa.com

Waning The Winter Woes

Learn how to become immune to the common cold & the flu with Ayurveda. 

And in case it does hit you, do not resist it. Rather, accept it and apply some of the tactics listed in this article to actually make the flu work for you!

So, what exactly is the flu?

The flu is most certainly not a disease that calls for panic or that needs to be “treated”.
The flu is a natural detoxification that the body’s intelligence wisely instigates to “clean the house”. So do not suppress it!

Your body “vents” (clears) toxins 24hrs a day. But sometimes, particularly as the seasons become colder, it gets overwhelmed and opens up all the vents for immediate clearing. This clearing comes in many forms: perspiration, breathing, sweating, rashes, diarrhoea, colds, cases of flu and so on.

So we must facilitate this process of “cleaning the house” by allowing and assisting the toxins to be eliminated.

Unfortunately, people aren’t facilitating this process enough.

Common Treatment Process of the Flu

Hot cup of tea over bedside table
  • People are masking the symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs that fool the body into feeling that it doesn’t have any toxins to eliminate.
  • The drugs may also clog or block these “vents” (elimination channels).
      • These toxins then will get trapped deeper into the bodily channels, causing deeper problems down the track.
  • Additionally, drugs and vaccines will further add to the toxins that are trapped in the body and increases the risk and severity of "Dis-Ease" later on. No one currently knows the long-term impact of these ‘foreign’ substances that are being injected into the bloodstreams of many people (vaccinations).
Vent the Body to Prevent Disease
If your body is not able to “vent” toxins coming in (like undigested food [known in Ayurveda as ama], environmental pollutants, stressful relationships, stressful work situations, etc.) you will most certainly experience discomfort.
So in winter, if you or your children get the sniffles or a severe cold, rather than stressing, here are some simple home remedies to keep these “vents” open and working effectively.
Realise that your body is trying to cleanse during this period and the best thing you can do is to support it during the detoxification process.

Ayurvedic tips to assist the body cleanse

There are many tips and principles that Ayurveda can provide to effectively conquer the flu & the common cold:
  • Avoid suppressing the symptoms with a pharmaceutical drug - Yes, you might get some symptomatic short-term relief, but the effects of the toxic residues that are left behind will show up down the road and your body’s natural intelligence to function will be weakened.
      • There are other ways to relieve the discomfort listed below. However, if after you have tried natural remedies to relieve the symptoms you are still unbearingly suffering, it is sometimes better to take the pharmaceutical drugs.
  • Rest - The most important. Avoid the cold wind outside, avoid strenuous work, exercise & late nights. Stay warm.
  • Eat lighter - Cut down on your intake of meat and animal products such as cheese and yogurt. Dinner especially should be light (soups are best).
  • Liquid diet day - Any cooked and pureed foods or soups, lassi, fresh fruit juices and herbal teas can help you overcome a virus much more easily. Avoid vegetable juices.
  • Fasting - To do this you first need to understand and consider your body type. Fasting is a tremendously effective tool to cleanse and renew the body, but it should not be done without taking proper considerations first (i.e. your body weight, energy levels, etc.). That being said,  fasting coupled with sipping hot water all day is “the best/chief among those which cure fever.” (1)
  • Sip hot water - Plain hot water is the best approach to clear all body’s channels and hydrate the body. Plain is best because it works on all the body’s channels, rather than specifically targeting a certain area. Plus, plain hot water is even more hydrating than lemon water! Frequency is what matters, not quantity. Sip every 10-15 minutes. You can also make a tea with turmeric + a little black pepper or cumin + ajwain tea.
  • Avoid therapies such as massage, nasya (oil administered in nose) and any excessive body stimulation.

Herbs and Whole-Food Remedies

Honey and Kitchen Spice Paste

This powerful cough and cold remedy increases immunity & fights infections. You can find the recipe HERE.
Tulsi tea - English name “Holy Basil.” Also known as the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurveda. Tulsi is especially effective for lungs and to decongest the respiratory system.
A bowl containing a remedy for the flu that is very often used in Ayurveda
Salt + warm water gargle - Can do all throughout the day, especially if experiencing sore throat. Use 1/2tsp-1tsp of black salt for best effect. Can add a little turmeric to the water for stronger bacteria-fighting help.
Gargle with liquorice tea - Soothe a sore throat and reduce inflammation.
Steam inhalation - Perhaps one of the most effective remedies. Add 2 drops of Vital Veda/Raju Prandhara into a bowl of boiling water, cover head and bowl with towel and inhale steam till steam is finished. Mini Steam inhalation: 1 drop of prandhara in a cup of boiling water, inhale steam until steam is finished, then drink liquid. Can do a few times a day. Order Prandhara from Vital Veda clinic. Alternative to Prandhara: 10-15 drops of eucalyptus oil in a big bowl of boiling water and inhale.
More complex herbs for deeper-seated problems:

Siddha Jal (Superhuman Liquid)

This is a powerful combination of precious herbs concentrated into oil form to add into your water and drink.
Simply add a couple of drops in a cup of hot water, inhale the sea then drink the nectar.
Made by the Raju family, Siddha Jal helps to:
  • Clear polluted or blocked respiratory channels
  • Blockages in the food channels and digestion
Siddha Jal
  • Allows the herbs to penetrate the subtle channels of the body
  • Enhances the effect of Nasika oil to penetrate
  • + more

Blue Pills

These ayurvedic blue pills are helpful for many reasons:
  • They help fight viruses and colds.
  • They help fight respiratory infections.
  • They provide a herbal anti-biotic effect and are helpful in cases of anti-biotic resistance.
  • They have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • They strengthen the upper respiratory system.
Blue Pills, an excellent way to combat the flu with Ayurveda
  • They support lymphatic health and help detoxify related infections.

Anand Sidhi Yog

This herbal formula is one of the very best immune boosters and flu remedies Ayurveda has to offer.
It promotes bala (vital strength), which helps the body fight back disease. It is useful to boost immunity in life-threatening diseases as well as the common cold. This is certainly one of the best ayurvedic herbs for immunity due to its capacity to enhance overall vitality and to help prevent disease.
This herb contains a combination of antioxidants that support each other synergistically to create a magnified anti-oxidant effect.
Anand Sidhi Yog, an excellent way to combat the flu with Ayurveda
Anand Sid Yog (ASY) is a free-radical scavenger and helps prevent free-radicals from forming in the first place.
One of the main ingredients is Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry), which has about 10-20x more vitamin C than an orange has been extensively studied by modern science for its immune-boosting properties.

You can read more about the benefits of Amalaki on immunomodulatory activity HERE.

Prandhara

Literally meaning “flow of life,” Prandhara takes care of some very common problems like headaches, colds, fevers & nasal congestions.
Prandhara is a must for every home and travel kit. It is a very helpful component to your own first aid kit.
You can use it as a supplement for Steam Inhalation, which is very often used in Ayurveda as a treatment for flu symptoms like sinus or lung congestion, headache, fever or cold.

Prandhara, an excellent way to combat the flu with Ayurveda
It can also be internally used and it'll help overcome:
  • Respiratory issues like congestion and whooping cough
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Low prana (life-force)
  • Pharyngitis
  • + generally prevent infection tendency.

Final Advice

Act early
Prevention is a key component in Ayurveda. If you notice the initial stages of a symptom of the flu or cold, like waking up with a slight sore throat, then apply what Ayurveda has taught you: gargle with salt water, eat the Honey & Spice Mix or even better, take some complex herbs.
If you are beginning to feel a bit congested in the sinuses or lungs, incorporate steam inhalation into your morning routine. Jump in early to work WITH the viruses or toxins to ensure their effective elimination.
Act even earlier
Adopt an Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle and perhaps take some herbs to maintain optimum immunity and vitality and hardly ever see the start of a disease or symptom, especially the cold or flu.
Read my articles or book in with me for a consultation to acquire a detailed lifestyle and dietary plan to tune yourself into optimum balance and wellness.

Have you ever applied Ayurveda to treat the flu or common cold? How did that go? Comment 👇


Resources:

(1) “Astanga Samgraha (of Vagbhata)” - Chaper 13: Collection of the Best, Agryasangrahaniya Asdhyaya, translated by Author: Prof. K R Srikantha Murthy

Cough & Cold Home Remedy: Honey + Spice Paste

home remedies for cough and cold

When the flu comes, it is important that you have some ayurvedic home remedies for cough and cold that allow you to enliven your immunity and fight back disease.

This is a simple and very tasty paste that you can make up and jar it to have on hold, especially for the autumn-winter-early spring time of year.
This home remedy for cough and cold increases immunity and fights infections.

Recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon of Honey*
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 10 drops of fresh ginger juice or 1/4tsp ginger powder

Mix a large batch of this up, keep it in a glass jar ready for use.

Dosage: Lick 1tsp 2-3x a day or when needed.

*Honey should be unheated (not above body temperature). Ensure the honey you buy is extracted this way.  Most honey in the supermarkets, even health food stores (organic included!) will be extracted at temperatures higher than 37 degrees. I suggest going to your local farmers market and speaking to the apiarist.

To learn What Exactly Is The Flu, + more simple home remedies for cough and cold, click HERE