Here in the UK, the Summer holidays are upon us. The schools have finished for their extended six week break, and families are jetting off to sunny places for some rest and relaxation, despite it having been unusually hot on our shores for the last month or so! And so many patients in clinic have been asking exactly HOW I managed my 24 hour flight to Australia earlier in the year, despite having a BIG fear of flying, AND suffering crippling travel / air / altitude sickness.
So today I am sharing the WHAT – those specific things that went into my carry-on hand luggage – yes, all the right sizes and no dodgy restrictions – that got me through the seven flights I did in March. It did raise a few eyebrows from the folks sitting next to me every time I got out my “flying survival toolkit”, but it became somewhat of a talking point, and I KNOW there will be things in here that will help you too, especially if you’re not a big fan of planes!
1. Acupressure Travel Bands
As an acupuncturist, the one security blanket you have is that you can put needles in yourself to treat acute conditions e.g. sickness or migraine, to give instant and immediate relief. Even THINK about going near a plane, and all sharp objects, including your gorgeous, magic, special little needles are out of the question. Cue freaking out. Ok, when I calmed down, I realised acupressure was my new best friend.
So called “travel bands” are available from Boots (in the UK), and most pharmacies, or online – heck, I even lost one of my wrist bands on the first leg of my homeward bound journey, and managed to pick up a replacement in Singapore airport!
You wear them like wrist bands, and they have a plastic half-sphere on the inside. They work by stimulating an acupuncture point called Pc 6 or “neiguan”, which is translated as “inner gate”. The deep pathway of the channel goes directly through the stomach, which harmonises and settles the organ, keeping Qi (energy) down, instead of it rising up which causes you to feel (or actually be) sick. Having acupuncture on this point BEFORE you go can also help massively.
The main time I remember thinking I might actually vomit on the flight from Heathrow to Singapore (to then go on to Brisbane), I looked at my wrist bands and they had moved off the Pc 6 point – a small adjustment, and the nausea ceased again. It is important to get the point location exact, else these bands won’t work for you – I have a sheet on my website that I give to patients before they travel, just to make sure they are guided properly to putting the bands on correctly.
I also used a second pair of the bands on my feet to stimulate the acupuncture point Kid 1 – to “ground” my energy DOWN as much as possible, whilst being up in the air! And an acupressure plaster on He 7, to help calm my anxiety and nerves. Acupressure really rocks!
2. Homeopathic Remedies
Before I travelled, I went to see my fabulously lovely homeopath, Jill Roarty, so that I could have a range of remedies tailored to my needs and my personality. The main one for altitude sickness was Coca, and it works like a dream! I had a special jet lag formula, and a strong dose of arnica, to take whilst on the flight, to help the adjustment to the new time zone – I didn’t have ANY jet lag when I arrived in Australia! Plus a couple of other remedies to help with my anxiety, fear of freaking out when “trapped” inside the airplane for 14 hours etc… and I was ok!
3. Flower Remedies or Essences
Bach Rescue Remedy is a staple in my first aid kit, and the smaller “flight friendly” bottle (double check when you buy) definitely went in to the “flight survival pack”, to calm the nerves. This was especially useful in the airport BEFORE the flight. And it seemed only fitting to have an Australian Bush Flower Essence in there too, especially as I was flying to Aus! The “TRAVEL” essence was perfect, and I took it before, during and after the flights. It helps energetics wise, when you’re in such close proximity to strangers when travelling, as well as tiredness, jet lag, adjusting to new places and time zones.
I also had two bespoke remedies blended for me by great aromatherapist Jo Partridge. They come in “flight friendly” rollerball vials. One was very calming, with rose, geranium and a couple of others. It was great when the nerves started to creep up, I just dabbed some on my wrists, so the oils could be absorbed easily. The other blend had very grounding scents including vetiver and lavender. This again helped to keep my Qi down, despite being up in the air!
5. Throat Sprays
I am always treating patients who have had a fabulous holiday, but come home with a sore throat, or a cough / cold they have picked up on the plane. Too many people in very close proximity, and the re-circulated air, does nothing for keeping well. I pre-empt this, and ensure my throat is supported, reducing the likelihood of nasties getting in and setting up camp. Higher Nature Colloidal Silver is good at “sterilising” the air around you on a plane – I spritzed this around my face and seating area every few hours, as well as directly spraying the back of my throat to “kill any bugs” that I might be breathing in. Additionally, the A.Vogel echinacea throat spray is fabulous for boosting and supporting the immune system, plus sage is antibacterial and soothes any soreness.
6. Skin Hyrdation
Apart from drinking TONS of water on the plane – make sure you buy a large bottle once you have gone through security, especially if you’re headed on long-haul – I used the deliciously scented face mist from Liz Earle. It’s for mature or very dry skin – but don’t let that put you off, it is natural and exactly what your poor dehydrated skin requires… and need I say, NO makeup is essential.
7. Fear of Flying Audios
One last thing that wasn’t in my “travel survival pack” as such, but it really helped to prepare me before the long-haul flights, both to AND from Australia – Flying Without Fear audios and books. I really cannot recommend them highly enough. They dispel all the common misconceptions – did you know there are no such thing as air pockets?! They go through all the various sounds you might hear onboard, so you don’t jump to the conclusion that the clunk you just heard is the wing about to fall off! And they gave me my mantra of 24hrs – “turbulence is NOT dangerous, it is JUST uncomfortable”. My goodness, that got me through it!
I cannot tell you how much all of these things helped during my travels. Until this year, I didn’t think I could ever fly again after a 7 year absence, or that if I did, I would have to be drugged up to the eyeballs on medication, which is just NOT me! You CAN travel naturally and keep healthy! Do let me know if you try any of these yourself over the summer vacation, or if you have something else I could add to my travel toolkit… what is your number one fail-safe thing to have when you are travelling? Or could you benefit from acupuncture on Pc 6 before you go on holiday to help with travel sickness? Get in touch!
Wishing you safe travels and a restful break, wherever you are headed
© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013
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