by Logan Lamson

Using Chinese Medicine to Keep You Healthy While You Travel

The residents of New York City are no strangers to claustrophobic modes of transportation; on a daily basis, we endure wheezing pedestrians, sticky children and break dancers who love to smear residue from the subway floor onto every accessible railing. And unfortunately, most methods of escape from the germy, stressful cluster of boroughs require similarly congested forms of transportation. So, how do we maintain our health while hopping from one petri dish to another? Chinese Medicine.

Bolster your immune system proactively.

Regular acupuncture treatments leading up to a vacation can help moderate stress, boost the body’s ability to ward off sickness and can even offset the crippling effects of fatigue.

Avoid any last minute planning or packing and leave for the airport with a lot of breathing room!

In my opinion, relaxing in an airline lounge for an hour is much more favorable than having a breakdown in the back of a taxi that
is stuck in traffic.

Lea Gance, acupuncturist at the YinOva Center, says, “chronic stress cripples the immune system by decreasing white blood cells–the body’s defense against pathogens. Before your trip, make sure to get enough sleep and consult your acupuncturist on the benefits of a customized formula that includes immune-boosting herbs like astragalus and ginseng.”

Supplements make the best travel companions.

Jetting across the world will strain your body even if you are flying in the first class suite on Emirates. The most common supplements that will keep you functioning properly are: Zinc, Vitamin B, C, and D, Magnesium, and Fish Oil. However, you should consult with your practitioner to get specific recommendations based on your individual case.

Probiotics are not often correlated with travel, but are an essential defense against the onslaught of foreign cuisine that can wreak havoc on your gut. To spend less time in the bathroom, start on a probiotic regimen with enough lead-time to allow your body to adjust to the beneficial bacteria.

Hydration makes all of the difference.

Dehydration worsens the feeling of fatigue and decreases your body’s ability to retain nutrients. Get around the three ounce
security restriction by bringing a water canteen in your carry on.

While getting a bottle of water from Hudson News is good in the short term, having a canteen that is BPA free to refill during your entire vacation is incredibly beneficial. I realize that metal, glass and BPA free plastic canteens can be bulky; so I generally recommend a flexible canteen pouch that can be flattened when empty such as those manufactured by Vapur.

Gance says, “while alcohol can make flying more fun, it can also worsen dehydration. It is recommended to drink one pint of water for every three hours of flight. When your nose’s mucous membranes in your nose become dehydrated, it lessens their ability to protect you against the pathogens being recirculated in the cabin. Sleep aids are also very drying, so if you are planning on having a mid-flight snooze, ask your acupuncturist to concoct a calming and non-dehydrating herbal formula.”

Receive quick relief from muscle tension.

Travelers become contortionists when trying to find a comfortable position in which to sleep on planes. Constricted muscles are then overworked when scouring a city for the best scenery, food and entertainment. Heavenly hotel accommodations and their spas can ease tension in the moment, but I recommend seeking an acupuncture treatment upon return for thoughtful healing.

Gance says, “prolonged periods of sitting decreases circulation which leads to muscle tension. Get up and walk around during your flight! If you’re keeping up with your water consumption, then you can stretch while you are waiting for the lavatory. For muscle relief while you are away, ask your acupuncturists for herbal patches that apply heat to sore muscles. And when you return from your travels, acupuncture will help to permanently relieve the aches and pains by increasing circulation to affected areas.”

Nullify the effects of jet lag upon return.

Back-to-reality blues are often exacerbated by the effects of jet lag. Since acupuncture is a holistic remedy, your post-trip treatment can release the aforementioned muscle tension while also lessening the effects of jet lag.

Gance says, “through the regulation of the central nervous system, acupuncture can help to restore normal circadian rhythms which means that you can get back to sleeping through the night and having energy throughout the duration of your day. The body relies on sunlight to set its internal clock, so use it to your advantage. If you land in the middle of the day, go outside and stay active until nightfall. If you arrive at night, try to get at least three to four hours of sleep even if you are not necessarily tired.”

Maintaining optimal health abroad elevates your mood, fosters adventure and ensures fantastic memories.

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