01 Nov 5 natural health tips for travellers
Nowadays we travel much more than we used to: we have an optimized infrastructure, flights are accessible to practically everyone compared to 50 years ago, and after the digital revolution we are more connected to each other than ever. Whether for work, study or personal reasons, we communicate with the rest of the world constantly and we cross borders much more often. But trips take us out of our usual routine: we change our diet, we go from being in a one climate to exposing the body to different temperatures in a few hours. Also, if we travel by train or plane this means we move at high speed, even though we don’t notice it at the moment. All these factors contribute to an increase in Vata dosha which, as you know, represents the elements air and space and with this properties such as dryness, cold, mobility and lightness. People who already have a natural constitution (prakruti) with a predominance of Vata dosha could suffer from radical changes even more than individuals who are more Pitta or Kapha. An excess of Vata can lead to nervousness, anxiety, tremors, insomnia and digestive problems such as constipation or intestinal gas, among other things.
If you travel often or have an important trip planned, these tips will help you keep your balance while you are away from home.
Stay hydrated. The cabin pressure in airplanes, as well as the air-conditioning in buses, trains and metros, increase your level of dryness. Have you ever noticed that your skin becomes dry during a flight? If you wear contact lensen, you will know that the longer the trip, the drier your eyes become, so you will want to wear your glasses. We should consume at least 1.5l of water daily, outside meals and apart from the other liquids we take. Choose to drink warm water or water on room temperature and avoid or at least reduce the number soft drinks and alcoholic beverages during your trip, as both contribute to dehydration.
Wear flat, comfortable shoes. When we wear shoes with heels the foot is not completely in contact with the ground since it is at an angle, varying according to the height of the heel. This means that the usual use of high heels or high platforms also increases Vata dosha. Flight attendants suffer from extremely high levels of Vata, as they constantly travel the work night shifts, and other weeks they work during mornings. Not only is it much more comfortable to travel with flat shoes, you will also keep your balance, apart from preventing your feet from tiredness and swelling. During long trips I even recommend that you take off your shoes from time to time so your feet can relax and breathe. Try to wear socks so that your feet don’t get cold.
Put on comfortable clothes. Changes in temperature and air-conditioning can make us feel cold sweat, followed by heat heat or vice-versa. It is very easy to catch a cold during a flight, because we all breathe the same dry air. Tight pants can begin block your digestive organs, causing intestinal gas and cramping. Try to travel with loose clothing made of natural fabrics such as cotton, wool or linen. It is best to wear layers, such as comfortable pants, a shirt, a jacket with zipper and a scarf or pashmina to protect the neck area and throat against cold air. If you suffer from problems in the cervical area, then carry a neck pillow with you so your head does not fall sideways and forward while you sleep.
Get out of your seat from time to time. Most people already spend a large part of the day sitting, which leads to stiffness, contraction and other problems such as lack of strength and resistance and weak joints. Even when traveling Business Class we don’t avoid sitting with our legs at a 90º angle and often with the lower part of the spine curved and collapsed, so it is important to stretch at least every 30-45 minutes. Walk down the aisle when allowed and do some simple exercises such as forward bending by rounding the back and taking a good stretch extending the spine, stretching the arms to the ceiling with fingers interlaced and with your palms facing up. Make small side stretches and circle the head both sides about 8-10 times.
Go to the bathroom when you need to go. According to Ayurveda, physiological needs are called vegas. Holding up our need to go to the bathroom, cough or sneeze is considered a major cause of imbalance and disease, as we are blocking the flow and exit of waste and toxins. By not paying attention to our body signals we get to suffer from abdominal pain, gas and constipation as our urine and stool become concentrated and dry. On the other hand, intestinal gas moves downwards. Holding it in for a long time will cause it to change direction, causing cramps. Listen to your body and get up from your seat when you feel the urge to go to the bathroom. You will feel more comfortable during the rest of your trip and avoid discomfort when you reach your final destination.