I used to (between my 20’s and early 40s) dread long haul travels because I would have terrible jet lag and it would take me days to come back to normal energy level.
People say you need to start adapting to the time zone of the destination a few days before departure. But realistically who has time to do that before a trip? In my experience, I am always busiest just before a trip and I would be most likely to be all hours just before a trip! (And if it’s a business trip the stress is worse because I also need to perform right after arrival.)
Jet lag is said to be worse going from West to East than the other way round, which means coming back to Asia from the West is worse. (For me it used to be bad both ways…in different ways!) Not to say my neck and back would go really stiff and out of alignment after a long flight too.
These days (being much older too) I don’t dread long haul travels anymore! I sleep all the way going West or East. And I really look forward to every trip and the adventure ahead!
So first off, how I survived 17 hours (14 + 3) on economy class flight to and back from the US recently (and in general) and how I usually maintain my health and performance with tight daily schedule during my overseas trips?
1. I increase the use of adaptogens to help me adapt to time zone change and to boost energy in general –
We have a natural circadian clock that governs metabolic activities according to the position of the sun and the time of the day. While our brain (especially the pineal gland) is doing its best to adapt, crossing time zones takes a lot of energy to adapt. So I would make sure I support my body with these powerful adaptogens: Cedarwood Essential Oil (most affordable of all), Ningxia Red liquid supplement (most delicious), and Reishi Powder.
Adaptogens are also essential for hormone balancing at my age and increasing stress resilience (that’s what “adaptogens” do). They raise metabolic baseline, unlike stimulants (coffee and tea) which exhaust the adrenals. With essential oils, I mostly put on the brain stem, my forehead/temples, around my ear rims and on my heart (so that they diffuse from body heat and I can inhale in). Oxygen content on the plane is thin and many essential oils especially Cedarwood, Frankincense and Peppermint are all effective in increasing oxygen level in the blood and brain. These three are registered as supplements in the US and non-irritating and I would have no problem picking a drop from my thumb and sticking it up the roof of my mouth if my intuition guides me to do so – it goes to the pineal gland in the brain quicker this way.
I love the sharp clearing scent of authentic peppermint (not the chewing gum like scent in commercial product with a fake vanilla hint) when I need to wake up.
#1 JetLag prevention diet for me – a high antioxidant diet with no dairy, caffeine, gluten, sugar especially before getting on a trip.
I drink the Ningxia Red anyway daily as it’s a foundation for good health in many senses. But before a trip I would increase my intake to about 6oz (180ml) a day or even more. It is liver and adrenal strengthening and extremely high in antioxidants. (I like it with water kefir when I am not travelling – when I am on the go I take my probiotics only and have to leave the kefir at home!) The sachet form of Niingxia Red is extremely easy to travel with. (And read till the end for my “triple strength” jet lag buster…)
2. How to calm agitated babies or to promote my own sleep on the plane – (pure and authentic) Lavender Essential Oil (Cedarwood too may be added) Even if I put on my own heart and pulse points, my body heat will diffuse the essential oils and people around me will benefit and relax. I have also tried rubbing on my own palm and play with babies (not touching them) – the parents won’t know but you will be gently diffusing calming molecules in their babies’ face and they will thank you for doing that! (This trick has proven to work time and time again!)
<And in general when we use pure and authentic essential oils which are some of nature’s most healing substances, we can cancel out some effect of the synthetic fragrance that is really ubiquitous in our environment! Mind you, whatever you can smell passes through the blood brain barrier. And most fragrant products contain petrochemicals and these chemicals have noten be subject to long term study for safe use, especially in a crowded environment with poor circulation.>
3. Keeping my skin and lips hydrated on the plane – Before I pack away my skin care bag in my check-in luggage, I would put on generous amount of this moisturising serum and Argan oil on my face. The Argan oil is a nice base for adding in essential oils too such as Young Living Frankincense oil (for mature and dry skin), or Myrrh (for even more mature and dry skin). On the flight I would spray hydrosal water and apply chemical-free lip balm. Having dry lips can be quite irritating and affect sleep! (Did you know most commercial lip balms contain petroleum based chemicals and substances that actually dry your skin even more? I stopped using them years ago.)
4. Preventing stiff muscles and structural misalignment – With long haul travels, I use a back support and neck pillow. And I always bring Deep Relief roll-on and Valor blend. If I am trying to fall asleep I would use Valor as it’s more calming of the two. It supports healthy structural alignment. But the anti-spasmodic Deep Relief blend never fails where there is a sniffness and pain. It promotes circulation and I’ve tested and tried it so many times. (Deep Relief contains peppermint, clove, copaiba and wintergreen and ac carrier oil so you can apply direct on the skin.) Upon landing I would also rub Valor blend along my spine, and do DIY Raindrop on my feet and lower back to restore spinal alignment. (If I don’t have the Raindrop oils I would just use more Valor and Deep Relief.) I also would try to have a chiropractic adjustment or a Raindrop Therapy treatment the day before leaving. A healthy spine means a healthy nervous system and it’s a priority for me.
5. Healthy snacks – Instead of instant noodles or other unhealthy snacks on the plane, I prefer to pack my own snacks, such as: Raw chocolate bars such as Ombar (low GI, raw and yum…). Unsalted nuts and fresh fruits such as apples are always nice to have on hand. I would rub Young Living Lemon oil on the surface of apples to clean the wax off if it’s not organic.
6. Hydration, and preventing water retention – Not drinking water will not really prevent that heavy feeling after a long haul flight. (I definitely would like to be able to put my feet back into my shoes with no difficulty!) Avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks, and making sure I get up and stretch definitely works much better in preventing that heavy feeling after a long haul flight. Throughout the flight, I would make sure I drink water regularly. I usually enhance my drinking water with Young Living Lemon essential oil. (About 1 drop for every 6 to 8oz of water.) This very economic oil (and citrus oils in general) supports immunity, fat digestion and lymphatic detox. Citrus oils (and many essential oils) break down fat and petroleum-based chemicals (which is what you want in your body) and would displace plastic molecules if you use a plastic water bottle. So I would use a glass bottle (protected by silicon as shown).
Remembering I mentioned the Raindrop set of oils? Valor, Cypress and Peppermint oils are part of the Raindrop kit. If bringing the whole Raindrop set of oils seem too crazy to you (!) at least I would bring Cypress for reducing water retention and supporting circulation.
7. Preventing Constipation Disruption of bowel rhythm is part of the jet lag response. I have found that doing enema (in fact adding coffee for added liver detoxing) the day/night before (or even right before) boarding the plane really helps me “travel light” (pun intended!) Okay I know home enema seems a little too “advanced” for some… But at least you can take something like this called Oxy Powder upon arrival (you will need lemon juice (not oil) or any acidic citrus juice to activate it) or as needed to support colon cleansing. Failing that just rub DiGize in clockwise direction on the belly to move things along. Keeping your colon clean will also lessen the load of your liver, so it can enable you to sleep better when you want to sleep, and to be more alert when you are supposed to be functioning. It will improve your adaptability. (Perhaps I will write another article explaining the differences in various ways to clean the colon, and why coffee enema is a liver detoxification self treatment. It does deserve a separate article…)
8. Immunity and all-round wellbeing – I like/need to travel light and that’s why I bring lightweight and versatile health tools with me. (Okay I must admit I do usually travel with a blender, but only the travel blender, and not with every attachment of course…! But if I don’t travel with it at least I need a shaker for making my smoothies.) I like to have with me at ALL times my “cure-all” (as ancients called it) oil Frankincense and/or Sacred Frankincense because I can really use it to enhance my quality of life in so many situations. My “Frankincense moments” are important rituals for me (rituals seem even better to have especially when I am far away from home) – I like to inhale it deeply to get to a calm and centered mental state within seconds – this is the state that also promotes optimal functioning of nervous system and immune system. I do it a few times a day. Sometimes I use other oils too but when I travel I keep it simple. If I can only bring one oil I definitely would bring Frankincense. (I can see why it was one of the gifts given to Baby Jesus!) I would dab it directly onto my emerging wrinkles (!) to reverse the signs of aging on my forehead and I feel good that the molecules will make their way to the brain through the blood brain barrier. To quote some of my clients, it works much faster and better than expensive procedures…(!) I would mix it into Argan oil for areas where I need dilution (the face). I would also drop it onto my palm and cup over my eyes to revitalize tired eyes. (Some have reversed macular degeneration with doing this frequently enough.) And of course the brain is just behind the eyes so will benefit from it. In case I hurt myself I would use it directly on wound for healing and pain relief as well, as it is highly anti-inflammatory. And I’ve heard many amazing healing testimonies using Frankincense/Sacred Frankincense.) And Dr HK Lin, the medical researcher on Frankincense whom I have met a few times by now told me he takes it everyday for general wellbeing. (Click here to read more >>>) Getting sick is bad enough. Getting sick when you are on holiday or on a hectic business trip is even worse. I always take with me this convenient and effective immunity support Inner Defense, which is capsule form of very concentrated botanical extracts used through history by peoples to survive plagues. Read more here in another post about travel immunity
9. Much better alternatives to coffee or tea for energy – After arrival, I would use Reishi powder and Young Living Lavender to help me sleep well if necessary. (For me DIY Raindrop on arrival would have worked its tricks too.) In the morning I would make my breakfast superfood smoothie with my travel blender to start my day (I won’t compromise this habit I have whether I am travelling or not), and I would use Ningxia Red mixed with Ningxia Nitro (containing Korean ginseng and many adrenal supporting plant extracts) in water and lemon oil to ensure I have great mental clarity, mood and energy. Sometimes I just open a Ningxia Red sachet or Ningxia Nitro tube when I am on the go. I take these usually in between meals. The Ningxia Nitro is like my “triple strength” jet lag buster…compared to Ningxia Red…. Taking them together tastes great. (I would not take Ningxia Nitro at night, unless I need to stay up and work late!) Unlike caffeine, adaptogens do not give you the “crash”.
Note: The essential oils that I am using are Young Living essential oils only (and not every one is suitable for ingestion). They have their own farms and are open to anyone visiting them. I am sure if one has direct access to the growers and knows for sure of the pure AND therapeutic quality (two different things) they are free to do what they feel comfortable. Since I don’t have that access, like most people including most “aromatherapists”, I have only chosen to do what I do after thorough research, personal experience and learning from other long-term users’ experience. For Pitfalls and Potentials of using essential oils, see my article here >>> For more elaboration of the above, and a practical introduction to the world of natural medicine with aromatic plant essences, you are recommended to come to one of our upcoming “Self Care with Essential Oils” experiential sessions. Or check this out as a start.
Other products mentioned are mostly available from the i-Detox store. And I hope you can find them near you if you are not located in Hong Kong. (We do ship in the region.) I got my glass bottle from Wholefoods in the US. Hope the above solutions are helpful! Wherever you are in the world now, be well and stay safe!