Heathier and more comfortable air travel

Long haul air travel affects the human body in various ways. The extent to which the different factors impact on us varies from person to person, however, there are a few simple steps that can be taken to lessen some of the discomforting symptoms you may encounter.

The following points are simply suggestions and you should always consult your Nature Cure health practitioner with regard to any health concerns.

10 GOOD IDEAS FOR BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER A FLIGHT

  1. Pre-Flight Exercise: Aerobic exercise such as jogging, cycling and swimming, even for only half an hour, can help improve circulation for several hours afterwards and is recommended before a long flight.
  2. What To Drink: The air on aeroplane is extremely dry and it is easy to become dehydrated. The best advice when flying is to drink as much still water as possible – most airlines will provide drinking water on request, but it would be advisable to take a large bottle of mineral water on board with you (Take an empty bottle and after security checks ask the cafe to fill it for you – lots cheaper than the very expensive water they will try and sell you!). The general nature cure advice to not drink too much does not apply when flying as the cabin air is artificially kept dry to prevent corrosion to metal components and thus there is a substantial loss of water through the lungs. Fizzy drinks are not recommended because the gas expands in the stomach at altitude. Alcoholic drinks are best avoided because they act as a diuretic and they are more potent when flying.
  3. What To Eat: Many foods are gas-forming and, like fizzy drinks, can make the stomach swell uncomfortably. The best foods are fruits and salads, whilst the following should be avoided where possible: meat (which is difficult to digest), beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, turnips, Brussels sprouts and anything with a high roughage content. In addition, if you find air travel stressful, it is best to avoid chocolates, soft cheeses, citrus fruits, yeast extract and red wine, all of which can cause hypertension.
  4. Feeling Fresh on Arrival: In order to lessen the debilitating effects of tiredness on arrival it is advisable to keep up your levels of beta-carotene. Scientific research has shown that drinking carrot juice two or three days before flying can make you feel much fresher on arrival by helping to retain more oxygen in your blood stream.
  5. Avoiding Bugs: The air on aeroplanes is filtered and recycled. Despite the filter, there will be some bugs in the cabin and because of the multinational nature of airline passengers, you may have a low :resistance to some of these bugs. A dose of apple and blackcurrant juice ( made from concentrate and diluted appropriately) prior to traveling will give you a good dose of natural vitamin C. Aerobic exercise before and after (i.e. heart and lungs) will help to reduce your chances
  6. Minimising Ear Pain: Change in cabin pressure, particularly during take-off and landing may cause some discomfort in the ears. This is relieved by swallowing which releases pressure on the middle ear. A clove placed in the mouth or a strong mint (natural ofcourse!) can help. Please read catarrhal tendencies obtainable from www.NatureCure.Co.Uk (catarrh is often the BIG culprit)
  7. What To Wear: The two factors to consider are determined by the cabin environment: your body inflates during flight and the cabin temperature can be very cool. Therefore, loose clothes, loose shoes and an extra sweater are a must. Tight and restrictive under garments and clothes should be avoided. Compression hose can help improve circulation but ensure not too tight to avoid restricting circulation.
  8. Avoiding Air Sickness: Passengers who are predisposed to air-sickness or anxiety may prefer a window seat. It is suggested that these conditions can be caused by disorientation due to the aircraft’s movement and being able to see out of the window can help to alleviate the symptoms. Natural anti-sickness tablets containing ginger and wrist-bands are available at any high-street chemist (alternatively honey and ginger sandwiches are also effective).
  9. Swollen Feet: The lack of opportunities to move about during flight can result in the most common symptom of air travel: swollen feet, ankles and legs. This condition is due to poor circulation and here are several simple methods to encourage good circulation while on board: if possible walk about occasionally during the flight, or simulate walking by moving your feet up and down (ideally for 15 minutes of every hour): keep your hand luggage on the floor in front of you and rest your feet on it so that your thighs are clear of the edge of the seat. The normal nature cure diet (see article) provides essential nutrients to ensure that your blood is relatively thin and thus less likely to give you cause for concern. Passengers with a history of varicose veins or venous thrombosis should wear compression hose.
  10. On Arrival: To lessen the impact of jet lag you should synchronise yourself to local time as much as possible, limiting yourself to short naps during the daytime. Exposure to daylight on arrival helps to speed up the process as does sticking to local meal times. The best foods to choose on arrival are salads & complex carbohydrates such as muesli, sandwiches, pasta, rice and potatoes, plus bio yogurts and fresh fruit. Dried fruit can help alleviate constipation. Jet lag is normally more pronounced when flying from west to east.

If you would like more detailed advice about healthier flying please visit the Aviation Health Institute’s website at www.aviation-health.org