As the school year winds down and the weather brightens, everyone is headed for vacation land. When traveling, pack along these tips to keep your health and longevity intact on the journey. Bon voyage!
1. Shake off jet lag. Nothing is worse than arriving to your vacation spot, only to find you feel listless and fatigued from jet lag. Our body's biological clock, also called circadian rhythm, is tuned by light from the sun.
To quickly restore your body's clock while crossing multiple time zones, soak up the sun for 30 minutes when you arrive at your destination. If you arrive at night, take one milligram of melatonin, a natural hormone produced by the body's pineal gland, one hour before bedtime to help you reset your internal clock.
2. Sleep well. Whether jet-lag is the culprit or the change of scenery is giving you a change in sleep patterns, you can get your zzz's with these remedies:
• Add two drops of rosemary oil to one cup of warm water and drink in the evening two hours before bedtime.
• Valerian and chamomile teas are both good for relaxing and regulating sleep; these are best taken at night.
• Essential oils of lavender, geranium, and rosemary are useful aromatherapies for jet lag. Massage them into acupressure points below or simply the temples.
3. Stay hydrated. Prolonged travel, especially by airplane, is a dehydrating affair, leading to uncomfortable conditions like headaches. Drink at least 80 oz of water per day at room temperature. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol, which dehydrate you.
4. Stress-free with flexibility. Travel is often unpredictable, and the best way to overcome the stress of encountering an unexpected sticky situation is to adopt an attitude of flexibility.
Remember that everything that happens, whether bad or good, is all a part of your travel adventure. If you find yourself in an especially stressful place, take a few deep breaths, put the problem in perspective, and you will feel ready to take the next step.
5. Combat stiffness with stretching. Stuffed into a car, a tiny airplane seat, or wherever you find yourself in your travels, do your best to get some stretching time in. Take breaks on car trips to walk around, do some knee bends, and gently move all of your joints around in a circular motion.
On an airplane, try to stretch in the aisles, if permissible. If not, you can do some gentle stretching in your seat. Breathe deeply and move your head from side to side. Alternate pulling your knee gently to your torso. Raise your arms above your head and really stretch. You will arrive at your destination refreshed instead of stiff.
6. Snack-tacular. Feeling hungry on the road is no fun. Bring along a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to up your energy and curb your hunger. Avoid eating big meals. Studies show that under-eating can reduce symptoms of jet lag.
7. Combat motion sickness with ginger. Whether you take it in tea form, candied, or as capsules, ginger alleviates digestive distress. As an added benefit, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can help inhibit the onset of migraine headaches. If you know you are prone to motion sickness, begin a ginger treatment a couple of days before your trip and continue to use ginger throughout your travels.
8. Take dandelion for TD. When a traveler's diarrhea episode strikes, drink plenty of liquid to avoid dehydration and make tea from dandelion root. You can bring along a few tea bags and drink one cup three times a day. Adding skullcap from your Chinese pharmacy will boost the effect.
9. Leave yourself plenty of time. Rushing around is a sure-fire way to put hiccups in your travel plans-cutting into your vacation time. If you really have trouble adhering to a schedule, write up a simple list with departure times marked 15 minutes earlier than they really are.
Between traffic, long lines, and other likely obstacles, you will thank yourself. And if you're left with extra time, listen to music, read, or stretch in your seat.
10. Give yourself a break. Hit the reset button on your energy with this dao in massage: take one of your heels and rub it against the sole of your other foot until you feel heat in the massaged foot, then reverse the feet and repeat with your other heel. This will stimulate blood flow into the lower extremities (great for tired travel legs!), and it also activates an important acupuncture point for energy and vitality called Gushing Spring.
I hope you have safe and healthy travels! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
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To learn more about Dr. Mao and other natural health tips, go to askdrmao.com.
To purchase Dr. Mao's book, "Secrets of Self Healing," click here.