Is it me, or has flying ceased to be a pleasure and instead become a stressed filled obstacle course to reach your destination?
Let's explore how you can help your body sail through flying and if you are not travelling, put the information in your back pocket for when you are, or passed on to a friend who may benefit from a couple of practical tips.
I fly all the time for my work, often trans-Atlantic and I want to share a few of the tools I use to optimise my well-being and minimise any adverse effects of the stress of being up up and away,. Tips that can help make tiredness, swollen ankles, infections a thing of the past.
Let's start with common-sense.
Be comfortable in the seat: take a neck cushion, also something (like a sturdy bag) on which to place your feet so that the back of the thighs are not pressing on the seat (I find when they do my legs begin to get 'restless'). Take a lightweight but warm wrap if you feel the cold and an eye mask if you want to sleep.
Don't look back - I never, ever compare times. So as I travel through time zones, at some stage on the flight I change my watch to the destination time and avoid comparing, I will NOT think: "OMG It's 1pm here but it's really 4am in the place I've come from" - your brain will think that 4am is the reality and react accordingly.
Beat those bugs - I have a tiny little tin of Vaseline to which I add essential oils of Lavender and Tea Tree. Mix it up and before and during the flight I plaster my nostrils with this gooey stuff. Any bugs have to get through that sticky little barrier to get into my body and it's a pretty strong defender of the 'King Kingdom'.
I also have a spray of Colloidal Silver, which I swear by, it's kept me healthy travelling in North Africa for years. 3 or 4 squirts into the back of the throat seem to do the trick to protect yourself against bacterial, viral and fungal invaders.
Do you have a fear of flying? I did for many years, in fact it was so bad when I was younger that my palms used to immediately sweat if you even mentioned the words airport, flying or plane! As a teenager I would feint as soon as I sat in my seat and as a young adult in advertising, it was a constant challenge to fly to meetings around the world.
For years I struggled, until I discovered Donna Eden's (The Eden Method) techniques ...... now I view flying as almost a luxury once I'm on the plane, no phones and time alone to watch movies or read books, or simply relax and listen to music - sometimes I don't even realise we've taken off. I KNOW they work but, ever the little Metal Virgo, I wanted to prove it to myself and took a couple of flying lessons, in a tiny little plane taking off from a field. More recently in a friend's helicopter which, in my younger days, I wouldn't have even contemplated!
So THANK YOU Donna Eden! What did I do?
The Phobia Tap – to help reduce the fear you feel. Simply tap, with your fingertips, the front of your hand, between the joints of the little finger and ring finger and in a straight line down to the wrist. Close your eyes and tap vigorously, up and down this line, breathing deeply for a couple of minutes. Breathing is one of the most effective tranquillisers, so don’t ‘shallow breath’. Keep affirming: "I am safe and all is well."
If you really suffer with fear:
Hold your forehead with the palm of your right hand and the back of your head with the palm of the left hand – close your eye while breathing deeply for a couple minutes. Again repeating an affirmation about feeling safe and all being well.
Alternatively you can lightly hold your temples, perhaps rubbing in a little lavender oil.
Other helping hands to quieten your beating heart before take off include:
Healing Herbs – Mimulus. This oral flower essence is the remedy for fear of ‘known’ things.
St Johns Wort or Kava Kava – tincture or tablet, these reduces stress and anxiety
Aconite – a homeopathic tablet for panic
Argentum Nitricum – a homeopathic tablet for fear of heights
Black Eyed Susan - the Australian Bush Flower Remedy that in my opinion, is an essential tool to reduce stress.
If you suffer from straightforward travel sickness: both Coca Cola and Ginger Ale are said to relieve nausea and motion sickness. Taken at room temperature and slightly 'flat' - i.e. better if they've been open for a little while and have lost their 'fizz'.
Cocculus 30 homeopathic remedy. Take twice a day for three days before flying, during the flight and for two days after.
My problem was swollen legs, ankles and feet. To reduce this unsightly and uncomfortable problem:
Pressure/compression stockings It's worth the struggle of getting them on! I've only just started using them and boy they make a difference. Mine go just above the knee, so more like socks.
As I said before, put your feet on a solid, hard piece of hand luggage when sitting. I know they are unfashionable now but those sturdy ‘vanity cases’ were perfect for this. It takes the pressure off the back of the thighs thus helping circulation and lymph flow to the lower leg.
Every 30 minutes get up and walk up and down the plane. Make sure you get an aisle seat or you will be deeply unpopular.
There is a seating rule called DAWN: DA = day/aisle – so that you are free to move around. WN = window/night so you can choose to sleep through a night flight without fellow passengers climbing over you
Arnica – homeopathic form, helps prevent fluid retention. Take every 3 hours during the flight and twice daily for two days after arrival.
Dandelion tea has a diuretic effect [definitely make sure you are on an aisle seat].
The acupressure point KIDNEY 6 is excellent for swollen ankles. Hold it for thirty seconds on each ankle and repeat every 30 minutes. It is located in the indent just below the middle/end of the ankle bone, on the inner side. Use a firm pressure. This point is called the Shining Sea and also heals the effects on the body of too much fear.
There is an old wives tale that if you put brown paper in your shoes it will help.
If you suffer cramps take a Magnesium supplement. I will often use a spray version, I find it goes into the area more effectively. In addition, hold the big toe tightly between your forefinger and thumb. Massage a little geranium oil [mixed in a carrier oil] on the area prone to cramping.
Flying can be more dehydrating that a trip to the Gobi Desert. In addition to drinking lots of water take Nat Muir every 4 hours during the flight and for 8 hours after arrival.
However tempted you may be, do not drink any alcohol. It will only increase dehydration which is a key cause of jet lag symptoms. Fruit juices are a good alternative as they keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
I don’t care what the airlines say, I am convinced that in-flight air quality is diminishing as airlines are reducing the amount of fresh air pumped to passengers, especially in Economy Class, in an attempt to save money. Take some oxygen drops with you and add to your water.
Peppermint tea will help stop gases expanding in the stomach and creating that ‘bloated’ feeling. Take a few bags with you and ask for hot water.
Eat as little food as possible when in flight – go prepared with a healthy alternative in your bag.
You are indeed swimming in a sea of germs so your body needs a helping hand: take Echinacea tablets or tincture for a week before the flight, during and after. It will give your immune system a boost.
An alternative to the Vaseline nose rub mentioned at the beginning of this blog. Take a plastic bag filled with tissues, sprinkle in a few drops of tea tree oil along with Lavender. Take out a tissue, hold over the nose and inhale for a little extra protection when passengers around you start coughing and spluttering, naturally without the courtesy of covering their mouth!
Are you exhausted after the experience? Healing Herbs Olive remedy is the answer; take 3 drops under the tongue every 2/3 hours until you can get to bed. Alternatively, Kali Phos [small homeopathic tablets] acts as a nerve tonic. Good for exhaustion, sleepiness and tension. Take every 4 hours during the flight and every 6 for 2 days after arrival.
Can’t sleep? Try to get hold of some Melatonin. It is a natural brain chemical produced by the Pineal gland. It plays a key role in regulating the body’s daily cycle of sleep/wake. It rapidly re-synchronises the body’s time clock, so excellent for long haul flights. The best way to use it is to stay awake all day. Go to bed at about 10pm and take the [recommended dose] Melatonin at 9pm, you should sleep straight through the night and awake refreshed. If you are new to Melatonin 3mg should be sufficient.
2 tennis balls in a sock! If you suffer tension in the back and shoulders which can result in a headache. These two balls tied tightly in a sock are your new best friends. Place them against your back, one ball on either side of the spine and press back so that they press against the muscles on either side of the spine. Wiggle around to give your entire spine a massage. This also stimulates lymphatic flow and reduces swollen feet and ankles.
Firmly rub all around your ears in a clockwise direction, pull them out and massage again. Do as many times as you can during the course of the flight – it helps stimulate and balance the entire body.
Stretch your whole body as often as you can and when you arrive and are settling into your hotel room trace your meridians – starting with the one corresponding to the new time zone. If you are not sure how to trace meridians, here's a great video with Donna - see the link above.
When you get to your destination massage your feet, spoon them with a stainless steel spoon and do any of the grounding exercises you enjoy. Link to one of the videos below. If you are not sure, lots in my pdf called BAREFOOT REVOLUTION available on the website (www.madisonking.com).
Donna Eden swears by “Connect Heaven & Earth.”
Pulling yourself down into the earth.
Hand on temples
Up over and down behind the ears
down the neck and rest both hands on the heart
bring palms down the front of the body, over the hips, down the legs
Over the feet - resting heel of hands on the toes and fingertips on the ground
Stay there for a minute and set the intention/imagine/visualise your feet becoming firmly attached to the earth beneath them
Come up slowly - you can do this one standing or sitting. You might end with a great foot massage and then sit with feet on the ground, consciously connecting for a couple of minutes.
 Difficult to get in Europe but freely available in the USA and of course via the internet.