Travel Healthy This Holiday Season by Grace Calihan, ND, LAc

The holidays are coming, and with them come certain challenges.  It’s busy, it can be stressful, and ‘tis the season for colds and flus.  Travel makes us especially susceptible to getting sick, but there are ways to protect yourself so you can enjoy this holiday season.
The first factor to consider is stress.  With airport lines and unpredictable weather, travel can be very stressful.  And just five minutes of a strong negative emotion, such as anger or anxiety, can knock down our immune system for six hours.  If you respond to stress with strong negative emotions, it might be a good time to explore stress-relieving techniques.  Exercise, prayer, or even a few deep breaths can improve the way we react to stress.  If you don’t have a system in place to manage your stress, consider investing in a stress-reduction app for your smartphone like ‘Stress Relief: Relax and Recharge’ by Interstate Industries or ‘Guided Meditation & Deep Relaxation’ by MindValley or simply load your ipod with calming music.  These portable tools can have a big impact on travel day.
Airplane travel can have a huge impact on our health.  The closed environment of an airplane contains dry, pressurized air, and cosmic radiation exposure increases with the high altitude of flying.  These factors can cause challenges for our immune system, respiratory system, and detoxification pathways.  Boost your immune system with extra vitamin C (1000 mg) or an immune throat spray to protect yourself from germs that recirculate throughout the flight.  Increase antioxidant intake (found in green tea and colorful fruits and vegetables) to help protect yourself from the radiation exposure of high altitude flying.  Support your liver with herbs like Milk Thistle (Sylibum marianum) (300 mg) or a detox tea to counteract toxins you may be exposed to on flight.  And finally, stick to bottled water at the airport, as groundwater and reservoirs near airports are often contaminated by jet fuel run-off.
Car travel can also tax our immune systems.  Long periods of sitting in a car can cause our lymphatic system to become stagnant.  Lymph circulation, which helps rid our systems of toxins and cold and flu viruses, is dependent on moving around.  Take breaks every hour or two to stretch your legs and walk around, be sure to opt for healthy foods on the road, and drink plenty of water.
At Springs Natural Medicine, we can give you more specific advice on healthy travel or about any symptoms you may encounter while traveling including anxiety, jet-lag, swollen ankles, headaches, or digestive complaints.  We look forward to working with you and bringing you to optimal health this travel season. Contact us today.

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