7 Natural Tips for Healthy Flying

Here in the UK, the Summer holidays are upon us. The schools have finished for their extended six week break, and families are jetting off to sunny places for some rest and relaxation, despite it having been unusually hot on our shores for the last month or so! And so many patients in clinic have been asking exactly HOW I managed my 24 hour flight to Australia earlier in the year, despite having a BIG fear of flying, AND suffering crippling travel / air / altitude sickness.

So today I am sharing the WHAT – those specific things that went into my carry-on hand luggage – yes, all the right sizes and no dodgy restrictions – that got me through the seven flights I did in March. It did raise a few eyebrows from the folks sitting next to me every time I got out my “flying survival toolkit”, but it became somewhat of a talking point, and I KNOW there will be things in here that will help you too, especially if you’re not a big fan of planes!

.

healthy flying tool kit.

1. Acupressure Travel Bands

As an acupuncturist, the one security blanket you have is that you can put needles in yourself to treat acute conditions e.g. sickness or migraine, to give instant and immediate relief. Even THINK about going near a plane, and all sharp objects, including your gorgeous, magic, special little needles are out of the question. Cue freaking out. Ok, when I calmed down, I realised acupressure was my new best friend.

So called “travel bands” are available from Boots (in the UK), and most pharmacies, or online – heck, I even lost one of my wrist bands on the first leg of my homeward bound journey, and managed to pick up a replacement in Singapore airport!

You wear them like wrist bands, and they have a plastic half-sphere on the inside. They work by stimulating an acupuncture point called Pc 6 or “neiguan”, which is translated as “inner gate”. The deep pathway of the channel goes directly through the stomach, which harmonises and settles the organ, keeping Qi (energy) down, instead of it rising up which causes you to feel (or actually be) sick. Having acupuncture on this point BEFORE you go can also help massively.

The main time I remember thinking I might actually vomit on the flight from Heathrow to Singapore (to then go on to Brisbane), I looked at my wrist bands and they had moved off the Pc 6 point – a small adjustment, and the nausea ceased again. It is important to get the point location exact, else these bands won’t work for you – I have a sheet on my website that I give to patients before they travel, just to make sure they are guided properly to putting the bands on correctly.

I also used a second pair of the bands on my feet to stimulate the acupuncture point Kid 1 – to “ground” my energy DOWN as much as possible, whilst being up in the air! And an acupressure plaster on He 7, to help calm my anxiety and nerves. Acupressure really rocks!

.

2. Homeopathic Remedies

Before I travelled, I went to see my fabulously lovely homeopath, Jill Roarty, so that I could have a range of remedies tailored to my needs and my personality. The main one for altitude sickness was Coca, and it works like a dream! I had a special jet lag formula, and a strong dose of arnica, to take whilst on the flight, to help the adjustment to the new time zone – I didn’t have ANY jet lag when I arrived in Australia! Plus a couple of other remedies to help with my anxiety, fear of freaking out when “trapped” inside the airplane for 14 hours etc… and I was ok!

.

3. Flower Remedies or Essences

Bach Rescue Remedy is a staple in my first aid kit, and the smaller “flight friendly” bottle (double check when you buy) definitely went in to the “flight survival pack”, to calm the nerves. This was especially useful in the airport BEFORE the flight. And it seemed only fitting to have an Australian Bush Flower Essence in there too, especially as I was flying to Aus! The “TRAVEL” essence was perfect, and I took it before, during and after the flights. It helps energetics wise, when you’re in such close proximity to strangers when travelling, as well as tiredness, jet lag, adjusting to new places and time zones.

.

4. Aromatherapy

I also had two bespoke remedies blended for me by great aromatherapist Jo Partridge. They come in “flight friendly” rollerball vials. One was very calming, with rose, geranium and a couple of others. It was great when the nerves started to creep up, I just dabbed some on my wrists, so the oils could be absorbed easily. The other blend had very grounding scents including vetiver and lavender. This again helped to keep my Qi down, despite being up in the air!

.

5. Throat Sprays

I am always treating patients who have had a fabulous holiday, but come home with a sore throat, or a cough / cold they have picked up on the plane. Too many people in very close proximity, and the re-circulated air, does nothing for keeping well. I pre-empt this, and ensure my throat is supported, reducing the likelihood of nasties getting in and setting up camp. Higher Nature Colloidal Silver is good at “sterilising” the air around you on a plane – I spritzed this around my face and seating area every few hours, as well as directly spraying the back of my throat to “kill any bugs” that I might be breathing in. Additionally, the A.Vogel echinacea throat spray is fabulous for boosting and supporting the immune system, plus sage is antibacterial and soothes any soreness.

.

6. Skin Hyrdation

Apart from drinking TONS of water on the plane – make sure you buy a large bottle once you have gone through security, especially if you’re headed on long-haul – I used the deliciously scented face mist from Liz Earle. It’s for mature or very dry skin – but don’t let that put you off, it is natural and exactly what your poor dehydrated skin requires… and need I say, NO makeup is essential.

.

7. Fear of Flying Audios

One last thing that wasn’t in my “travel survival pack” as such, but it really helped to prepare me before the long-haul flights, both to AND from Australia – Flying Without Fear audios and books. I really cannot recommend them highly enough. They dispel all the common misconceptions – did you know there are no such thing as air pockets?! They go through all the various sounds you might hear onboard, so you don’t jump to the conclusion that the clunk you just heard is the wing about to fall off! And they gave me my mantra of 24hrs – “turbulence is NOT dangerous, it is JUST uncomfortable”. My goodness, that got me through it!

.

I cannot tell you how much all of these things helped during my travels. Until this year, I didn’t think I could ever fly again after a 7 year absence, or that if I did, I would have to be drugged up to the eyeballs on medication, which is just NOT me! You CAN travel naturally and keep healthy! Do let me know if you try any of these yourself over the summer vacation, or if you have something else I could add to my travel toolkit… what is your number one fail-safe thing to have when you are travelling? Or could you benefit from acupuncture on Pc 6 before you go on holiday to help with travel sickness? Get in touch!

Wishing you safe travels and a restful break, wherever you are headed

R xx

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

Visit the website

Now on Instagram

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

Visit the YouTube Channel

Check out my Pinterest

.

Advertisements

Belated Post: Why I’m Going to Australia

I just found the following in my travel journal, and wanted to share – kind of a #latergram for the blog world… have altered ever so slightly from its original version to make is appropriate for this space. Enjoy! R x

UK to Australia

I’m sat in Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight to Singapore, which will eventually lead me to Brisbane, Australia. I got here super early as my Water needed to be at the airport – all risks of missing the flight, getting stuck in traffic, rushing, rising panic, eliminated by arriving early… that’s what Water is about, assessing and eliminating risk. So, with this in mind, you won’t be surprised that I am NOT a good flier… this means ANY flight is super frightening, and even contemplating (let alone booking!) a 24 hour flight to the other side of the world sets off the alarm bells on the “risk assessor”, big time! So this trip is a pretty BIG deal.

Why am I even thinking about it then?! Well, if you had treatment with me in clinic during 2012, chances are you know it was an incredibly challenging time health wise for me – repeated bouts of tonsillitis, then a severe unknown virus that affected my liver and kidneys, leaving me with chronic adrenal fatigue. And although I am TONS better, I still get some relapses of fatigue. The Christmas break had a couple, and heading in to 2013 I saw the potential for more episodes… with all the reflection and taking stock that comes with the arrival of a new year, I wanted 2013 to be about POSITIVE health, and to bring some new INSPIRATION, products, opportunities and services to my practice. I really want 2013 to be DIFFERENT to last year. I didn’t know how to make it different… so I went to the complete OPPOSITE end of the spectrum in terms of my comfort zone. And as Thomas Jefferson said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”… and I have certainly never done anything as big, SCARY or crazy as this!

Thomas Jefferson

This place [Heathrow] is so busy, the energy is crazy – busy, nervous, jittery, exhausting, tearful – waaay too much for a Water Element who is already scared, nervous and jittery. I am having to remind myself of the STILLNESS that is a virtue of the Water Element – see, we do have a positive flip side to all that scary fear! Sitting in a corner, quietly listening to meditations on my ipod is the only thing keeping my nerves at bay. I see some children. They are tired, scared, overwhelmed, and not being understood by their parents – behind the tears is fear. I empathise hugely. I feel just like them.

I am tired, but hopefully that will (for once in this chronic adrenal fatigue journey) go in my favour as I board a night flight. I am scared about the flight, scared of being trapped onboard, scared of freaking out, scared about vomiting for 24 hours, scared of not being able to sleep, scared of horrendous jet lag, scared the trip will make my chronic fatigue worse, scared I will spend the whole time in Australia in bed, even scared that I will love it so much out there I won’t want to come home – yeah, a whole BIG BUCKET of scared.

Tony Robbins

But I know I HAVE to do this. The importance of this trip is MASSIVE. Things in my life need to CHANGE, and as Tony Robbins says, “By changing nothing, nothing changes…” So yeah, I’m changing it up. Changing it up in the BIGGEST way possible. And I have NO idea what is ahead.

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

Visit the website

Now on Instagram

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

Visit the YouTube Channel

Check out my Pinterest

.

12 Days of Christmas – Fire & Water Balance

So for the last three weeks my life has been in limbo whilst everything else (except treating in clinic of course) has been put on hold for me to revise for my paediatric acupuncture exams. Ideally, I had wanted to merge my 30th birthday celebrations in November, straight into Christmas loveliness, but sadly it was not to be. I have been absolutely itching for my Christmas season to get started, but have had to hit the books in every spare waking moment! But the exams were today (three of them, lasting the entire day!), and now my Christmas can officially begin! Yay!

To celebrate the fact I can now embrace Christmas in all its excess sparkliness and magic, I am partaking in “12 days of Christmas”, where I intend to do one thing each day that is inherently of festive spirit! And as it is me, there might be a couple of healthy holiday activities, a big dose of self-care, but it might be purely because it is good for the spirit, not hugely virtuous – even I like to indulge a little at this time of year! Why not join me and enjoy 12 days of Christmas joy?! Post photos of your Christmassy things each day over on my Facebook page – you’ll find all my photos there too!

And speaking of Christmas spirit, it is THE part of the holidays that I adore the MOST – how it makes me FEEL. This year is a little different in the fact that I have had to “put a cork in it” for the last few weeks, and the bubbles, sparkles, excitement and magic have been building up and building up, so now it is all gushing out in a waterfall of child-like craziness! It is this pure JOY, merriment, warmth, and upward, outward energy that corresponds to the Fire Element. Fire is all about socialising, love, celebration, parties, connections to others and joy! And this is EXACTLY what Christmas is about! Everyone gathering around an open fire, exchanging presents and good wishes, drinking mulled wine, smiling, laughing, loving – that IS Fire. I love how literal Chinese Medicine is sometimes – or most of the time actually, a lot of the theory comes from observing nature around us.

open-fire-in-fireplace

.

But for those of you who have read about Water on this blog before, you may be thinking “but Christmas is in Water Winter time, not Fire time” – yes, this is true, unless you are lucky enough to live in the Southern Hemisphere (Hello Aussies and Kiwis!), the Fire time of the year is the Summer, and it is the traditional time for warm, sociable Yang energy – think BBQs, garden parties, days at the beach with family and friends – we do more, socialize more, enjoy time together. Winter is a Water time of the year where we hibernate, stay indoors, do less, go to bed earlier, enjoy a more inward, still Yin energy.

Yin-Yang-Fire-Ice

.

And yet our Christmas celebrations seem to be at odds with the seasonal energy at this time of year. But it is all about BALANCE – Fire and Water balance each other out. Without the Water to temper and dampen down the Fire, it can rage and burn out of control – this is like getting sunstroke from too much sun and not enough water to rehydrate you. There are many other conditions I treat in clinic that have an imbalance of Fire and Water at their root – menopausal hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia and heartbreak to name but a few.

Conversely, if we do not have enough warmth from Fire, the Water becomes frozen, the Fire is needed to warm the Water, to make it bubble, sparkle and move. And this is exactly what we get at Christmas – we need the joy, excitement, fun, love and light at the very darkest, coldest part of the year – it’s like the candles, the lights on the tree, tinsel and sequinned decorations that shine and reflect the light and warmth. Just seeing a tree decorated beautifully makes me smile and brings me happiness. Without this, the deepest depths of Watery Winter would be pretty tough to get through.

candles

And that is also what acupuncture is about – bringing balance; balance to the body, mind, spirit and emotions. If you think acupuncture could help you with your balance of Fire and Water, don’t hesitate to contact me! And don’t forget to share your 12 days of Christmas JOY with me on my Facebook page – for my first day, I bought myself some festive flowers, partly for the Christmassy spirit, but also to congratulate myself on getting through all my exams! Go have a look at the photo, they’re BEAUTIFUL! Off to bed now, see you tomorrow for day 2!

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

Visit the website

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

.

CSI: Energy

So did anyone catch last Tuesday’s CSI: Miami on Channel 5 (Season 9, Ep 13)? I love this programme, but it was almost a bit too scary for me last week to be honest – though it had just the right amount of analytical working out who-did-what for me to keep with the episode.

Horatio Caine once again attempted to track down a dangerous fugitive called Memmo Fierro, who in earlier episodes, had escaped from prison, coldly killed countless innocent people and threatened to take over control of Miami from the police. Half way through, a legal representative who threatened to expose the gang and their plans had her throat cut by an “old man” in broad daylight, which was almost enough for me to turn over to something more lighthearted, but the energy change I felt in my own body made me curious. I had felt this before when I had indeed switched off the television completely. I knew this energy, and I knew the person who had made this energy move like this in my body… I said out loud to the others in my living room, “that old man is Memmo!”. They, like the characters in CSI: Miami, insisted the killer was an old man… but the story unfolded to reveal that the hideous Memmo was indeed wearing an “old man” prosthetic mask when he killed the lady.

There were comments of “how did you know that?” and “you should be a detective!”, and I replied with “I am already a detective”… and I am, a detective in Chinese Medicine. I have to figure out what is going on in a patient’s body and emotions, track down what could have contributed to certain symptoms starting, when they might have started, who else in their lives might be impacting upon their health – a body and energetics whodunnit, or a CSI of energy! And this is all before I even pick up a needle, or decide on appropriate points!

So how did I know it was Memmo in a mask, purely from the way he made me feel? Well, we all have emotions and they create a certain movement of energy within our bodies. For example, anger (Wood Element emotion) can make our energies rise upwards – it can come out as a shout, or get stuck in the chest causing stagnation of Qi and a lot of sighing. Fear (Water Element emotion) makes Qi (or energy) descend, we can become frozen, pulling our lower backs in and down.

Worry or overthinking (Earth Element emotion) can cause our stomachs to feel strange and our appetites to disappear. Sadness or grief (Metal Element emotion) dissipates energy, causing our shoulders to hunch inwards and our breathing to become stifled. Even Joy (Fire Element emotion) can become pathogenic if experienced too much, our hearts become too overwhelmed with the upward energy and it can turn to mania… more common is the opposite, a “lack of joy”, which is a flatness of energy, which barely moves at all – a kind of depression… we all know how we feel when we have watched something particularly depressing, it is hard to even move off the couch afterwards.

I knew it was Memmo from the shock felt in my body – my energy went down, his matter-of-fact coldness made my body freeze, I stopped breathing a little, then only shallow breaths… my fight or flight mechanism had been activated and I wanted to stop watching – this was exactly the reaction my body and emotions had had in the episode that tracked his escape from jail.

At the end of the episode on Tuesday night, I realised I had been holding myself rigid, my diaphragm felt tight, and I needed to loudly “breathe out” the worry, fear and anxiety that had been building to a crescendo through the programme. A member of my household remarked, “but it is only pretend, its not real”, to which I said, “but the emotions evoked, and movements of energy in the body are real, whether the programme is or not…” So keep that in mind next time you watch an emotional rollercoaster of a film – the energies in your body are moving and changing as if the situation you’re watching was real, and this can have an impact on your health!

If you would like more information on how your emotions might be affecting your health, visit the website, or call to talk through how acupuncture could positively help you.