I grew up in a household without a lot of extra money, which meant that our travels were limited. Although my parents made sure we had our fill of weekend adventures, we definitely weren't hopping planes to Disney World on a regular basis. We stayed local, and I cultivated grand plans of all the overseas vacations I would take when I was a grownup and no longer afflicted with a case of the poors.Then adulthood came, and these dreams became tainted with the knowledge that, to get to these exotic destinations, I would actually have to get on a plane. I have been terrified of heights since I can remember, and any quick downward movement makes me nauseous. You would have to put a gun to my head to get me to ride a roller-coaster; even swingsets make my stomach flutter.
As a result of these issues, I didn't get on a plane until I was 26. Despite my terror of flying, I forced myself to book a flight, realizing that I would never see the world if I succumbed to my fear. And so, at 26, I proudly stepped off a plane for the first time and headed to the airport bar to celebrate the beginning of my new life of travel and adventure.
A few hours later, I wasn't so excited anymore. I was exhausted. My throat hurt a little, as if I was coming down with something...and my head ached. What was wrong with me?
In my inexperience, I had never even thought about the issue of jet lag. I assumed that the moment you hopped off the plane, the party would begin. I never imagined that I would feel so run-down, so achy and tired after doing nothing other than sitting in one place for hours. But jet lag it was, and it took me days to recover from it. I managed to do all the things I had planned, but I was in a daze the entire time. I could have gotten so much more enjoyment out of that first trip if only I'd known about acupuncture!
If you are traveling, visiting your acupuncturist first can help avoid this annoying jet lag issue. It can also help with anxiety, if you are nervous about flying. My protocol consists of a three parts: a treatment to relax you, leaving seeds in your ears to stimulate during and after the flight, and "homework" instructions. The ear seeds will stimulate certain points to regulate your circadian clock (this is the internal system that regulates timing-when to sleep, and when to awaken.) The homework will consist of having you press certain points on your body at scheduled times during the flight. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ system peaks at a particular time. By stimulating a master point of each of these systems at their peak time, you will assist your body in staying on track and not getting confused by the time change-which is the root of the jet lag. I flew to Japan a few years ago using this system, and I had no jet lag at all, after a 17 hour flight.
So, if you are planning a trip and want to make the transition as pleasant as possible, come see me first. Why waste the first few days of your trip feeling like a zombie when you don't have to?