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Keeping Healthy While Flying

Advice for travelers who want to stay healthy on those long, cramped airplane flights.
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Kaminoff does not advise the kind of exertion that comes from doing "deep knee bends in the back of the plane." Instead, he encourages plane travelers to contract their calf muscles.

"Your calves are often called your second heart because of the role they play in helping pump venous blood from the lower extremities," he notes. Something as simple as tapping the feet will do nicely; this type of movement will also create movement in the shins and thighs, and even in the hip joint.

There's another way to encourage movement. "If you just keep drinking water you will be fine, because you have to get up and use the lavatory," Kaminoff says.

Eat Little

Pratima Raichur, a chemist, botanist, and aesthetician who owns Pratima Ayurvedic Skin Care in New York, advises against drinking ice-cold or cold water. That's because, according to Ayurvedic principles, being in the air parallels Vata, a particular Ayurvedic constitution that is dry, does not like the cold, and denotes a delicate digestive system. In other words, says Raichur, with Vata energy already exaggerated in the airplane cabin, it's important to make choices that decrease Vata.

Her advice? Take a pass on cold foods, such as raw salads, in favor of warm nourishment. Decline carbonated beverages, which are full of gas. Favor warm liquids, and choose tea over coffee. Because it's harder to digest food in ultra-Vata conditions, it's better to eat a meal before boarding the plane.

If a person's flight is long, one possibility is to bring one's favorite teas and food and "eat as little and light as possible." Raichur, who says that steamed vegetables are always a good bet, likes to take "kichidi," a combination of rice and beans that is flavored with warming herbs like cumin, coriander, clove, and a pinch of cinnamon. Fennel seeds are also good for digestion, she says.

Hydrate Your Skin

Raichur, who wrote the book Absolute Beauty, values hydrating as a protective element for the skin. In addition to carrying water in a spray bottle to spray directly on the face, one can also use essential oils. For Raichur, the best essential oils for hydrating are geranium, rose, sweet orange and lemon, either alone or in combination. She advises adding a total of 10 drops to 4 ounces of water.

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