Lisa Ahlström
Lisa Ahlström


Wellbeing • October 2017

How to stay healthy on your travels

There’s no denying travel can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. But, says Lisa Ahlström, doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, follow these simple (and natural) steps before, during and after your flight, and you could step off the plane feeling re-energised

Eat right

Eat right

The digestive and immune systems work closely together, which is why diet plays a vital role in staying healthy. Eat lighter, preferably warm, meals before and during your flight. Warm foods aid digestion. Upon arrival, try to eat in accord with your time zone, which will help your body adjust to its new schedule.


Keep hydrated

Fizzy drinks, coffee and other sweet beverages contribute to dehydration, so prioritise plain water – drink at least one cup every hour in flight ­– and avoid alcohol. It is dehydrating and compromises the immune system. If you need a warm drink, try hot water with lemon.

Listen up

Listen up

If you feel antsy during your flight, try meditation to calm yourself down or to help you fall asleep. Counting breaths is a simple technique to strengthen the brain centres that help you relax. There are also free apps, such as Headspace or Calm, for those who need guidance.


Move around

Long periods of sitting decrease circulation, so walk around the plane when it is safe to do so. Activate the blood with simple exercises in your seat such as ankle and wrist turns, shoulder and neck rolls, forward bends, and contractions of abdominal and gluteal muscles. Between flights, use airports to walk around or do some light exercise.



Self-massage is great for improving circulation and reducing swelling. Gently squeeze fingertips and toes to move fluids, and rub the belly clockwise in a circular motion to alleviate digestive upset.

Get acupuncture

Get acupuncture

Much like the Western circadian clock, acupuncture theory states that the body’s energy flows through different organs at different times of the day. When travelling, we eat and sleep at different times, which is why digestive upset and sleep disruptions are common. Visit an acupuncturist after arrival – it’s a natural and effective way to help mitigate symptoms of jet lag.


The power of scents

Aromatherapy is a great way to battle jet lag. Lavender helps induce a relaxed state, while citrussy smells can help us feel alert. My favourite blends at the moment are doTERRA Serenity Oil ($40) to take the edge off, while doTERRA Citrus Bliss ($20) puts a pep in my step. Rubbing a little peppermint oil on the belly can help alleviate an upset stomach.

Lisa Ahlström is the resident acupuncturist at London’s Gazelli House

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This article has been tagged Opinion, Wellbeing