TCM and Jet Lag

Jet lag is a form of extreme mental and physical tiredness, often combined with strong lethargy, following a long flight that crossed several time zones. It is difficult for a person to adjust to the new time, and sleeping patterns are commonly really disturbed. It can be really irritating, especially at the start of a short dream holiday, and it is typical for a person to feel quite dizzy, disorientated, and generally out of sorts. Sleeping habits can also be disjointed and out of kilter.

Internal Body Clock Issues

Crossing time zones quickly, as is the case with long flights, upsets the body’s natural cycle. It is common to hear people talking about their internal body clock – it is this that is disturbed by jet lag. 

Bodily processes work around the clock, and each part of the body has its main activity times as per the internal body clock. For example, the digestive system operates at a regular time in the day, as do the kidneys, and the lungs also have a specific peak time. Whilst our mind knows that we have crossed time zones, or body, organs, and internal processes find it harder to adapt.  

In general, it takes around one day to recover from crossing one time zone. So it follows that it takes more time for someone to get over a longer flight.

TCM Tips To Overcome Jet Lag

Traditional Chinese Medicine, often abbreviated to TCM, can work wonders in helping people to combat the effects of jet lag after flying across the world. 

TCM uses a holistic approach to restore well being right across the body. Targeting the mind, body, and soul, TCM seeks to alleviate all problems that a person is facing. There are several TCM treatments that can be used to lessen the effects of jet lag and have you feeling right as rain in no time. You can use a variety of methods together if you want to.

Herbal therapy and remedies are often used as a way of helping a person’s body to adjust, which can lead to better feelings of overall well-being. It is recommended to start taking some herbal treatments some weeks before you actually travel in order to make you feel better quicker. Echinacea and St John’s Wort are often said to be particularly effective.   

Passion flower is recommended to reduce anxiety on a flight and make you feel calmer overall. Siberian ginseng is good for combating any negative aspects of travelling and increases stamina. Wu wei zi can help you to feel more energized and revitalized after a flight. Chamomile has mild sedative properties, and is therefore an excellent choice for aiding sleep both in flight and for the first few nights in a new country. Often used to help with sleeping problems and insomnia, valerian can help you to sleep well when you arrive. 

Homeopathic remedies are also sometimes used. 

What you eat and drink can play a big part in how quickly you start to feel better when suffering from jet lag.  

Avoiding spicy and fatty foods on the flight is advised. Alcohol can make jet lag worse, and one should avoid alcoholic drinks and drink as much water as possible when in the air. Being hydrated is a really important factor when thinking about problems with jet lag. 

You can massage acupressure points throughout the flight to help your body to prepare for the changes to come. These points stimulate the meridians, key lines of energy that flow through the body and help to maintain harmony. They can also be massaged when you arrive for almost instant relief. There is a spot on the forehead, above your nose, which when you lightly rub it can help to ease stress and make you feel calmer. A part of the wrist, known as Heart 7, is good for insomnia. The ears can also help the flow of essential energy around the body and aid with relaxation. 

Acupuncture can also help. It is similar to acupressure in that it stimulates certain pressure points around the body to help Chi energy, flow better, but it involves small needles being placed into the skin’s surface. In many large cities around the world it is possible to find acupuncture practitioners who specialise in acupuncture for jet lag. 

Body massages are a great way to ease tensions and relieve jet lag – look for an experienced and professional massage parlour and enjoy a soothing massage shortly after you land.

Although it can be really difficult, you should try and get as much sleep on night flights as possible. It is also important that when you arrive in a new place that you try and adapt to the local time in terms of sleep as quickly as possible; try and go to bed at a normal time on your first night, and wake up the following morning at a regular time – avoid the temptation to have a lie in! You should also try and avoid napping throughout the day on your first day of arrival after landing.