Four Travel Essentials Part 1: Tricks from Tibetan Medicine to help avoid exhaustion from holiday travel

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Four Travel Essentials: Tibetan Medicine tricks to help you stay healthy during travel

Part One: Lube Up!

Don’t let travel be more stressful, exhausting and health draining than it needs to be. Here are four things I never travel without doing. Do these in lieu of the four things most people do to guarantee travel exhaustion. Let a little bit of wisdom from Indian and Tibetan health practices give you support you need during the hectic and unpredictability of holiday travel. As a Buddhist teacher, frequent travel has been a mandatory part of my life’s work, its just another reason why some basic knowledge from Tibetan Medicine and Ayurveda is indispensable for someone cultivating a spiritual life! Caring for our body is caring for our mind.

One of the reasons that airplane travel is so exhausting is due the dehydration that comes with sitting in forced air for so many hours. The low humidity can be exhausting, exacerbate our chronic issues and make us more susceptible to virus. From the perspective of Tibetan medicine, keeping your mind-body channels from dehydration is not only a way to keep up our immunity and energy, it also helps to buffer our nervous system, slow down the movements of our mind and provide a sense of comfort.

Drinking plenty of water can help but you can go a step further from that. Drinking more water may not be enough of a resolution because it is not just water that keeps us hydrated, it is lymphatic fluid, mucous lining of our tissues and so on. Years or decades of chronic dehydration require water plus extra lubrication of healthy oils for the body’s tissues and channels to rejuvenate and let go of toxins. This is why cleansing in himalayan health practices always also involves oiling the body. A favorite Ayurvedic travel remedy is to oil your body the day before your travel, or if you can, for a few consecutive days before you travel.

If you are hardy, eat spice without issues, don’t have chronic health concerns and so on, then use organic sesame oil. Apply it to your entire body then take a very warm shower to steam the oil into your tissues for about ten minutes then make sure to soap it off (otherwise it will ruin your clothes). This oil warming so it counters the excessive “wind disturbances” caused by travel, thereby reducing the exhaustion, nervousness and weakness that come with wind disorders. If you tend towards inflammation, are on the more sensitive side, have chronic issues, don’t handle spice well and so on, then use organic coconut oil instead.

Likewise, while travelling make sure to avoid alcohol and caffeine which guarantee travel exhaustion. Tibetan Medicine categorize these as wind increasing, meaning they will promote further dehydration, weakness and as a result, anxiety. Instead, you can lube up from the inside as well, have warm, oily, soupy but light foods and eat a little bit of that organic coconut oil throughout your travel to keep  your intestines soft. A little bit of oil could be 1/8 of a teaspoon every two or three hours. Too much oil would lower digestive fire which is already compromised by travel.

Pema Khandro
Pema Khandro is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, humanitarian, and teacher in the rare lineage of Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis. Raised in the west, ordained in the Nyingma lineage, enthroned as a tulku and trained as an academic, Pema Khandro presents both a traditional perspective and a modern voice. Read more at: https://www.pemakhandro.org/pema-khandro-extended-biography/

  1. That sounds like a great strategy for travel. I’d heard a little of that info before but that description was at once detailed and succinct. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for this series! It’s so helpful because traveling can be so stressful during an already stressful time.

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