Dr Beth’s Five Sense Travel Tips
While some of us may travel for work, for many of us, traveling affords us the opportunity to be somewhere new, to get away, to experience the sights, sounds and sensations of a different place or revisit something or somewhere we’ve felt connected with in the past. Travel takes us out of familiarity, routine, and the comforts of home and can overwhelm our senses with new sights and signage, loud and unusual sounds, new tastes. Travel schedules and the experience of travel itself demands even more of our senses than our typical daily routine. For this reason, caring for our sense organs is even more important while on the road.
Sight-Seeing Takes a Toll on Your Eyes
Let’s begin with the vision.The eyes can easily find themselves on overload as they read signs, take in sights, and often work extra long hours to squeeze it all in. Two ways to care for the eyes are palming and nightly oiling.
To practice palming, place slightly cupped hands with little fingers touching above the bridge of the nose, covering the eyes to block out the light, while resting the elbows on a table (the drop-down table on airplanes is perfect for this!) Keeping the eyes open (or closed if you prefer) while covered allows the upper body, all the orbital muscles around the eyes and the ciliary muscles inside the eyes to deeply relax… Palming for even of 30 seconds can noticeably reduce tension and headaches and improve your mood. When I hold this position longer, I notice profound relaxation in the entire upper body, which affects my attitude and outlook.
Another eye care tip for travel is oiling the eyes with castor oil at night. To practice, put a drop of castor oil on a fingertip and placing it in the corner of each eye near the tear duct just before bedtime. This allows the eyes to stay moist and relax during sleep. A travel-size bottle of castor oil should live in your travel kit to bring the comforts of home with you, ensuring sound sleep wherever you are.
Each Destination has it’s Flavor
We often eat new and unusual foods when we travel, which may not always agree with our digestive systems. For this reason, I always travel with my tongue scraper. Tongue scraping can stimulate the digestive tract, clear excess bacteria from inside the mouth that accumulated during sleep and heighten our sense of taste so we can truly appreciate the new and different tastes and smells on your travels. If you forget your tongue scraper, you can always use a metal spoon, but it’s worth the small investment of having an extra which lives in your travel bag.
To use a tongue cleaner, scrape from back to front 8-10 times before brushing teeth in the morning. I always smile when my mouth is clean and sometimes I feel like singing because my mouth feels so happy and light after cleaning the tongue and brushing teeth. My sensation of taste is heightened and I also make better food choices.
Add Nasya Oil to Your Packing List
Ahh, the nose.There are so many new smells to take in when I travel, some welcome and others not so welcome. I always keep nasya oil in my travel bag, but if you forget, any oil in the nose works. Put 3-5 drops of nasya oil in each nares morning and night to keep the lymph tissue strong, help fight infection and heighten the sense of smell. Insert your fingertip 1-2 cm inside your nostril and rotate your finger until all the insides get oiled.
Care for those Listening Ears
The ears can be so easily forgotten, if not downright abused. How do we take care of this precious sense? You guessed it. It involves oil. Before going to sleep at night place a piece of a cotton ball or even a small piece of tissue with 2-3 drops of oil on it into each ear. This keeps the ear canals and the nerves operating optimally and the muscles around the ear relaxed. Take time to appreciate silence as well while traveling.Turn internally and listen.
I always carry bottle of oil for abhyanga (self-massage) anyways, which helps if I forget my nasya or my ear oil (See my blog on abhyanga while traveling for more tips.) Practicing self massage wherever I am heightens all sensations in the skin and nervous system as well as helping me stay fully present inside my body so I can be fully present in my new environment.
Prepare your Senses for Travel
The longer I work these habits while at home, the more naturally and seamlessly the sense organ habits flow into my travel life. Here’s my packing list and my go to list of sense organ practices. Use my tips to organize and get ready for your next big getaway. Follow my guidelines and packing list and I predict you will deepen your connection to your senses and have an extraordinary trip.
Dr. Beth’s Essential Sense Organ Travel Kit:
- Tongue cleaner (if forgotten use a metal spoon)
- Three ounce bottle of castor oil for the eyes
- Small Dropper bottle of nasya oil
- Bottle of oil for abhyanga that can be used in lieu of nasya and also used in the ears.
Sense Organ Care Practices For Travel:
- Palming for the eyes
- Castor oil in the eyes before sleep
- Nasya oil in the nose in the morning and before sleep
- Clean the tongue every morning, just like at home. If no tongue cleaner, use a metal spoon.
- Oil the ears before sleep with 2-3 drops on a piece of cotton ball or tissue placed just inside the ear canal
- Take time to enjoy silence
- Abhyanga daily to heighten body awareness and calm the nerves.