12 Tips for the Corporate Traveller

Chances are if you are an executive in today’s business world, you have seen enough airport restaurants and ‘fasten seatbelt’ signs to last a lifetime. Regular air travel has become a standard part of the job for many executives, with meetings, trainings and seminars being held all over our nation and the world.

For those that love to fly, this is just another career perk. While for others, a root canal sounds better than being trapped in a metal tube 30,000 feet above the ground. Although you might not be able to control whether or not you have to fly, you can choose how all that travel will affect you.

Travelling comes with its’ own set of health challenges so it is important for you to be aware of what they are and what you can do about them.

Low Air Pressure

Even though the inside of an airplane cabin is pressurised, it is still much lower than what you would experience at sea level. This can have several effects on your body including clogged ears and swollen hands and feet. Because less oxygen is being absorbed by the blood, it can also cause dizziness or faintness, particularly upon standing.

Dehydration

Many frequent flyers are unaware that the humidity inside an airplane can fall as low as 20%. This is substantially lower than what most people are used to and can cause you to easily become severely dehydrated. In addition to leaving you feeling thirsty, it can also dry out your eyes, nose and throat.

Confinement/Blood Clots

You know how you have been told you should get up from your desk and walk around the office every hour to keep the blood flowing in your legs? The same goes for when you’re flying. Staying in one position for a long period of time, particularly in a cramped space like an airplane seat, can increase your risk of blood clots in the legs which can be fatal if they travel to your heart or lungs.

Jet Lag

Long flights that take you across time zones can leave you feeling disoriented, sluggish and even sick to your stomach. In fact, your body takes approximately one day to readjust its natural rhythm for every time zone you cross. You obviously can’t prevent jet lag from happening altogether but there are some things you can do to lessen its effect on you.

Food Choices

Airline food can sometimes taste bad or be bad for you. It is generally loaded with preservatives and unnecessary fat. So your choices are limited. It is important to eat well leading up to your flight and include lots of colourful vegetables, fruits and plenty of fibre to keep the digestive system in good working order. This ensures your body is loaded with the nutrients it needs to fight off any potential nasties.

When next travelling, consider these tips:

12 Tips for the Busy Traveller

  1. To combat ear stuffiness and pain, chew sugarless gum that will help your ears to pop. You can also pop them by yawning or swallowing.
  2. If you are prone to swelling, be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes and remove your shoes during flight.
  3. Drink plenty of water before and during the flight. Don’t rely on the beverage service since it may take a while for the attendants to get to you or they may have to forfeit service if there is severe turbulence. Always bring your own bottle of water onboard with you – where possible.
  4. Avoid beverages that have a diuretic effect such as coffee, tea and alcohol. If you absolutely have to have them, compensate for their effects by drinking water with them as well.
  5. Get up and move. Don’t worry about being the weird guy that keeps getting up. You’ll be the healthiest guy on the plane!
  6. Avoid crossing your legs. You should also avoid staying in the same position for a prolonged period of time.
  7. For long hauls, wear compression stockings that add extra pressure to your legs. You can purchase them at your local chemist.
  8. Start adjusting to your new time as early as you can. If possible, change your clocks at home a couple days before your flight to start getting your body’s sleep cycle closer to where you’re headed. If that’s not possible, set your watch to your new time as soon as you board the plane.
  9. Once you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake until your normal bedtime and stay in bed until it is time to get up. It may be difficult but will help your body to readjust faster.
  10. Take Melatonin supplements at bedtime which may also help you to fall asleep at your destination and helps regulate sleep patterns.
  11. Why not pre-order the low-fat food options online to ensure you get the healthiest meal possible.
  12. Oversized and overweight bags are a sure way to stuff up your neck or back so it’s a good idea to pack light and/or ensure not only your suitcase, but your carry on luggage has wheels on.

As you can see with some forward planning and by adhering to the 12 Tips above, will ensure your transition into a new destination or time zone will be seamless, creates less stress on your body, protecting you from lethargy thus producing a successful trip!

EMR Pollution and The Business Traveller

An article about Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) published in Townsend Letter, The Examiner of Alternative Medicine (November 2014) highlights the new environmental landscape we find ourselves and the insidious impact EMR is wreaking on health. The article serves as a reminder of a real and present danger of our time and the role EMR could play in the health picture of anyone facing illness. The article’s value lies in alerting us to a developing consensus in certain parts of the scientific community and our ability to read between the lines of what is known about this new landscape and where the trend is heading. This article hopes to draw your attention to the fact that there are certain workers in the general populace who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMR than others. In this instance I am referring to business travellers and anyone who has global travel as part of their job description.

In the latter part of the twentieth century we began a large-scale experiment by making use of artificial electromagnetic radiation waves to drive technology and industry which gave us some very nifty advantages. The upside has been the accelerating rate of globalisation of the world and the world economies. The downside is that we have become more out of touch with our innate health supporting environment. As the world has globalised it mobilised; Technology is an enabler of a mobile world and EMR is a necessary feature. The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw our society transform from an agrarian one to an industrial one. Now we have transformed from an industrial society to a technologically driven society with some not so desirable consequences. Artificial EMR waves we use in daily life to power our gadgets and connect globally are disruptive to human health because they severe our link to the natural geomagnetic wave profile that has nourished Man from time immemorial.

The article goes on to describe the author’s health challenge with Lyme’s disease and the role EMR played in it. It is the research material quoted in the article,which is of more interest to us in terms of what it says about the risks of EMR pollution to business travellers. The most detailed research quoted was the BioInitiative Report compiled by scientists and researchers of ten nations. It notes thousands of studies which demonstrate the damaging effects of EMR from cell phone radiation and other sources. It is damning because it shows the depth of the problem across various fields of study.

Digging into the details of some of the other research used we find a quote from the late Dr Professor Neil Cherry a pioneer in environmental health who said, “EMR confuses and damages the cells signalling system, which produces symptoms such as headaches, concentration difficulties, memory loss, dizziness and nausea, and long-term diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia, brain tumours and depression.”

In a quote from an interview published in 2009 with Dr Thomas Rau of the renowned Paracelsus clinic in Switzerland he says ” … cultures of normal human endogenous bacterial cultures grow much less when exposed to EMR”. Rau’s comments are a reflection that our immunity is compromised in the presence of EMR. Herein lies the problem. EMR messes with immunity which has harmful effects on long-term health.

The article also quotes a Lynn Quiring (RPh, CCN, NMD) paper titled “The Cell Phone Poisoning of America.” In it Lynn cites over 66 scientific references proving the relationship between prolonged EMR exposure and a host of health conditions including hormonal imbalances, low sperm count, immune system disorders, memory loss and sleep disorders.

Not only are we changing the environment externally, but its influence on our internal environment is what is most worrying. Our ability to control and determine our internal environment is our ability to maintain health. It is our first line of defence against stress and the challenges we face on a daily basis.

Business travellers have many challenging scenarios to negotiate in pursuit of a successful business trip. They can include anything from the geopolitical nature of the world, the weather, industrial action, personal security while on the road and more. The constant shift in any of these variables is enough to cause stress, especially when you can’t control them. For the most part we brush them off and get on with the business in hand however, being able to do this is reliant on our stress coping mechanism. Yet here we have evidence that one of the tools that enables our functionality in the global economy is the very thing which is eroding our much-needed resilience. If this seems a bit too far-fetched take a look at the following Infographic from PC Housing – Mobile Dependence.

Where is this heading? To zero in on what one kind of future scenario could look like we only have to look at a group of people who are now being diagnosed as Electro-sensitive. Electro-Sensitives cannot be in close proximity of or endure long periods of time in the vicinity of EMR or gadgets using them. Electro-Sensitivity and Electro-Smog have entered the popular lexicon. In the face of EMR ruling our airwaves and environments our immunity is taking a battering. When you put this in perspective with figures from the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) you get a sense of where the trend is headed and how EMR is a factor we should reckon with. See their document “A Briefing Report on Autoimmune Disease and AARDA: Past, Present and Future”. To get an even more specific take on how stress is affecting Business Travel see the industry specific white paper by AirPlus called “Traveller Productivity: How to tailor your travel policy to improve traveller performance.”

How is this affecting the global economy now? It is serious enough to get a mention at the open forum at the World Economic Forum in 2011 in a talk titled Burnout – The Latest Fashion? While the talk didn’t directly mention EMR as a causative factor its role as an enabler of efficiency in the workspace makes it a contributing factor.

The Business Travel industry and business travellers need to lighten the stress of business travel for the sake of all involved. The Carlson Wagonlit metric the Travel Stress Index (TSi) puts the hidden cost of business travel at over $600 per trip. For companies with large mobile workforces making multiple trips a year that is a big financial incentive. Mitigating costs takes a combined approach, which involves acknowledging the environment we find ourselves working and living in and a sense of individual responsibility towards our health that supports health and therefore productivity.

References

BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Radiation, December 31, 2012.

Cherry N. Evidence that Electromagnetic Radiation is Genotoxic: The implications for the epidemiology of cancer and cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects. Neil Cherry, Extended from a paper to the conference on Possible health effects on health of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields European Parliament, Brussels, 2 March 2001.

Rau T. Transcript interview with Dr Thomas M. Rau of the Swiss Paracelsus Clinic – online article, accessed – 01/11/2014.

Quiring L. The cell phone poisoning of America [online article] 2008, accessed 01/11/2014.