Have you been on a long-haul flight before and not felt your best afterward, whether it is as you kick off the start of your trip or after returning home? You may have thought it was simply from being tired after a travel day. Although sometimes it is, flying takes a toll on your body and detoxing after a long (or short) flight can make all the difference in how you feel. After being in close proximity to other passengers in a space that is not exactly the most hygienic, you want to boost your system and give it that extra support.
Detoxification means to cleanse your blood and remove impurities and toxins from your system. Toxins are eliminated from the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin.
In this article, let’s go over not only why you should detox after a flight and the benefits of doing so, but also how you can detox after a long flight.
Why you should detox after a flight
As you are flying closer to the sun, the atmosphere is less protective and you can absorb greater levels of cosmic radiation. To reduce the radiation levels that you are exposed to, fly at night when the sun is lower. Although it is a controversial topic, the ionizing radiation produced by airport scanners also can be a health hazard. You can skip the scanner by requesting a pat-down at the airport instead.
The fact that you are breathing in recycled air while on the plane is nothing new, but there is a lot that you can be breathing in that is harmful to your health. If you have a cold, be sure to bring a mask so that you are not exposing other passengers to your germs.
Germs and pathogens
Planes are not the cleanest of places and the airplanes themselves are not even thoroughly cleaned between each flight. Blankets and pillows are reused, bathrooms aren’t fully cleaned, and tray tables and seats are not sanitized. You will naturally be exposed to more pathogens and germs as there are so many people in one enclosed space and then the next group of people comes on board shortly afterward.
You’ll want to detox your body do this exposure in any case, but it is also beneficial to bring disinfecting wipes and wipe down your area before sitting down, bring your own Thermos and bottled water, and bring a jacket to wear in case you get cold.
Benefits of detoxing after a flight
When you detox after a flight, you’re not only practicing self-care but you also can really feel a difference when you properly take care of your body. Toxins can build up and make you feel sluggish or even get sick when your body is on overload, so it is important to routinely gently detox your body. A long flight is an occasional (more often for some) time of higher toxin exposure, so it is the time for the extra effort. You’ll see the difference in your energy levels, sleep, better digestion, lower inflammation levels, improved mood, skin health, and overall health.
So now that we know why it’s important to detox after a flight, how do you detox after a flight? Here a few tips on you can support your body and release the accumulated toxins from traveling.
How to detox your body after a flight
Relax and Rest
When your body is in ‘relax mode’, it has the opportunity to rest and recover. When you are traveling and in ‘go, go, go’ mode (or even simply doing daily tasks), your body focuses on supporting you in your activities while also focusing on supporting its own processes. When you relax and get quality rest in, you give your body the chance to focus on recovering and also, detoxifying.
After a flight, two great ways to relax and support your body are to dry brush and take an Epsom salt bath. Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system which aids in detoxification, and an Epsom salt bath (especially when mixed when baking soda) aids in muscle aches, inflammation, and radiation detoxification. Be sure to hydrate well before and after! These are two must-do’s for me after flying, and I also feel a lot more relaxed afterward, both in body and mind.
Read also: 6 Luxuries to Make Your Next Flight a Treat
Get Fresh Air
After your flight, you want to get as much fresh air as possible. You can go for a walk outside, grab a glass of water and enjoy it in your backyard, read a book at a local park – anything that shifts you from breathing in recycled or polluted air to breathing fresh air.
Break A Sweat
For your body to properly expel toxins, it is crucial to break a sweat so that the toxins can actually be released rather than simply recirculate. After your flight, it is important to get some movement in after sitting for so long, stretch, and work up a proper sweat. For an effective workout while on the road, you can do a HITT workout on busy days or use a fitness app such as 30 Day Fitness Challenge to reference one of the tailored workouts.
If you have access to an InfraRed sauna, a sauna session is another great way to work up a sweat and release those built-up toxins. I don’t always have the energy to work up to a sweaty workout after a long flight, so this is an option I turn to in order to make sure I sweat.
Load Up On Antioxidants
Antioxidants defend your cells from free radicals and can counteract the effects of radiation. So boost your antioxidant intake significantly surrounding your travels. High antioxidant foods include dark chocolate, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, kale, red cabbage, artichoke, beets, and spinach.
Be Mindful Of What You Eat
The foods you consume are always important, but before, during, and after flying, you’ll want to take extra precaution to eat healthy foods. Specific foods that are helpful in the detoxification process are cilantro, wild blueberries, leafy greens, etc. It is helpful to avoid going out for meals after traveling and instead make your own meals at home. This way, you know the full ingredients of what you are putting into your body. Stick to whole foods and meals that you know you normally feel good after eating.
Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated is important to flush out toxins in your system. If you don’t enjoy drinking so much plain water, you can add fresh ingredients to flavor your water. For the best detoxifying benefits, add lemon to warm water. I also love to add fresh mint, sliced cucumbers, or limes. You can also drink hot herbal tea (and preferably replace your morning coffee with this as you are focusing on detoxing!)
How to detox your skin
After being in a confined space with recycled air, your skin deserves extra attention and many people find that this step is needed. While in the air, keep your skin hydrated by keeping any make-up minimal and using a rich face moisturizer. Keep a hand cream, face oil or moisturizer, (unscented) mini body lotion and lip balm accessible so that you can reapply as needed.
Upon arrival to your destination and once back home, take the time for an at-home spa session.
Here are a few ideas for the ultimate at-home spa session:
- Make a detox scrub to use later. Some ingredients to consider are sugar and sea salt, honey, jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils.
- Light some non-toxic candles or turn on an essential oil diffuser for ambiance.
- Set a pitcher of detox water on the counter, with a glass set up next up to the bath.
- Begin your session by applying a detoxifying or hydrating hair mask.
- Dry brush your skin, moving in long circular motions towards your heart.
- Run the warm/hot water with Epsom salt and an essential oil of your choosing. Baking soda is another ingredient that many people use for detoxification benefits.
- Begin a face treatment while the water is running: Cleanse/exfoliate your face then use a facial steamer (or bowl with hot water and a towel over your head). Then apply a facemask. You can use a store-bought mask designed to detox your skin from pollution/draw out impurities, or simply apply honey as a mask.
- Relax and decompress in the hot bath.
- Rinse out your hair mask, use a gentle body wash, and do a quick cold rinse to close up your pores.
- After your bath, apply body oil/moisturizer to rehydrate your skin.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that after any long-haul flight, your body’s immune system is working over-time and it is important to make the extra effort to support it. Rather than re-circulating previous and new toxins, properly detox your body and you will feel the benefits.
Related read: Best Travel Hacks For Long Flights
Do you have any other useful self-care tips for how to detox after a long flight?