Floating and Acupressure to adapt to time change and jet lag?
With routine air travel through time zones and with the twice yearly “daylight savings,” our sleep and wake cycles experience confusion. It often takes days, if not weeks to get back into your 24-hour routine, known as a circadian rhythm. Disruptions in circadian rhythm can influence hormone releases, eating habits, digestion/elimination, body temperature and other important body functions including your sleep/wake cycles. It has been estimated that with each time zone or hour of change, it takes at least a day or more to restore yourself. There are various ways to accelerate circadian recovery. Two excellent methods of time zone adaptation are to tap on specific acupressure points during the day, and to use floatation therapy.
Floatation therapy or floating is a first line of defense for many who travel. Floating is deeply relaxing and restorative to the brain and the body. With floating, you modify your sensory input by removing the effects of gravity while floating effortlessly due to 1000 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved in 10”of skin temperature ( 94 degrees) water. This allows for a nervous system reset, much like the effects of a good sleep. It is like a massage for the mind and a very mindful meditation, all without a practitioner, and all within an hour - though the effects are long lasting.
While some choose to float in the late morning hours, some in the afternoon and some more towards evening, it is a better choice to float during the day, then get back into the daylight and experience the natural transition from day to night, then getting an excellent nights’ sleep as a result of floating that day.
Floating is not the only tool to help your body and mind adjust to time change.. Chinese medicine has identified points on the body, that when stimulated, affect certain body systems. Each of the 12 body systems are related to a 2 hour period of the day. By stimulating these points, with acupressure, at certain times of day, you can assist your body to adapt.
The basic idea is that you want to stimulate the time zone points based on what 2 hour window of time you want to be in, either where you are now, or what time it will be at your travel destination. If it is 11 am at the airport but it is 3 pm at your destination point, you will stimulate the body points for the 3-5 pm time zone, and so on. Using a pen or your finger, tap each point only during the hours related to that point. Do both the left and right sides and continue for a 24-48 hour period, tapping about 50 times on each side for each point. Sometimes you are sleeping through a 2 hour period, you don't want to take off your shoes, tap points through pants, or it is not convenient. Simply skip that point and continue to the next point a few hours later.
The following gallery shows the 12 different time zone points - each one relating to a 2 hour window of time. The blue tape on the body part within the pictures indicates the point. It is ok if you are not on the exact point. Realize that these points are typically used by healthcare practitioners who have memorized the points. So in areas that seem harder to find, simply tap in a larger radius to ensure that the point was stimulated. You can tap more than once during the 2 hour period if you remember, or if you have the time.
The 12 Acupressure Time Zone Points
The author, Dr. David Berv, is a certified chiropractic sports physician, acupuncture diplomate. He is a co-owner of The Float Zone, and can be reached at david@myfloatzone.