Whenever I fly I fear the pressure build up in my head. It is so painful and my ears never ‘pop’ and pressure sometimes stays in my head for weeks after landing. Also, in our last flight, encountered a new challenge, swelling of the ankles. How would I prevent these problems this time?
In the past, I had taken the advice of the air hosts- chew gum when the plan takes off and lands to prevent pressure in the head and ear pop. I have done that with a 75% success rate. However, this option would not be open to me this time, as I can not chew gum when I have braces. And, the airlines offer exercises to exercise your ankles and request you to drink water and get up every hour and walk around to prevent water retention. That did not work well for me.
So, on our way out of town, I was browsing an airport store and by chance found a book on reflexology by Barbara and Kevin Kunz. In this book, I found pressure points on my foot and ankle for preventing ear pop and swollen ankles.
I tried these pressure points. For preventing pressure buildup in your head and encouraging ear pop, you can press on the web between your middle and ring finger and/or on your ring finger there is a special point. There is a point located to the right of your fingernail on your ring finger. You find this by feeling the side of your ring finger closest to your middle finger above the first joint. At some point, you will feel a slight indent. This is the spot to press in on. For preventing the swollen ankles, it told me to massage along the ankles whenever I could.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out all these options worked- with a 100% success rate! So, how do I know these worked and it was not by pure luck? Well we took off and landed a total of six times to and from India. There was one take off I did not do the pressure points, as I fell asleep. Just after take off, I woke up with a horrible pressure in my head, and my ears wouldn’t pop. All other take offs and landings I had no pressure in my head and my ears did not pop! I do believe it is because I pressed on those points for up to 10 minutes before taking off and landing. Regarding the ear popping, I also believe one other solution helped. Last time we returned to US from India, my ears were clogged for weeks after landing. They just wouldn’t pop fully and I couldn’t hear fully. I went to the doctor, and amazingly the allopathic doctor recommended a natural cure. Daily or every other day in the shower, drop a few drops of vegetable or olive oil in the ear, wait for it to settle in the ear, then flush out. Putting in oil helps increase moisture and break up clogged wax. This really did work wonders for me over the past six months, in addition to the pressure points!
And, did my ankles swell? Well, they did not swell up on the plane rides. They did swell up several days after landing in India. I couldn’t figure out exactly why except that one day we did stand on our feet for a long time and did not move around a lot (this was our temple puja day).
I urge you to check out the books written by Barbara and Kevin Kunz. I like them because like other pressure point books, their books also demonstrate how to press- the direction, fingers to use to press, and details like pressure and duration. This was so helpful to my success! Thanks Barbara and Kevin!
Related Posts/Sites: Amazingly detailed and color coded feet reflexology charts at Kreative Living Koncepts.
Part 3 in Series: Kerala 2007