Snow Shimazu meditating next to a hotel pool.
Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts

Snow Shimazu’s Air Beautiful Is the Ultimate Jet-Lag Cure

By Aileen Kwun
March 7, 2020
3 minute read

Flying long distances does a number on our bodies—something that wellness expert Snow Shimazu, founder of the holistic travel consultancy Air Beautiful, knows all too well. We can credit the grogginess and exhaustion of jet lag to the disruption of our circadian rhythms, as well as a host of environmental conditions (not to mention germs) that are nearly impossible to escape while in the air. “We aren’t designed to sit still in the same place for a prolonged time, which is quite unnatural for the body,” says Shimazu, who in her practice (she’s also a resident healer at the Four Seasons New York Downtown spa) works with clients to provide a range of speciality massage and lymphatic cleansing services, but there are also many small hacks that you can employ on your own to prepare for your next long-haul flight:

Boost your pre-flight immunity. Ever walk by an airport massage lounge and wonder who actually goes for those things? Finding ways to relax before your flight, it turns out, is more important than you think, and can boost your immune system. Book a massage the day before you fly, or find a moment to do simple breath work or meditation to calm your nerves.

Hydrate. Eighty-five percent of the body is water, Shimazu reminds us, and sipping water throughout your flight—and staying clear of in-flight booze, which hits our bodies much harder when you’re a mile high—will help keep dehydration at bay.

Stretch out. Blood can pool in your legs during long flights, which makes for poor circulation. Shimazu recommends a light stretch every 30 minutes when possible, pulling up the toes and gently moving your legs around. As an alternative, you can also try compression socks.

Take a hot shower. Once you’ve landed and checked in to your hotel or Airbnb, taking a hot shower is the first thing you should do, Shimazu says, to ward off any germs from the flight and reacclimate your body, which can get dry and cold during a flight.

Plan around the golden hour. The ideal way to fight jet lag, Shimazu says, is to plan for a flight that lands in the late afternoon or early evening. That way, you can have time to freshen up and grab dinner before hitting the hay.

Keep clean. Limited travel is recommended these days, as the uncertainty of the Coronavirus outbreak continues, but cleanliness is important regardless of the climate. Shimazu recommends bringing alcohol-based wipes with you onboard to sanitize your tray, armrest, and any other surfaces. If you use the bathroom, use a paper towel to handle the doorknob, and make sure to close the lid before flushing. Last but not least, make sure to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.