Masked Charlotte Dodson mediating

In response to current in-flight mask-wearing requirements, travel wellness platform FLYWELL is promoting breathing techniques that allows passengers to enjoy a peaceful and stress-free air travel experience.

According to Dr Jacques Durand, Aviation Medical Specialist and Digital Health Expert, “wearing a mask (without proper breath training) for more than one hour could induce significant deoxygenation of the body. The amplitude of deoxygenation of the body in a plane is higher even with a pressured cabin because of the altitude. Wearing a mask in a plane for more than 60 minutes can lead to minor health issues (mostly for people under the age of 35 with some chronic medical conditions). Even those without medical issues, low oxygen in the body can increase discomfort and generate additional stress for passengers.”

Some masks can cause the wearer to inhale and exhale more rapidly (or hyperventilate), upsetting the physiological balance and causing the body to remove carbon dioxide faster than it is being produced. This reduces the efficiency with which oxygen is delivered to vital organs. The shortened breathing cycle also means that the ventilation process is coming from the upper part of the lungs, thus requiring the use of neck and chest muscles (rather than the diaphragm) and, in turn, making it more difficult to mentally relax.

Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which evokes feelings of serenity and relaxation. Most of us are used to constantly being ‘stuck’ in shallow breathing, especially when we are under stress. When we consciously exercise the diaphragm, it can stretch further down towards the belly, which gives the lungs more space to expand and draw in the air we breathe.

Co-founder and Ambassador of FLYWELL, Charlotte Dodson, says, “although we are all capable of breathing correctly, very few of us do so in our everyday lives. Something that’s so fundamental, health-wise, to every aspect of our mental, physical and emotional lives is, for most people, an unknown principle. Thankfully, there are several simple and effective strategies to quickly train oneself in the art of tapping into the power of proper breath work.”

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