In geographic terms, my life went from New York, to Massachusetts, and then back to New York via travel and a stint in Melbourne, Australia. As a young child, I had ear infections and respiratory yuck often. In training for my lifeguarding exam, my arms and legs could always go longer and further than my lungs. My university suite mates had to deal with a lot of late night coughing through countless bouts of bronchitis, viral tracheitis, pneumonia and more. My students got used to their teacher constantly having some sort of something including varying degrees of laryngitis or insane sinus pressure from October through April and then the itchy, sneezy, teary attack of allergy season would begin. By twenty-five I was diagnosed with asthma and have been on bucket-loads of meds since. Insert San Diego – this may be the biggest change yet.
In twelve months – bronchitis snuck up only once (albeit big time) and that’s when the ‘winter’ weather appeared and added that temperature change that I so diligently try to avoid. My students knew of my respiratory issues when I pleaded with them at the beginning of the year to use the unscented lotions or anti-bacterial that I happily provided in lieu of ones that smell of flower or fruit concentrated. My yoga instructors (on both coasts) know how sensitive my little system is. When trying a new class – my first questions aren’t ‘is this power flow or restorative’, it’s ‘are you using any oils, incense or lotion other than peppermint’ as I may have to ditch if anything is even opened or someone walks in wearing heavily laden scents of anything. It’s all still there, but according to the doctors (and my lungs) – life is very different in this part of the west coast than where I lived all those years prior.
Long Beach, New York was fabulous for me in more ways than one. Lack of pollen, easy access to earthing on the sand and the health (both body and mind) benefits of mother nature’s magical ocean only scratch the surface – but they certainly helped. Leaving the confines of the classroom and school building where I was constantly surrounded by dust, mold, pollen and heaps of germs probably helped too, but the geographical switch from humid to dry, 4 seasons to 1, and drastic temperature changes to mild ones may be the biggest change yet.
For years, people used to tell me I should live in a bubble to protect my sensitive system from the environmental pollution. I’ve read about many people whose lives are changed by environment. There are those who can only eat certain food made outside the US (and not within) since the rules for preparation and additives are different. There are those who can’t be somewhere too cold as their body reacts with swelling and hives and there are millions who suffer in the throws of allergy seasons everywhere. Don’t get me wrong – no one has said I’m cured of anything YET, (and they’re still working to find out how these meds affect heart rate and blood pressure) – but apparently, with the differing everything between San Diego and Long Island, New York – for the first time in over 15 years, there’s the possibility of a reduction of maintenance meds altogether.
I knew San Diego was treating me well, but I’m not sure I ever realized how well. Sunshine, vitamin D, walkability, ease, limited temperature change, constant yoga and working from the confines of your own home (or wherever you choose)… this city truly does have a mind and body effect. I don’t know if it’s a definitive possibility or not, but the idea alone of coming off years of morning and evening meds is already having a positive effect.
Has geography ever affected your health? I’d love to hear your story.