Healthy Aging Naturally
Generally, by the age 40 most people begin to experience a myriad of aging maladies ranging from heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, obesity, arthritis, stroke, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Many simply feel tired, anxious, depressed and unfulfilled; they may also feel out of shape and complain of aches and pains – all of which may be sub-clinical signs and symptoms of aging.
The causes of aging are multifold and they range from decreased hormonal production and toxic overload to blockages and congestion of the transportation and communication highways within our bodies. While modern medicine has neglected to address the effects of aging in any meaningful and fundamental way, Chinese Longevity Medicine has been making qualitative differences in improving the undesirable effects of aging in patients for centuries. The treatments range from acupuncture, tonic herbs and bodywork to dietary supplements, detoxification and psycho-spiritual guidance. Many of the treatments promote regeneration by restoring vitality, balancing function, activating circulation, nourishing hormones, removing toxins and calming the nervous system.
You can also begin many self-renewing activities right away. Remember, the sooner you begin your anti-aging quest, the sooner you will experience a healthier and younger you.
What You Eat
It is no surprise that diet is crucial to health and longevity. I recently returned from Rugao County, four hours north of Shanghai. The rural community of Rugao enjoys the reputation as the "longevity" county of China because there are over 200 centenarians in the small region - the highest number per 1,000 residents anywhere in China. Over meals, I noticed that Rugao residents ate mostly fish, vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed, corn and buckwheat. There was virtually no meat or poultry present in the majority of their diet.
Generally, people of Rugao suffer from very little heart and liver disease. They also have negligible rates of cancer and degenerative diseases. Rugao's diet is identical to the diet in Okinawa, Japan's own "longevity" island, where scientists have confirmed the health benefits of a diet high in fish and vegetables and low in animal products.
What You Do
Tai chi practitioners, on average, live longer and are in better health. Tai chi is practiced by over 100 million people worldwide and owes its popularity to a simple fact - it's enjoyable and it makes you stronger. Recent studies confirm that it has numerous health benefits. It has been found to increase energy, boost immunity against viruses, lower blood pressure, improve cognitive functions, increase joint function, enhance microcirculation, relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, increase leg muscle strength and increase a sense of balance and posture.
How You Heal
"First do no harm." Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine uttered these very words over 2,000 years ago. The simple and yet profound wisdom in these words holds true today as it did when he first said them. How can healing be effective if harm is created alongside the cure? Yet, in today's conventional medicine, every drug and procedure creates some sort of side effect that interferes with the very well being that a patient seeks. Some side effects are so dire that, according to AMA's own estimates, close to 200,000 people die each year needlessly from drug and procedural complications as well as medical errors.
Prevention is obviously the key to maintaining good health. However, if healing is required, seek natural remedies that "first do no harm." Holistic medical systems such as Chinese medicine do not attempt to replace your body's own capabilities but rather seeks to support, augment and restore the balance within your body's functions. Furthermore, Chinese medicine helps clear and cleanse blockages and toxins from the body, strengthens functions and productions as well as nourishes the organs with nutrients and energy in order for self-regeneration and balance to take place. It may take longer, but it is much safer than toying with chemicals that may do more harm than good.
Who You Are
I have always wondered why the Chinese culture revered and worshiped their ancestors. The answer became clear to me when I studied the science of genetics. Most Chinese can tell you a lot about their ancestors, including their health history. This wealth of family medical information is pertinent since many degenerative illnesses are heavily influenced by heredity.
Understanding your genetic vulnerabilities and the need for prevention gives you a head start on anti-aging. Chinese Longevity Medicine promotes self-responsibility and self-awareness – about yourself, your relationships and your health. Through diet, lifestyle and activities, you help rectify your own problems while they are small before they become catastrophic. Self-knowledge is essential in the quest for living a long, happy and healthy life.
Where You Are
With environmental factors causing ever more damage to our well being, it is important to know what to look out for and avoid. Examples include xenoestrogens, which are present just about everywhere, in pesticides used on vegetables and hormones injected into meats and poultry, in PCBs leaching from plastic water bottles and dioxins from bleached paper products. Xenoestrogens are chemical compounds that mimic the properties of estrogen and can potentially elevate the level of the hormone in the body and affect a cascade of functions. The most alarming result of excess estrogen is the rising rates of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer in women. You can avoid these chemical compounds if you buy organic foods and use glass and recycled paper products. In addition, it is important to undergo periodic detoxification treatments with special dietary and herbal regimens to lower your body's toxic load.