Many patients have asked me about how to enhance their longevity and quality of life. I am happy to report that there is indeed built into Chinese philosophy the aspects most sought out by Americans and Baby Boomers! It is called Yang (yawng) Shen (shinn) or Nourishing Life (Jap: Yojokun).
To discuss this I will break it into three sections.
I – Lifestyle and Dietary Improvement
In TCM theory, it is lifestyle, and particularly dietary habit that leads to aging and loss of use of limb, cognition, digestive, and immune health. To begin with, after puberty we begin our habitual misuse of the body, having come into adulthood with a full body, not appreciating its fragility. Thus we develop “leaky habits” whereby Qi weakens and leaks out into the Universe.
- Dietary Leaks:
Eating too little or too much
Eating too fast
Eating on the run or while working
Not walking or moving after eating
Eating too much of one Element of foods, or one temperature or flavor or category.
Eating things that cause damage to the body (now known as Free Radical Damage!)
Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
Eating too much sugar or salt
Using bad diets to deal with fat or atrophy
- Habitual Leaks
Exercising too little or way too much
Not resting often enough
Sleeping too late in the way
Going to bed too late
Too much mental activity during rest
Exercising without proper attire (exposure)
Smoking and alcohol abuse
- Energy Leaks
Working too hard on one project for too long without rest
Living with or befriending petty, dramatic people
Habitual exposure to wind and cold
After eliminating leaky habits, then a person can start replacing or “advancing” the Qi.
II – Supplementation and Prophylactic Treatment
[pullquote align=”right” width=”200″]Some supplements to consider: Human Growth Hormone, Co-enzyme Q-10, Hyaluronan, Dopamine, Coral Calcium, St. John’s Wort, Gingko Biloba, Multivitamin, Magnesium, Manganese, PQQ, and many others… just be sure to talk to your doctor, dietician, nutrition expert, or herbalist first![/pullquote]Under supplementation, you have “traditional” methods (in America), such as vitamins, minerals, and various compounds which enhance or replace portions of the body that get over-used by leaky habits. To use these, it is advisable to do two things:
- Talk to your doctor and maybe get blood labs to make sure you are not actually Within Normal Limits (WNL) on a vitamin or mineral or hormone.
- Take any pills that you are prescribed or buy, and test them in White Vinegar for a D&D test. If it does not after 15-20 minutes dissolve and disintegrate in the vinegar, it’s probably not being digested in your body. This will damage the mechanical muscle of the intestines.
Secondly, there is the option to use herbalism, homeopathy, or naturopathy to supplement. In TCM, herbal supplements means sometimes removing blockages, and sometimes “tonifying” pure deficiency. That should be determined by your doctor of alternative medicine.
Thirdly, using these techniques, and various “folk” remedies, such as guasha, moxa, or cupping, as well as physical therapies such as massage or reiki or cranio-sacral one can expel the “six evils” from the body’s channels: wind, cold, damp, dry, heat, and summerheat; as well as tonify blood and Qi to prevent disease and heal old wounds.
Finally, by exercising correctly, never draining the Qi away unnecessarily, one can become stronger and this leads to disease and injury prevention. For example, the sweating can help prevent colds. The muscle pulling on bone can dense them up, reverse osteomalacia/osteoporosis and balance the thyroid. The movement can exercise the pathways of the brain, cerebellum, and motor neurons, preventing decline, and the movement of blood and use of minor pain can increase the brain’s response with serotonin and dopamine, thereby reversing depression and overall pain.
III – Reversing Aging
Reversing aging in Chinese Philosophy is a matter of building Qi, moving with the Tao, and reversing the flow of the 5 Elements. What does that mean? I have a longer article on my website, but suffice it to say it means meditation. It doesn’t really matter if you use standard yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, pilates, etc… so long as there is a challenge and not much damage to the body.
On top of that, I suggest watching this video about anti-aging. To summarize, it makes the point that traditional cultures with a lot of longevity have all of the following attributes:
- Traditional structures in family and religion
- Male and female roles well defined
- Large cohorts of friends
- Follow a Sabbath
- Stay active, don’t retire completely
- Moderate eating volumes
- Eat mostly non-meat; but eat some meat
- Grains tend to be low in gluten naturally
- Some wine or alcohol common