Getting older is inevitable but aging is not!
Aging is a universally-despised phenomenon that usually occurs by age 40 when most people begin to experience a myriad of symptoms such as low energy, decreased memory and focus, chronic muscle and joint pain, slower recovery from exercise, low libido, erectile dysfunction, vision and hearing decline, frequent urination, weight gain, shortness of breath, sagging skin, and wrinkles. These symptoms may foreshadow more serious diseases later on such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, obesity, arthritis, stroke, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Many people, however, 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.
Causes of Aging
The causes of aging are many and they range from decreased hormonal production and toxic overload to blockages in the circulation and nerve conduction systems within our bodies and stress.
The effects of hormonal decline is experienced by women from menopause and beyond, and by men with andropause around midlife and thereafter. The solution in Western medicine is hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone supplementation that might be immediately helpful, but is not without side effects including weight gain, blood clots, neuropathy and increase in cancer occurrence.
Toxins accumulate in the body courtesy of pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones in food; bisphenol-A from plastic containers and coated credit card receipts; formaldehyde from furniture and mattresses; paraben preservatives in creams, lotions and sunblock; and harmful chemicals in drugs and medications. Unfortunately the list goes on and on as there are over 10,000 chemicals used in consumer products with little or no oversight from the EPA (environmental protection agency) and many are suspected carcinogens. All the toxins form free radicals that ravage the cells and tissues leading to decline in function of organs and bodily systems. Conventional medicine has little remedy for toxic overload. Learn more about our cleansing and detoxification protocol.
Poor Circulation and Nerve Conduction
Delivery of oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body and a properly functioning nervous system are critical for optimum health and longevity. Unfortunately, due to poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, injury, and inflammation, the movement of blood and nerve signals becomes disrupted. Blockages occur in blood vessels and nerve fibers in the form of plaque, inflammation and compression that often lead to slowly failing tissues and organs due to their being starved of nutrients and oxygen. Heart disease, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease and peripheral neuropathy are examples of impaired circulation and nerve function.
Stress Speeds Aging
Stress can harm us down to our genetic makeup. The cells in our body are continually replicating to replace old or worn-out cells. Our genetic material is stored within chromosomes in each cell, and when the cell replicates, these chromosomes make copies of themselves. In the early 1980’s, scientists discovered telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, and telomerase is the enzyme that rebuilds these caps as they wear down. If you were to envision a chromosome as a shoelace, the ends of the shoelace that keep it from fraying would be telomeres, also keeping the chromosome intact. These protective caps and the enzymes that restore them protect the genetic material within the chromosome from mutation during cell replication. This is fundamental to optimum wellness and healthy aging. Further studies found that people under stress had shorter telomeres and less telomerase, implying increased chance of genetic mutations, disease, and accelerated aging.
How Can Tao of Wellness Help?
While modern medicine has neglected to address the effects of aging in any meaningful and fundamental way, Taoist Longevity Medicine has been making qualitative differences in improving the undesirable effects of aging in patients for centuries. Taoist physicians long employed by the imperial court of China developed a tradition of face and body rejuvenation to help emperors, empresses and concubines alike to remain youthful and vital over several thousand years. Tao of Wellness is proud to share this anti-aging tradition with our patients. The treatments range from acupuncture, tonic herbs and bodywork to dietary supplements, detoxification and mind-body practices like tai chi and qi gong. Many of the treatments promote regeneration by restoring vitality, balancing function, activating circulation, nourishing hormones, removing toxins, and calming the nervous system. You too can begin these self-renewing activities right away. Remember, the sooner you begin your anti-aging quest, the sooner you will experience a healthier and more youthful you.
Integrating Eastern and Western Diagnostic Systems
Many patients come to the Tao of Wellness out of frustration that conventional medicine has failed to adequately address their symptoms of aging and the corresponding decrease in quality of life. Your first visit will consists of a comprehensive review of your health systems using latest conventional diagnostic tests including blood, urine, stool and imaging studies combined with the Chinese medical diagnostics of face mapping, tongue, and pulse reading, alongside extensive history-taking and inquiry. Once we have determined the cause of your condition we will put together a treatment plan consisting of modalities appropriate for your unique condition. Treatments are carried out by our team of doctors working together for the singular purpose of restoring your health and wellbeing.
Numerous studies have shown that acupuncture promotes homeostasis and that its restorative action brings the body’s functions to optimum levels. Its anti-aging properties include increasing circulation and reducing abnormal clotting, promoting collagen production to counter weakening and sagging skin and joints, decreasing inflammation and pain, stimulating production of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine in the brain, balancing hormonal functions, normalizing blood pressure, stabilizing blood sugar, reversing osteoporosis, and many others. One of the most exciting findings of acupuncture’s anti-aging property is that acupuncture increases telomerase repair of telomeres thereby preserving and potentially increasing lifespan. Learn more about acupuncture.
Tuina in Chinese literally means tui (push) and na (manipulation) and is a combination of acupressure, massage and joint mobilization. Tuina is used therapeutically to restore normal musculoskeletal function as well as organ rejuvenation. The benefits of tuina consist of increased blood and lymphatic circulation, dissipation of waste and toxin accumulation, improved nutrient and oxygen delivery, healing soft tissue injury, and reduced pain and inflammation. Proprietary tuina bodywork available at Tao of Wellness includes detoxification tuina, lymphatic tuina, weight loss tuina, cellulite tuina, facial rejuvenation tuina, fertility tuina and sports injury tuina. Learn more about tuina.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Anti-aging therapy began with Taoists of ancient China who were physicians and naturalists with a singular focus on attaining immortality. Their research became the forerunner to Chinese Longevity Medicine, a specialty dedicated to combining herbs into formulas specific for various aging conditions such as declines in memory, energy, muscle strength and tone, and sexual functions. Many Chinese herbs have been found to possess functional support properties. Examples include the blood glucose balancing property of cinnamon and hawthorn berry, immune enhancing actions of astragalus and reishi mushroom, estrogen modulating properties of angelica and rehmannia root, and libido boosting benefits of horny goat weed (epimedium) and maca root. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.
Starting with a food journal that chronicles a patient’s diet for one week, our doctors who are also certified nutritionists will be able to design a customized menu plan specific for the patient. Recipes are provided as well as cooking tips, and an occasional cooking class is held to reinforce the new therapeutic eating program.
When it comes to anti-aging there’s a large and confusing array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and nutraceuticals that may be recommended by neighbors, co-workers and family members. Our doctors will help each patient sort through all the confusion and determine the specific nutrients that are suitable for the patient’s condition. We practice targeted therapy and do not believe in throwing a long list of supplements at patients indiscriminately, which happens often in many complementary medical practices.
Our practice adheres to the principle of self-regeneration, or “teach a person to fish and they will eat for life” instead of “give a person fish and he or she will eat for a day.” Our goal is to assist your body to produce the hormones or neurochemicals that it innately knows how to make instead of giving you hormones only as a replacement for your body’s function, thereby contributing to your body’s eventual failure to regenerate itself. Examples of proprietary-formulated supplements we use include extracts of glandular tissues, potent antioxidants, and plant-based enzymes. Learn more about nutritional therapy.
Tai chi and qi gong 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. Studies confirm that its numerous health benefits include increased energy, stronger immunity against viral infection, lowered blood pressure, improved cognitive functions, increased joint function, enhanced microcirculation, relief of fibromyalgia symptoms, increased leg strength, improved balance, and better posture. Learn more about tai chi and qi gong.
Super Food for Preventing Brain Aging
What do we feed our most complex yet delicate organ? Everything! Well, almost everything. According to recent studies, a brain-healthy diet consists of foods that increase blood flow, are low in cholesterol, and are high in antioxidants. Such a mix is not only beneficial to the brain but also to the heart, the aging process, and disease conditions such as diabetes. Providing good nutrition for our brain is a must. As we move towards our golden years we realize that our minds don’t work the way they use to. Progressive aging of our brains can trigger symptoms of dementia, which can lead to diseases like Alzheimers. According to the National Health Institute (NIH) 4.5 million Americans suffer from this disease. Free radicals have been identified as a major cause of the loss of cognitive function associated with aging. Our brains are bombarded daily with free radicals from polluted air, unhealthy food, and lifestyle. They cause low-grade inflammation, which damages normal cell structure and function. Thankfully, through an increase in scientific research, we now know the importance of good nutrition for brain health. So why not help ourselves in slowing down the aging of our brain by nourishing it with the right brain foods? We can then cruise through our golden years clearly and keenly. The heart and cardiovascular system is a complex organ network that plays a major role in nourishing and maintaining the blood flow throughout the whole body including the brain. In order to provide the brain with nutrients, the blood flow must be smooth and blood vessels must be clear of any obstructions such as plaque build-up.
Our brains are 60% fat. Deep seawater fish such as salmon are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, they help to reduce inflammation, and they promote proper circulation, thus supporting nerve cell activity in the brain.
Chinese Medicine believes that herbs and foods that resemble certain body parts are actually beneficial to that particular body part. So it is not surprising that a walnut, which is packed with vitamin E and antioxidants, also resembles a brain. Walnuts are the only nuts that contain a significant amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods that are small and compact in size tend to have an abundance of qi, which is the Chinese word for energy or life force. The smaller the food, the better the qi. It is no wonder that out of 50 fruits and vegetables, blueberries contain the highest antioxidant properties. The phytonutrient rich anthocyanidins found in the blue-red pigments of blueberries protect the brain by neutralizing free radical damage.
Eggs represent the birth of life. They are full of energy and are a great help in strengthening the kidneys and hormones. The choline compound, together with the lubricating properties of eggs, act to nourish and lubricate the brain cells. A yoke contains 315 micrograms of nourishing choline, which plays a key role in synthesizing and transporting the fats which are essential to brain health and function.
Dark Leafy Greens
Full of vitamins and minerals, leafy greens are just plain good for you. Dark leafy greens are especially rich in folate, which helps the body break down homocysteine, an amino acid that is toxic to nerve cells. The dark greens also contain an abundance of iron, which helps to build heart blood and provide oxygen to nourish the cells of the brain. Generally, vegetables have cooling and cleansing properties. They help the brain discard unwanted substances such as bad fats and debris that accumulate in the brain, thus helping you focus.
Foods to Avoid
Foods high in cholesterol and trans-fats should be avoided as they degrade and block the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood flow to the brain.
Natural Anti-Aging Skin Therapies
Many patients over the years have experienced natural “face-lifting” or “face-toning” treatments at Tao of Wellness. Acupuncture, which has been shown to increase collagen production in the skin, along with other natural therapies listed below are used to help patients achieve a healthier and more youthful appearance. We have happily and successfully administered these special rejuvenation treatments, which emphasize an overall anti-aging philosophy that believes one’s face is ultimately a reflection of one’s internal health and emotional well-being. The Tao of Wellness Face and Body Rejuvenation Program includes eight components: 1) acupuncture treatments 2) herbal supplements 3) topical applications 4) diet and nutrition 5) tuina bodywork 6) stress release/mind conditioning 7) exercise, and 8) lifestyle/environment. It is not merely possible but probable to remain youthful and vital with the Tao of Wellness Face and Body Rejuvenation Program that’s been refined over thousands of years and experienced by many of our patients. Learn more about the Face and Body Rejuvenation Program.
Natural Healthcare for Anti-Aging
Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource for anti-aging medicine. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.