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Longevity and the Art of Ageing Well

Posted on 15/07/2014 by Healthwise Clinic

The philosophical traditions of natural medicine contain a strong preventive element closely tied to the concept of a balanced man-nature relationship and body-mind relationship. It has been emphasised that a sound mind in a sound body is essential to longevity. Moderation in physical and emotional activities is encouraged.

There are several main areas of consideration in regards to natural medicine and ageing, the most important of these is happiness. If we can keep stress under control, take the time to enjoy life and appreciate what we have then we are a long way towards the prevention of disease. When considering longevity we seek to have life in our years and not just years in our life. To reach the great age of 100 and realise that it is a life wasted or wondering what one has done with one’s life is not the goal of healthy aging.

Any plan to promote healthy ageing has to embrace the concept of a holistic approach. This means that the whole person has to be treated: physically, emotionally and spiritually. This could include a multi- modality program, including an exercise physiologist, meditation class and a natural practitioner. A natural practitioner, when treating any condition, looks to the whole person and all of their body systems (eg. digestive, circulatory and nervous systems). Natural therapies, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine, work best when complementing a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Diet:

A healthy diet is essential to healthy ageing. Essentially the diet should consist of fresh unprocessed foods with a minimum of foods high in sugar and fat, with up to 80% of the diet comprising fruit and vegetables/salads. If you would like a copy of our healthy eating diet ask any of our practitioners on your next visit.

Exercise:

It is essential to make exercise a priority each day. We tend to have very sedentary lives now with all the labour saving devices that we have, but we still need to keep active. Exercise has been shown to protect your cardiovascular system, stimulate your metabolism, prevent body pains and pick up your mood.

Mental longevity:

As stated a sound mind in a sound body is essential to longevity. The phrase “use it or lose it” applies to mental longevity. Exercise your mind through problem solving, puzzles • and actively learning something new. The herb, Ginkgo Biloba is commonly prescribed for offering additional support for a healthy mind. 

Stress:

Each day, schedule some “you” time. This may involve meditation, tai chi, yoga, gardening or any activity that makes you feel calm. We tend to lead very busy lives so it is essential to your health to balance the hectic with the calm. In herbal medicine adaptogens such as Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus and Withania are useful to support the body in times of stress. Adaptogens are substances that facilitate our resistance to noxious influences including physical, chemical and biological stressors.

Immune dysfunction:

The top three killers in our society (cancer, heart diseases and diabetes) all have some relationship to the immune system. Combining a healthy diet and lifestyle with stress reduction is essential to the care of the immune system. One of the most appropriate herbs to boost the immune system is Echinacea.

Cancer, heart disease and diabetes can to a large degree (but not entirely) be prevented by good lifestyle choices and looking after the areas mentioned above (good diet, exercise, stress reduction and immune support). If any of these conditions already exist then natural medicine is uniquely placed in being able to support you with your medical treatment and to help promote your return to health.

In addition to dietary and lifestyle measures, herbal and nutritional medicine may be utilised in prevention and correction strategies for these illnesses: 

* Cancer: Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus and Withania have anti-cancer properties. Turmeric, Green Tea and Vitamin C, E, A and flavonoids offer antioxidant properties.

* Heart disease: There are many excellent herbs for treating heart disease but for prevention and a general heart tonic Crataegus stands alone. 

* Diabetes: Herbal medicine can be used as a first treatment approach in type 2 diabetes or as supportive treatment in type 1 diabetes. The herb Gymnema is excellent for prevention and treatment of diabetes for those with elevated blood sugar levels.

Promoting longevity and healthy ageing requires a multi-faceted approach involving a good diet and lifestyle. Natural therapists can be called on to give good lifestyle and dietary advice as well as for natural medicine support for problems as they arise. It is a mistake to let an acute or minor injury or illness become a chronic condition. Invest in your health and longevity by enjoying a good diet, regular exercise, reducing stress, boosting your immune system and seeking treatment when needed. 

 

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