If you start when you have already aged faster than you should, then regaining your health, and pushing it to optimum levels will reverse your ageing. If you continue to maintain optimum health, then you can expect a slower rate of ageing thereafter.
THE HOLISTIC APPROACH
By holistic, I mean looking at heath in all aspects – spiritual, energetic, emotional, mental, physical and social; and applying all available modalities – modern, natural, energy, nutritional, traditional, complementary and alternative concepts, methods and therapies for health and healing. This is where I differ from non-doctors who tend to limit holistic medicine or therapy only to natural or complementary methods. Conversely, doctors tend to use only conventional medical methods.
There is a lot to gain from the knowledge, research and advances achieved in modern medicine. My only regret is that most doctors underestimate the role of nutrition and rely too much on drugs. Recently, the founder of a famous rejuvenation clinic in USA himself died prematurely, throwing all his theory and prescriptions into doubt. I am more convinced that the correct answer lies in the holistic approach. Indeed modern medicine combined with non-medical methods can provide a formidable array of options to help us achieve optimum health. They should complement each other.
MY HOLISTIC PRESCRIPTION
For continuity, the first 10 steps explained in the previous installment ( available at www.superqigong.com ) are listed below, followed by the remaining steps.
1) Spiritual commitment to health. 2) Charge your life-force (qi) and bio-energy. 3) Safe and adequate exposure to sunlight. 4) Increase oxygenation. 5) Adequate clean healthy water. 6) Sufficient caloric energy. 7) Protect, repair and make new genes. 8) Optimize and balance your hormones. 9) Nutrient-dense diet. 10) Supplements for health.
11 HEALTHY WEIGHT
Obesity is the mother of many diseases – hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and many more. By now, most of you are aware of the importance of a healthy weight, and the guideline has improved from mere height-weight charts to body mass index (BMI). Asians should keep their BMI below 23.
The latest report (2006) showed that 29.1 % of Malaysian adults (above 18) are overweight, including 14% who are obese ( grossly overweight ). Eight years ago (1999), the figures were only 16.6% and 4.4% respectively. If we consider only those 40 year and above, the figures are much worse. The remedy is low-calorie nutrient-dense diet and plenty of exercise.
12 HEALTHY BODY COMPOSITION
However, even BMI is inadequate, as many people with “healthy” weights and BMI are actually not so healthy because they have excess fat and too little muscle. Body-builders, on the other hand, have very high BMI but they are healthy with very little fat and tons of muscles. Most of us need to lose fat but gain muscles. Some may gain weight in the process.
So it is important to know your body fat percentage. There are many weighing machines and fat-composition gadgets that will give the reading. As a rule of thumb, healthy men should not exceed 20%, and healthy women 25%. For optimum health, it should be 15% and 20% respectively, achievable only if you are trim and exercise or workout in the gym regularly. Competitive bodybuilders with ripping muscles and six-pack abdomens have only 5-10% fat.
There are also sophisticate machines that will give the complete body composition that includes fat, lean body weight ( muscles and bones ), extra-cellular and intra-cellular water, and other important parameters. The healthiest composition can only be achieved with adequate hormones, a balanced nutrient-dense diet, and daily exercise.
13 DAILY AEROBICS EXERCISE
The previous advice of 30 minutes of aerobics 2-3 times per week has been revised to daily because cardiovascular health maintenance requires daily exercise. This is the most basic physical fitness requirement as heart disease is the number one serious chronic disease, although in advanced countries doctors have managed to keep heart patients alive, making cancer become the top killer.
A study in USA showed that 40 year old men who did 1 hour of moderate to intensive exercise daily became as fit as healthy 20 year old young men after 6 months. This is the only consistently proven anti-ageing method.
14 STRETCHING, FLEXIBILITY, BONES & MUSCLES
For optimum health and age-reversal, aerobic exercise should be complemented with stretching, flexibility, muscle-building and mind-body exercises like qigong. Due to the lack of physical work in our modern affluent lifestyle, coupled with poor diet, and unhealthy habits like smoking, many of us develop bone and joint problems. Many suffer from various forms of arthritis giving rise to pain, stiffness and limited mobility. After menopause and andropause, osteoporosis causes a steep rise in vertebral, hip and other fractures.
So, apart from aerobics, you should include stretching, flexibility, and weight-bearing exercises in your routine. While most exercises can be done daily, muscle-building exercises should be done on alternate or even every third day for best results.
15 DETOX YOUR BODY, AIR, WATER & FOODS
A major reason why cancer is becoming an unstoppable menace is the amount of toxins that accumulate in us throughout our lives. The ways you can detox your body include eating a high fiber diet (supplement if necessary), drinking plenty of fluids, detox teas, fasting (juice, water or total fasting), body wash/scrub, dry body-brushing, sweating through exercise or sauna, coffee enema ( stimulates the liver ) and colon hydrotherapy/irrigation.
Accumulation of heavy metals is blamed for many diseases, including atherosclerosis ( which causes clogged arteries ). They can be removed through sweating, oral chelation, and intravenous chelation therapy.
Environmental pollution has caused the air we breathe, the water we drink and the foods we eat to be at risk of serious contamination. You should detox your air with air filter/purifier. Better still, enhance the health benefit with an ionizer. You should make sure your water is purified by the various methods available, then look for health-enhancing features mentioned in step #5. Finally, you should purify and detoxify your foods by ozonizing your fruits, veggies, meats, rice and other foodstuff. You should of course avoid the most direct cause of pollution – that is smoking.
16 IMMUNIZE & AVOID INFECTIONS
Simple hygiene habits like hand washing can prevent infections. A healthy diet and nutritional intake, with a healthy lifestyle and adequate exercise will boost your immunity against many infections, and allow faster recovery even if infected. Many chronic diseases, cancer and even heart disease are now linked to certain infections. Immunization has saved many of us from death and debility due to infections. Immunization against cancer-causing organisms is as good as immunizing against the cancer.
17 AVOID INJURIES
While we cannot always avoid accidents and infections, making prudent precautions and having healthy habits can reduce our risk. There are safe pedestrian, cycling and driving tips we can abide by to avoid road accidents, as there are safety rules at home and at work to avoid accidents and injuries.
18 STRESS MANAGEMENT
Stress has now been recognized as a major contributing factor in premature ageing, many chronic diseases, and cancer. The connection is becoming more evident that some scientists have proposed that major stressors be included in a stress-induced syndrome, just as hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia together make up the metabolic syndrome.
19 REGULAR MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS
You should not assume you are well. You must have objective proof that you are healthy. Physical examinations and screening tests have helped many seek early treatments for problems discovered during routine check-ups. Cancer screening means cancer can be detected and treated early, giving better prognosis. There are different levels of testing, depending on how serious you are about your health. Those who want optimum health and rejuvenation should see anti-ageing doctors who will know what extra tests need to be done, to interpret them correctly, and to prescribe the appropriate treatments.
20 MEDICAL INSURANCE
Since nobody can guarantee that you will be free of health problems despite doing everything prescribed above, what more against accidents, injuries and infections, you must insure yourself adequately. Let not the cost prevent you from getting the best treatment.
While I have fervently promoted qigong and am glad that the interest in it is much more than when this column started more than 5 years ago, it will be naïve to think that qigong is the answer to everything. Qigong is a very important piece among the many pieces of the puzzle. It is the most basic requirement of cellular life, and therefore cellular health, but it must be complemented by all the other requirements for the cell to survive in tip-top condition, and for you to be in tip-top health. If you really want to be healthy, slow down or reverse your ageing, and live life to the fullest as you grow old, you must manage your health holistically. I hope my prescription will be of help to you.