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Anti-Aging: Natural and TCM Approaches

In traditional Chinese medicine, anti-aging or a long life is used to signify the length of life without pain, disease, or stress. Enhancing the immune system, slowing the aging process, and reducing stress are part of the TCM approach to a long life. The life energy Qi must be balanced and flow freely to unify the body and mind. 

Acupuncture is used to restore balance of Qi and promote Qi flow. It also calms the nerves, helps with digestion, and stimulates natural healing in the body. Acupuncture stimulates points in the meridians to unblock the Qi energy crucial to longevity. It also reduces inflammation, promotes blood circulation, and regulates hormones. Meditation and massage will also help to calm the body and mind. Deep breathing exercises can help to reduce stress that depletes our Qi or energy. 

Food also contains anti-aging properties. Sweet potatoes or yams contain high amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, and DHEA which help the body’s anti-aging defense kick in. Ginger helps with inflammation, relieves pain, and enhances vitality. Lots of vegetables, calcium-rich foods such as spinach, salmon, and almonds, and reducing intake of dairy and sugar are important parts of a TCM diet for longevity. 

In addition to Qi, jing and shen are crucial to energy in the body and are the basis of one’s life. Jing governs length of life, vitality, and health. Shen is the consciousness, awareness, and peace of mind. Chinese herbs that balance these three basic forms of life are tonics which invigorate and strengthen. Schizandra has been shown to sharpen the mind, purify the blood, and rejuvenate jing energy. Goji berries (lyceum barbarum fruit) have been used for years to promote longevity. Reishi, known as “the mushrooms of immortality” contain powerful antioxidants which promote longevity. Holy basil, ginseng, astragalus, and sage are other herbs used to promote longevity. 

Another well-known Chinese herb, He Shou Wu, which translates as “Mr. He’s Black Hair,” is used as a Jing restorative tonic. As legend goes, Mr. He was an old man who was unable to bear children. Upon seeing the vine of He Shou Wu growing in the forest, he was advised by a Daoist monk to take it. Mr. He is said to have regained his virility, restored his health and to have had jet-black hair when he was 130 years old.