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Aging Well with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
By: Jennifer Dubowsky, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Oriental medicine has a long history of healing and rejuvenation that teaches us a great deal about aging well. Two thousand years ago, ancient Chinese scholars described the stages of aging in the Huang Di Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic). They remind us that we cannot change our genetics, but we can change how we live to extend and improve the quality of our lives.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine emphasize prevention over treatment. This makes a great deal of sense because treating an illness that has already damaged the body is much more difficult then preventing the illness from occurring in the first place. It is never too late. You can begin today.

Whatever your starting point, you can make positive changes to enhance the quality of your life. Supporting the different ways of improving your health and preventing illness, Oriental medicine promotes living a balanced life. A healthy diet, active lifestyle and emotional well-being are the basic components of Oriental medicine that help point you on the path toward a long and quality life.

Six Easy Tips for Greater Health and Longevity

Aging may be inevitable, but your later years can be vibrant and healthy if attention is given to supporting your physical, mental and emotional well-being. These tips are just a few of the ways that you can bring balance into your life. You don’t need to try doing all of them at once. Focus on one or two of them at a time.

Practice Gratitude

Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress according to Robert A. Emmons, a researcher and professor at University of California-Davis, who has authored four books on the subject of the psychology of gratitude. Dr. Emmons states that the disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life, but they have a healthy attitude towards them.

Choose friends who are joyous people. See these people frequently and you will find your spirits rise. The older you get, the more important it is to make it a priority to spend time with people who give you joy. If you have people in your life who are constantly unhappy, limit the amount of time you spend with them. Try it, and you may find that you perk up!

Make Exercise a Priority

People who exercise more are less likely to be stressed and more likely to be satisfied with life, according to Danish researchers. Compared with sedentary people, joggers are 70 percent less likely to have high stress levels and life dissatisfaction.

We hear it all the time and it's true – if you don't use it you will lose it! Exercise keeps our bodies and minds in good shape. Couch potatoes who start moderate exercise (the equivalent of 17 to 34 minutes a day) experience the greatest happiness lift.

If jogging is not the best exercise for you, go for a long walk or try a traditional exercise like Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Qi Gong and Tai Chi are non-impact exercises that focus on repetitive movements with attention to breathing. Tai Chi and Qi Gong use gentle movements and low physical impact, which are ideal for aging bodies.

The benefits of these exercises include a slower heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and drops in adrenaline and cortisol levels. Making these exercises a regular practice can lead to better health and vitality. The Mayo Clinic reported results from two studies on these ancient practices that concluded they can also alleviate chronic pain.

Take a Day of Rest

Take a day of rest per week from your regular schedule to recharge. Rejuvenation for the body and mind is worth its weight in gold and you will be more productive with the rest of your time!

Get Good Sleep Regularly

Your body repairs itself best at night so allow plenty of time for it to do so. Good sleep patterns follow nature. Morning is bright and the most Yang time of day, indicating activity. Night is the dark period, a time to slow down and enter the Yin phase of the day.

Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Research has shown that getting at least eight hours of sleep is needed for good heart health.

Acupuncture has been proven successful in treating a wide array of sleep problems by focusing on the root of any disharmony in the body. It gives those who take advantage of it a better night’s sleep and an overall improvement in physical and mental health.

Alleviate and Manage Stress Levels Stress is a normal part of life, but if left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains or an irregular heartbeat.

Humans were designed to handle short periods of intensely high stress followed by periods of relaxation. We were not designed to live with a constant low level stress that keeps us feeling overwhelmed. If you feel you have been under too many pressures for too long, stress reduction acupuncture can help you enjoy a more peaceful life.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health. In addition to acupuncture, Oriental medicine offers a whole gamut of tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check. These tools include Tui Na, Qi Gong exercises, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, meditations and acupressure that you can administer at home.

Address Health Concerns Quickly: Don't Wait!

Many diseases can be cured easily if they are caught early, but people often put off seeking treatment. They ignore important signals that something is wrong with their body. We all get warnings about our health and well-being, but these warnings are like traffic lights. They tell us what we ought to do, but they cannot make us do it.

Want to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can can help you live a longer and healthier life? Find an acupuncturist near you!

About the Author

Jennifer Dubowsky, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. is an active blogger and writer, including authoring articles for Acufinder. On her blog Acupuncture Blog Chicago, Jennifer's posts bring information about Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbal treatments, nutrition, and healthy living to professionals and interested consumers. She also provides updates about acupuncture research and links to the studies. Jennifer earned her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College, an accredited four-year Masters program in Boulder, Colorado. She received her Diplomate from NCCAOM, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Jennifer has been in practice in Chicago since 2002, bringing experience and passion to her work.