People can play life, fast and loose up until they are fifty. The excess energy and hormonal activity of a youthful body, are most forgiving. But after fifty, one must get smart and disciplined in order to ensure high quality and healthful future years.
Classical Chinese Medicine observes aging to be a process in which the yang consumes the yin. The “yang” pertains here to the energy of action and activity. From the moment of our birth we are active crawling, walking, working, playing, thinking, creating. Life is an active process and the yang force is like the combustion in a car, the warm kinetic energy that moves us. Whereas the yin pertains to all the moist, flowing, liquid life essences that hydrate, cool and nourish the body. Like our automobiles, if the coolant gets low, the fire can damage the essential machinery. In addition, yin essence is critical to energy production. So the law of aging is essentially telling us that over time, the fire of life activity begins to consume the moist cooling essences which then leads to exhaustion and old age.
One of the simplest ways to refresh and restore the diminishing essences of life is to supplement them with those uniquely regenerating substances found in nature. If supplements are to be truly effective one must determine the various levels of deficiency in the body, the health of each particular organ and then prescribe accordingly. Just as the need for particular foods varies from person to person, so also with supplements. Supplements must address the actual deficiencies and imbalances to have the desired effect.
Practical steps can also be taken to slow down the aging process. Modern westerners tend to lead active and stimulated lives. Yet the greatest regenerative response takes place in extended periods of deep meditation, a deep yin condition. In Ancient esoteric rejuvenation regimes, best results came when the powerful herbal formulas were offered in the context of profound retreat. So active westerners must learn the art of deep relaxation, meditation and even Divine contemplation.
Diet, exercise and right supplementation are critical at this age. Blood sugar levels must be controlled since sugars tend to increase inflammation. Proteins and carbohydrates must be balanced for right health, and the glycemic levels of particular foods should be observed. The blood type diet, metabolic diet, and the zone diet are systems that offer the individual a conscious and considered approach to healthful eating. Without turning these diets into a fetish, they can be useful guidelines.
Exercise promotes the movement of energy, air, blood, and lymph throughout the body at an age when the circulatory pathways are beginning to narrow and close. Regular exercise stimulates decreasing hormonal activity and actually increases the reserves of yin essences. Energetic systems like yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are immensely supporting of rejuvenation since they can directly stimulate the basal metabolic process when properly performed.
For women, hot flushing is the most common symptom of aging. By the time she reaches her late forties the yin essences are significantly decreasing. So the essence gets low and women begin to heat up. In allopathic medicine, such symptoms are currently understood to be a sign of estrogen deficiency. At a certain point, the body, understanding that the cooling yin substances are getting low, turns off the monthly blood flow in order to slow the loss over time. This will preserve those essences for the sake of longevity. From the classical oriental perspective, the cessation of the menstrual “water” is not a disease but a change that ultimately serves longevity.
No doubt, we all like to self medicate, and there is every reason to assume responsibility for our own health, but even so, it is best to use some kind of diagnostic modality to determine exactly what you need. When one pays particular attention to the yin essence and adrenal fire and gets the details of that balance correct, the effect can be truly amazing.