The idea that “people are living longer” is a common refrain, and one that more or less represents a consistent trend over time. The idea that people are living better and longer, however, is a little bit more modern. Only in the past decade or two have we really started to look at the years past middle age as an exciting new chapter, as opposed to a gradual progression into “old age.”
As a piece on the Chicago Tribune discussed back in 2010, the consensus seems to be that “60 is the new 40.” It’s a number that once struck people as “senior,” but which now seems merely like another stage of adulthood — and one that can be filled with excitement, opportunity, and new things. For things to work out this way however — to truly live well after the age of 60 — there are some proactive steps one should take both approaching and following the milestone.
Take Advantage of Medical Care
We’ll start with the most practical aspect of living well after 60, which is taking advantage of available, federal healthcare. Once you turn 65 in particular — and possibly earlier depending on specific conditions — you’re eligible to enroll in Medicare. This program can be set up in different ways with slightly varying coverage, but overall it’s fairly comprehensive care. A handy breakdown of Medicare variations on Kelsey Care Advantage does a nice job of conveying that hospital visits (under Plan A) and outpatient care (under Plan B) are always covered. Versions of Medicare will also help with prescription costs and medical equipment. But the bottom line is, this is affordable healthcare to enroll in once you’re in your mid-60s, and doing so certainly qualifies as a step toward healthy and happy living as you age.
Figure Out Your Self-Care Routine
Making sure you’re insured for basic medical coverage and health events is vital. It is also important, however, to make sure you have ways of taking care of yourself on more of a day-to-day basis. Indeed, some would argue that establishing a routine to maintain your personal wellness is ultimately the most important aspect of living well as you age. Unlike with Medicare however, there isn’t a sign-up process in this case! Rather, as we conveyed in a post on ‘The Secret to Easy and Affordable Self-Care’, the process is thoroughly individual. It involves everything from finding a nutritious diet you can stick to, to establishing good work/life balance, to finding ways to relax and rest when you need to. But the specific routine is up to you to figure out.
Determine Sustainable Exercise Habits
In addition to working out a total self-care routine, it’s also in your best interest to establish reliable exercise habits. When you’re young, you can exercise in any number of ways. You may try new sports, take classes, vary your cardio routine, and so on — all because you have the time, energy, and physical health to do so. As you grow older though, you may be at least somewhat more limited in your options. In some cases this can lead people to stop exercising regularly altogether. Naturally though, this is detrimental to wellness! To avoid the problem, it’s important to figure out which exercise habits you enjoy that you can sustain past 60 (when those knees might not quite be what they used to be). Whether that means a walking regimen, hopping on a rowing machine in your basement, or playing golf or tennis a few times a week is up to you. The point ultimately, is finding a long-term, sustainable way to maintain physical condition.
Work on Mental Wellbeing
Every bit as important as developing habits to maintain physical health is finding ways to ensure mental wellbeing. To some extent, that’s what living well after the age of 60 all comes down to! But here we’re specifically talking about developing ways to keep your mind clear, keep stress at bay, and maintain alertness. It takes time for most people to figure out a routine that accomplishes these goals. Once you do though, you’ll have a means of working on mental health on a daily basis — which can only be good for your long-term wellbeing.
Read & Learn
Another way to work on mental wellbeing in particular is to develop a habit of reading and learning new things. There is some evidence that such a habit can actually benefit you in a biological sense. Per an article on The Guardian back in 2016, reading books leads to a “survival advantage,” with people who read books for just 30 minutes a day actually living longer on average than those who don’t read. Even setting this evidence aside though, reading can help you to live well as you age. Books represent new knowledge and experience; they keep the mind active; they’re even said to keep memory sharp. All things considered, establishing a reading habit makes for a significant step toward maintaining a strong and capable mind, and living better as a result.
All of these tips amount to processes. Make them all part of your routine though, and you’ll be well on your way to developing a lifestyle that will keep you healthy and happy into your 60s and beyond.
We hope this has been helpful, and that you’ll continue to come to All Ways Well with your wellness needs!
Written by: Amanda Cross
Should I get acupuncture if I’m not sick? This is a question people often ask. For more than 2,500 years practitioners of acupuncture & Oriental medicine (OM) have emphasized the importance of preventative medicine rather than waiting until disease begins. Yang-sheng is the preventative branch of OM, yang-sheng means to ‘nourish life’. The tradition of drinking bone broth to nourish wellbeing comes from the yang-sheng branch of OM.
Another key concept from the yang-sheng tradition of acupuncture & OM is emotional balance is the key to wellness and longevity. According to OM there are external and internal factors that bring health out of balance. The external factors include environmental factors (weather, pollution, viruses, etc) while the internal factors are our emotions. The key to maintaining health is keeping our emotions in balance and not get stuck in any emotion.
Western allopathic medicine usually doesn’t recognize the role of emotions in creating illness beyond acknowledging stress exacerbates or causes 80 percent of all illnesses. According to OM theory, specific emotions are linked to specific parts of the body: being stuck in an emotion can bring that part of the body out of balance. Acupuncture & OM can help us stay healthy by balancing our emotions.
OM theory identifies specific emotions that bring us out of harmony in specific ways. How did this theory develop? OM practitioners have kept meticulous records for 2,500 years; there is a long tradition of scholarly observation and analysis of case studies. Through this long history patterns of health and disease were identified; these patterns held consistently true and thus became an integral part of OM theory.
In one of the oldest books on OM, “The Inner Classics of the Yellow Emperor,”compiled around 100 B.C.E., said excess joy slows and scatters qi, excess anger causes qi to ascend, excess sadness and grief weakens qi, excess worry knots and binds qi, fear descends qi and fright induces chaotic qi. The good news is each excessive emotion can be ‘harnessed,’ transformed and channeled into a virtuous emotion, which restores harmony and wellbeing. This transformation of emotions from excess to virtue is a vital aspect of yang-sheng branch of acupuncture and OM.
Among the most common of excess emotion is the tendency of overthinking, worry and rumination; this will tend to result in digestive issues and/or fluid metabolism concerns, as well as muscular tension and pain. To transform overthinking and worry into the virtue of creativity and dynamic insight, develop a regular meditation practice, even five to 10 minutes once a day can make a difference! You will develop the discipline to redirect worry and overthinking into dwelling in the present moment more often. A quote from “The Dhammapada” (The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom) expresses this, “As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its color or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.” Notice when you worry or overthink about something, think of your thoughts like a bee. Allow yourself to collect the ‘pollen’ of your thought while also germinating future ideas and transform your thoughts into honey. A bee does not cling to only one flower.
Look for future articles for tips on transforming other excessive emotions and nourish your vitality and wellbeing with the wisdom of OM.
Get Better Faster with Custom Chinese Herbal Treatments - Indiviudal Treatment for Individual People
Acupuncture works well for many health issues and greatly stimulates the body's healing response. Yet in some cases, it can take many Acupuncture treatments over a period of weeks or months to see lasting results. By contrast, custom Chinese herbs bypass the Acupuncture channels and work directly on the body's organ systems guiding them back into healthy balance. Taken in divided doses 2-3 times per day, they can be used independently of Acupuncture, or synergistically with Acupuncture, to greatly enhance the speed and success of treatment.
A custom-designed herbal formula typically has anywhere from 2-18 herbal ingredients and is carefully tailored to each person’s specific health needs. It takes into consideration the state of each one of their body’s organ systems.
Unlike Western Medicine, two people that come in for Anxiety can have two very different Chinese medicine diagnoses, and thus will be prescribed two very different Chinese herbal formulas. We call this “syndrome differentiation” or in other words, individual treatment for individual people.
For example, say a 35 year old woman comes in with Anxiety and presents with heart palpitations, insomnia, a pale face, light-headedness, low energy, and a scanty period. She will be given herbs that specifically address her unique pattern of imbalance. If another 22 year old woman comes in for Anxiety and presents with different symptoms such as racing heart, insomnia, irritability, PMS, and abdominal cramps with her period, she will be given a completely different blend of herbs.
Both are coming in for Anxiety and yet each one is being treated for a unique and different pattern of imbalance. The first woman's symptoms indicate an energetic pattern of deficiency and needs nourishing herbs to heal, while the second woman's symptoms indicate an energetic pattern of excess and needs heat clearing and Qi regulating herbs to balance and heal. They might be on the same Western medications for their symptoms, but to a Chinese Medicine Practitioner's eyes, they are completely different presentations requiring completely different treatments.
If they were pursuing herbal-only treatment, these women would come in for a 30 to 45-minute Herbal Consultations during which a diagnosis and an herbal formula are identified and prescribed. They will either pick up their herbal formula at a nearby herb pharmacy, or receive their custom herbs by mail from Crane-West Herbs.
Most likely, their herbs will come in a powdered-extract form, all blended together into one bottle. To take the herbs, they would scoop a measured dose as prescribed into warm water and stir to dissolve, then sip or drink. They would repeat as prescribed, usually 2-3x per day.
Taking the herbs consistently throughout the course of treatment is key to achieving clear lasting results. Using the herbs regularly throughout each day allows the herbs corrective properties to shift a person from a state of imbalance to one of balance and health efficiently and effectively.
Chinese Herbal Medicine works well because it is tailored to address each person’s specific pattern of imbalance and also because the herbs are taken multiple times a day on a daily basis throughout a course of treatment. The specificity and the consistent application of custom Chinese herbs make them a powerhouse among healing interventions. Something that empowers the patient each and every day, and each and every dose to shift towards balance, thus making positive changes towards lasting health.
Would you like to know more about how Chinese Herbs can accelerate your healing with or without Acupuncture treatment? Click the “book now” link at the top of the page to sign up for Acupuncture - which always includes herbal consultation if interested - today!
Despite my profession and calm demeanor, "calm" is not my base nature. It is something that I've learned and something that I've practiced through many years of martial arts, meditation and QiGong training.
Do you ever feel like it is hard to calm down and focus your mind? Like the hustle and bustle of the digital world is overwhelming you? Like you have too many obligations and not enough time, and like even when you DO have time to rest and relax that it takes a long time to quiet your mind and be present?
I still have times when I feel this way too. My dad always used to say, "We get good at what we practice, but most of the time we don't know what we're practicing." What are YOU Practicing today and in this moment? Happiness? Sadness? Joy? Overwhelm? Distraction?
If you want to make a conscious choice to practice calm and focus, Meditation is a true and time tested way to achieve this. Based upon Taoist meditation practices, the Inner Smile Meditation can have profound effects on your body and mind. This simple meditation suggests that you “smile” to all of your internal organs and glands. It is a way of saying “thank you” to your body for working 24 hours, 7 days a week!
Focusing your attention and smiling in this way can calm the autonomic nervous system, revitalize the internal organs, and increase the flow of blood and Qi.
Below is the Inner Smile Meditation for the main Meridian Organ Systems. For more information, please refer to Mantak Chia’s book, Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality.
It is ok if you don’t know the exact locations of your organs. Just bringing awareness to your organs is benefit enough. Your body will love you just the same.
Perform each exercise 9 times, twice a day. These exercises can affect your body and mind, so it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider, but meditation is a safe way to practice calm and change negative thought patterns by connecting your calm inner center.
Want to know more or have questions? Contact me anytime. As a veteran martial artist and a certified Thousand Hands Buddha Qigong instructor, I'm here to help!
Do you ever feel kind of stuck in your body? Like you know you are eating (most of the) right things and you're (mostly) drinking enough water and exercising but your skin feels kind of bumpy on your arms and you just feel thick inside?
Energetically these are signs of stagnation in the body and sometimes the body needs a little extra help to keep things moving. My first recommendation is always Acupuncture, but my next one is an easy step that YOU can do at home in just a few minutes a day. It can help improve your circulation overall, enhance the natural detoxification abilities of the skin (our largest detox organ!), help to clear your skin and decrease those little bumps AND even shift cellulite. Oh, what is it you ask? Skin Brushing!
Truly, helping our bodies to detoxify is an important part of any wellness regime and caring for our skin is a simple and excellent way to stimulate our body’s natural detoxification mechanisms.
How To Skin Brush:
1. Starting from the feet, brush the soles as well as the upper side using a long-handled natural brush. Using long, sweeping strokes, brush up the legs, covering all of the skin’s surface area, concentrating on the thighs and buttocks.
2. Put one arm up in the air, allowing gravity to help drain the lymph to the armpit, and sweep down the arm with gentle strokes, drawing towards the armpit.
3. Brush the torso by brushing towards the heart, and when doing the lower abdomen, brush up the right-hand side, just on the inside of the hip bone, across the transverse colon beneath the ribs and down the left-hand side, then gently across the pelvic area to complete the circle. Repeat.
4. When working near the breast area, brush over the top of the breast, always aiming for the armpit – and remember, be gentle over sensitive areas.
Skin brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning or before a bath or shower and on a dry and naked body.
After brushing your body, rinse off in the shower while alternating temperatures from hot and cold. Alternating temperatures will bring more blood to the outer layers of the skin and stimulate blood circulation, further invigorating the skin.
We sell skin brushes in the office, or you can buy them on Amazon.com. Its important to get a brush that has soft natural fiber bristles, and my favorite are the ones with a detachable handle - little more versatile for different body areas.
I guarantee if you try it for 10 days you will be AMAZED by how your skin feels and by the renewed energy you experience due to increased Qi and Blood flow in the body. If you're looking for one simple thing to make you feel better and BE healthier, I highly recommend adding this to your regime.
Until next time, Be Well!
Tired of Struggling with Skin Balance and Sensitivity? Here are 5 Oils and 6 Alternative Tx That Can Improve Your Skin Today
Do you find yourself struggling to keep your skin clear? Moist? Balanced? Even though you feel like that should kind of be over by now? If so, you're not alone.
Skin issues can happen at any age. Whether you have dry, oily or sensitive skin, it can get complicated.
Although there are many products on the market that promise to “cure” your skin ailments, natural alternatives have proven to be effective and one of the safest options for skin treatment.
Here are 5 different oils that are easy to add to your skin maintenance routine and can help with some of the frustrations you may be facing:
Moringa oil has been around for thousands of years and was originally used by ancient Egyptians. This oil contains antioxidants and fatty acids that help prevent the skin from sun damage and aging while being a natural moisturizer.
Argan oil is used today as an effective anti-aging treatment. Regular use of argan oil can help tighten the skin and increase oxygenation and nutrients in the cells.
Because of its high content of Vitamin C and Omega fatty acids, rosehip oil is an excellent treatment for restoring the skin and helping heal scar tissue. This oil will help your skin feel replenished and brightened.
Hemp seed oil
If you struggle with oily skin and blocked pores, believe or not, this dry oil can help. Hemp seed oil has a high content of Omega fatty acids that can reduce pore size and eliminate acne. This oil is also used to treat psoriasis and eczema because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut oil has many uses and benefits. Not only is it used for skin treatment, but can also be used to whiten your teeth. If you spend a lot of the time in the sun and have dry skin, coconut oil can be used to replenish and moisturize your skin. If you’re looking to whiten your teeth, doing a coconut oil rinse has been proven to remove bacteria and plaque.
Beyond what you put On your skin, there are other alternative options to improving your skin below the surface that carry through to what you see over time. Here are some easy steps to add to your daily routine.
Alternative treatments for healthy looking skin:
Avoid food allergies: Most people who have skin issues also have food allergies that can worsen their skin. Common foods to avoid include gluten, dairy and artificial additives. You can eliminate each food group one at a time to test if it improves your skin.
Replace meat and dairy: By replacing these inflammatory saturated fats with unsaturated fats, you will increase your intake of nutrients that can aid your skin. Unsaturated fats to add to your diet include avocado, olive oil, nuts and flaxseed.
Probiotics: Taking a daily probiotic supplement has been proven to reduce symptoms of dermatitis, a disorder causing itchy, red skin. Probiotics add healthy bacteria to your gut and improve your digestive tract system, which in turn improves the overall health and function of your body.
Remove sugar: Remove sugar and processed foods from your diet. Besides not having a rich nutritional value, processed foods can affect and worsen allergies and skin disorders.
Herbal tea: Herbal teas have been shown to reduce inflammation that comes with eczema. Teas to try include chamomile tea, nettle tea or drinking Aloe Vera.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture can stimulate the production of endorphins in the body, which then can improve function of the immune and endocrine systems. Improving these systems can greatly affect the skin and restore it to better health.
Like most common health issues, a healthy diet, exercise and reducing stress can be of great help. Environmental factors can have a large impact on skin and overall health of the body. By following a daily routine that includes eating natural foods, exercising regularly and eliminating excess stress, you can see your skin start to improve as well!
I encourage you to ask questions and leave comments below if you want more information, or contact me anytime to ask more about skin health, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and more. Until next time, have a wonderful Summer!
I love my family to pieces, but this week I had one of those days where I just felt like I was running and running and running without a break all day. The kids, my business, my mom, cooking, cleaning, bills, dogs eating and destroying things they aren't supposed to - have you had a day like that recently? And have you ever finished a day like that and just felt like you can't wind down? If so, I can relate.
Luckily, I have some amazing Chinese Medicine tools at my disposal for dealing with the aftermath of days like this (and when I'm in my right state of mind, the during!) because chronic stress without a reprieve is less than ideal for your health.
Think about it this way - what do you think would happen if you kept your car in park and the engine revving at 65 miles per hour?
You guessed it—after a short time your car would break down. If you were lucky, a simple tune-up would fix the problem. If not, the engine might need to be replaced entirely.
Chronic stress without a recovery period is a revving engine that, if left unchecked, can wear out the body and mind. Stress in our professional, personal, financial and social lives can lead to a variety of symptoms and signs of ill health.
Stress increases our body’s production of cortisol and adrenaline. These body chemicals help activate the “fight or flight” response, a normal reaction that is designed to prepare the body to flee danger or fight an attacker.
Unfortunately, many modern stressors are chronic and end up activating the “fight or flight” response for weeks, months, or years at a time. This long-term activation of the body’s stress-response system can wear down the body and mind, setting the stage for illness and disease.
The good news is that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be extremely helpful in reducing the symptoms, signs and effects of stress. In fact, treating and learning to manage stress and the aftermath of stress is a specialty in my practice, and I've helped hundreds of patients learn what to do to to decrease stress and improve health over the past decade. Some of the ways we can accomplish this include:
1) A customized Chinese herbal prescription to help restore internal health and balance, thus “slowing the engine down.”
2) Safe, gentle and effective acupuncture treatments to help “turn off” the fight or flight response and can enable you to feel calmer and sleep more soundly.
3) Suggestions for a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition, meditation, rest and exercise, towards enabling you to maintain health over the long-term.
One of the unique attributes of Chinese medicine is its holistic approach to health and well-being. Instead of masking, or only addressing a few symptoms and signs related to stress, an acupuncturist cares for the whole person, body and mind.
Stop revving your engine! If you or someone you know is experiencing stress, feel free to give me a call. For thousands of years acupuncture has helped millions of people cool their engines before they burned out and I've made it a mission of my practice to help people like you Be Well and Stay Well in every way despite the high stress times our modern world subjects us to day to day.
So if you're ready to downshift to a lower gear with Chinese Medicine as your guide, please book in for an appointment or consultation today. It would be my true joy and pleasure to help you!
There is a difference between being in top physical shape and holistically healthy. Some people may be in great athletic shape, but actually neglecting their body’s other internal health needs.
Sugar in particular has been implicated in many health issues in "thinner" healthier looking people of late. There have been numerous cases where professional athletes in the peak of their careers have died of heart attacks and other natural complications. Could these deaths have been prevented by taking better care of their overall health? Possibly.
A physically fit body is typically a body that exudes health and vibrancy, however, this doesn’t mean that underlying illnesses such as cancer or cardiovascular disorders are not underneath the surface.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture, when there are meridian imbalances in the body, our organs are not functioning to their fullest capacity.
Although you may feel in great athletic shape, when our body is out of balance, our organs are not getting the sufficient energy and blood flow they need to function properly.
The best thing to do is listen to your body. If something feels off or you feel low energy, these could be signs of an imbalance in your body.
The foundation of healthy living is a powerful free-flowing meridian system free to help the body without interference, this can be done through acupuncture.
By using acupuncture points on different meridians on your body, you can be restored to balance and better overall health.
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Did you know that the face can be the window to your health?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), your face’s appearance can offer valuable information about issues that could be affecting your overall health. The shape of your face, the color of your complexion, and marks such as lines or lesions can all help us determine a diagnosis and treatment plan.
To get an idea of what we sometimes look for, take a look at yourself in a mirror under natural light. There are five colors that appear in the face: red, black, yellow, green, and white.
Everyone’s skin tone is different, and usually one color is dominant, though several other colors can be visible. What colors do you see? Do you have visible veins, and if so, what color and where are they? Is your skin moist or dry?
A healthy, lustrous complexion and normal color indicate a good balance and flow of Qi (“life energy”) within your body. If the complexion is off-color, looks lifeless or “withered,” or is too moist or too dry, it may indicate an imbalance of Qi.
Each color is associated with specific conditions, syndromes, and organ and meridian networks. White, for example, is associated with the Lungs, so a pale appearance could indicate a Lung Qi deficiency and breathing problems.
Another important factor in facial diagnosis is that different regions of the face, such as the nose, the eyebrows, and the mouth, correspond with specific organ and meridian networks. For example, the nose correlates with the Spleen, the brows with the Liver, and the lower lip to the Large Intestine.
Since the face and your overall health are so closely related, you may discover positive changes in your complexion as your body regains balance and harmony through acupuncture and TCM.
this guest post from Fix.com (thanks Lauren!) gets right to the point - simple things you can do right now to improve immunity and stay well. Check it out, put it into practice and if you add a little #acupuncture to the list you'll be as assured as you can be of a happy healthy winter season!
The common cold is the leading cause of missed time at work or school, and it is estimated that between 5 and 20 percent of Americans will experience flu-like symptoms this coming year. But have no fear, there are many ways you can boost your immune system and decrease the risk of falling victim to the 200-plus viruses that can cause colds.
The first thing you need to do to boost your immune system is to reduce your sugar intake. Drinking as little as two, 12-ounce cans of soda can reduce your white blood cells’ ability to destroy harmful bacteria in your body! This winter, skip the soda and hydrate on water, tea, and natural fruit juices.
Remember how your mom always used to tell you to eat your veggies? Well, she was actually giving you great immunity-boosting advice! Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and chard help to boost your liver’s ability to flush out toxins! Try tossing an avocado into your next salad. Avocadoes contain amino acids and antioxidants, which help to balance hormones, support your immune system, and balance your adrenals!
In order to stay fit as a fiddle this winter, you may also need to change your lifestyle habits and boost your activity levels. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Movement stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps regulate your bathroom visits. Skip the late night talk show. Fatigue increases susceptibility to illness, so make sure you get your seven to nine hours!
Fix has even more immunity-boosting tips within this infographic! So read up and stay healthy this winter!
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.