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Monthly Archives: September 2013

7 Common Health Issues of Aging and Their Natural Remedies

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One thing in life we can all look forward to is getting older! And with that inevitable fact comes a harsh reality: we all need to take care of ourselves so that we can enjoy our later years. Whether you’re 30, 40, 50 or older, you’re at an age where you need to start considering what might be in store for you, and how natural medicine can help you prevent potential life-inhibiting conditions. Here are some of the more common ones, and what you can do to improve your health naturally:

1. Watch Your Tummy. Obesity (especially abdominal obesity) is one of the more serious conditions that many seniors struggle with today, and it’s only gaining more gravity every year. Combined with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance, you have potentially developed metabolic syndrome, a condition that puts you at risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and various cancers. Seeing a holistic nutritionist, taking yoga lessons and even looking into acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help you get back in shape and ward off these life-threatening conditions.

2. It’s a Joint Affair. More than half of our seniors become afflicted with some form of arthritis, whether it’s rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. It’s difficult to avoid because of the normal wear and tear we invariably inflict on our bodies throughout life, but the inflammation and pain can be mitigated with some massage therapy and/or acupuncture. And osteoporosis, a disease that weakens your bones to the point of potential fracture, can be prevented with proper nutritional intake of calcium and vitamin D. A good reason to see a holistic nutritionist! And yoga can help you gain the strength to prevent falls and fractures as well increase your bone density.

3. Cancer Conquering. The combination of better testing, and increased environmental stressors have more than likely been responsible for the rising numbers of cancers. While cancer is not a disease of the elderly alone, the fact is that the longer you live, the more likely you will have to fight a cancer or two. The more common cancers among seniors include cervical, prostate, lung, breast and colon cancers. Best idea to fight the growth? Once again, nutrition, acupuncture, and exercise like yoga.

4. Cardio Care. As you get older your heart rate decreases and your heart may even increase in size. Your blood vessels may stiffen as well, forcing your heart to work harder, putting you at risk for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues as well as stroke. Quitting smoking, improving your diet, and getting proper exercise can go a long way to helping out your heart (and yes, once again acupuncture, nutritional counselling and yoga can help you here!). Massage therapy can help reduce your stress levels, which may in turn provide some relief to your heart.

5. See no Evil, Hear No Evil. Eye problems and hearing issues become much more prevalent as we age. You’re in line for possible issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal disorders, and in regards to your hearing: tinnitus and hearing loss. Believe it or not, acupuncture and TCM can help delay, prevent or even cure some of these issues. Be sure to also follow your doctor’s advice in these regards, however, as the two medicines (conventional and natural), work best when used together. Quitting smoking can also go a long way to helping protect your eyes.

6. Stay Sharp. Your memory is going to become less efficient as you age, and it may become harder to remember things. In addition, some people are more likely than others to develop Alzheimer’s. To keep your mind in good health, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise like yoga, and stay social. Even talking to a psychotherapist about how you feel can help strengthen your mental faculties.

7. Bathroom Etiquette. Taking care of your bladder and urinary tract can go a long way to making sure you have a longer, healthier, and happier life. Conditions that can affect this part of your health include diabetes, menopause, and an enlarged prostate. Bladder control problems can affect anyone (not just seniors) due to infections, constipation, and even certain medications. Yoga is great for strengthening the right muscles around and near your bladder, and practicing Kegel exercises can prevent a lot of issues as well. Acupuncture and TCM is also used widely for urogenital issues.

By Richard Lobbenberg, Acupuncturist and TCM Practitioner

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6 Great Ways to Connect with Senior Citizens

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In many countries and cultures around the world, the elderly are revered, are respected highly, and are often sought out frequently for their wisdom and sage advice. Unfortunately, in our present society we have yet to learn to fully tap into the rich diversity and amazing insights that our seniors have to offer us. Here are some ways you can enrich your own life, and learn to connect with the senior citizens in your life or community:

1. Mind the Gap. Start out by acknowledging where you come up short in being able to understand what it’s like to be an elderly person. Take a look at (even make a list of!) the assumptions you have about a senior citizen that you know. Then ask yourself which of the assumptions you’ve made, if any, are true. Getting to the truth can help you to get on a more even ground with the person to whom you’re trying to connect.

2. Open Sesame. Who are the seniors in your life, and in your community? Open your eyes to who they are, and what makes them distinct from you. They may be retired but still work in their field, or they may do volunteer work or engage frequently in hobbies. How are they enjoying and appreciating life now? What are they doing or not doing that you could see as a possibility for yourself when you retire one day?

3. Give it Up. The reality of being a senior is that sometimes it hurts, physically. Or your energy just doesn’t last as long. Because we all age differently, consider that the senior in front of you might need your seat on a bus, but doesn’t want to ask. And at the same time, don’t expect that they want it either – not every older person needs your help. But some do, so be prepared to help out when they need it.

4. Share the Wealth. One of the major ways we fail to tap into the vast resources of our senior community is by neglecting to learn from their stories. Having lived so many years means that you have that many more good tales to tell, so the next time you engage a senior in conversation, be sure to ask lots of questions and get them talking. You’ll be surprised not only at how well you can get to know someone older than you, but also at what fantastic things they have to teach you through their stories.

5. Lead On. Be open to the fact that the senior you’re connecting with might not know much about modern technology, but might want to learn a thing or two. Certainly learning how to email, connect on Facebook and surf the internet can be valuable tools for anyone, so take the time to show them how to do these things. Seniors can certainly learn how to use what many of us take for granted, so find out what might be needed the most and get started on that.

6. Live it Up. Consider taking the next step and become a part of or start a community group that works with seniors. There are so many connections to be made – it might just take a couple of phone calls to find out what works best for you. And don’t be afraid to take the initiative and start something on your own if you see an area of connecting that is missing in your community. Your elders will thank you for it!

By Richard Lobbenberg, BSc BHSc DAc

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