Common health complaints we see as we grow older
It is well known and predicted that disease & disability can rise with age. Nevertheless, poor health need not be a consequence of ageing.
Generally signs and symptoms of ageing include graying and thinning of hair, tinnitus, hearing loss, infertility, diminished sexual function, menopause, memory loss, urinary and/or bowel incontinence, reduced bone density as well as pain in lower back, knees, hips and other joints.
The difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine
When it comes to ageing Western medicine (WM) focus’s a lot on the declining of sex hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common form of management. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views ageing as an energy based occurrence. Declining kidney energies and essence, declining of kidney yin and kidney yang. When TCM speaks of the kidney are not just speaking of organ in lower back but also it’s associated meridian.
The importance of the kidney
TCM regards kidney essence as the main organ responsible for the ability to conceive, hearing, brain development and function, bone marrow, sexual function, bone matrix and regulation of urinary tract and bowels. It also has a role in psycho-emotional functions such as will power, motivation and fear.
TCM aims to rectify kidney function via the acupuncture meridian, herbal medicines and qi gong (breathing exercises) Protecting kidney energy aids in healthy ageing. This can be further aided by having regular and plenty of sleep, eating well, exercising well, having a healthy sex life and trying to live with less fear. Internal exercising such as qi gong, certain yoga styles, taiji and meditation also help preserve and strengthen the kidneys.
The changing of other organs
Kidneys aren’t the only organs we need to protect and nurture as we grow older, but they could be considered the most important. Another organ to consider would be the lungs which have a primary role in declining immunity. The protecting of the spleen and stomach helps rectify any problematic digestive functions.
How TCM can help
TCM sees the body as a whole, so aiding one area or organ or meridian will have a knock on effect to other organ systems within the body. If we tie together Western and Eastern medicines it is very possible to achieve healthy ageing. WM can be used to manage the acute conditions such as those needing surgical intervention or bacterial infections. TCM is useful for managing long term issues such as arthritis and other degenerative health complaints. It can also facilitate healing from surgeries, which becomes harder as we get older.
Your Chinese medicine doctor will use a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines to address your health complaint. S/he will also speak with you about foods, exercises and lifestyle changes so that you may continue on with your preservation and healthy living long after your treatment plan is over.