We would all like to defy the aging process. Who among us would not want to be able to have the energy, creativity, stamina and discipline that characterizes youthful bodies and minds.
It is quite possible to bear more influence upon our personal aging process and even the paradigm that is reigning in our culture. One way to begin would be a look at our language. Do we bring in all sorts of assumptions when it comes to chronological age? Sentiments such as, ‘well you know when I was thirty years younger, I used to be able to….’ Or even, ‘now that I am forty years older I just can see the way I used to…’ While there is a certain amount of truth to the statement of such a fact, it gives a kind of reinforcement of what is expected to begin to get harder, or work less easily, or be more painful as we age chronologically.
What if we began to frame things using the word biologically? What if we learned more about our bodies, minds and hearts, their true state of health and the possibilities to increase or change our health for the better solely in relation to this direct experience?
When we get to know what we are capable of rather than impose ideas of what is inevitable, we open new avenue of possibility. For instance we could look at how much energy we have, or do not have, and approach ourselves with an open question, ‘What could I do to have more energy today?’ And if our stamina declines we could look at factors that are measurable like inflammation or stress and work with our actual biology by introducing techniques and methods like nutrition, exercise and meditation and begin to actively shape our biology.
Not only do we help ourselves in reframing our relationship with the aging process but we begin to create a new paradigm for aging in our world!
The festive season is upon us again, and as you prepare for spending time with your friends and families, sharing holiday meals and exchanging presents, spare a few moments to be thankful for these healthful resources which can reduce your risk of developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s as you age.
A welcome solution to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s is craniosacral therapy (CST). One of the contributory factors to both Alzheimer’s and dementia is inflammation of brain tissues. Lifestyle, stress and diet can increase this inflammation. CST is a non-invasive technique that allows the therapist to use their hands to feel and gentle manipulate the flow of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) as it circulates within the cranium, along the spinal cord, and down to the sacrum. A health balance and flow of CFS, blood and interstitial fluid is vital for the brain to perform optimally. When these factors are imbalanced the brain gets insufficient oxygen, meaning it will become over-exerted, fatigued and memory functions will begin to deteriorate. The aim of CST is to increase the flow of vital fluids and enhance memory.
You may be surprised to known that researchers have found that regular exercise can help reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It does so by building up part of the brain that Alzheimer’s causes to decline and eventually perish. Regular exercise causes the cerebral cortex – the outer layer of the brain – to thicken, increasing protection against dementia. A minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week can improve your memory function in just three months.
Mediation is nourishment for the mind and for the body. It re-energizes the mind and body when they are weak and exhausted, it calms the energies of the mind and the bodies when they are anxious and tense, it rebalances the body’s energies when they are out of sync. Meditation can also reduce the risk of dementia by increasing blood flow to the brain, increasing the brain’s protective tissues, reducing stress and boosting mood and general wellbeing.
A healthy doesn’t have to be a life sentence, even during the holiday season. There are many useful resources out there to give you ideas for healthy meals that can actually help to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. A great example is The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook, which has a hundred recipes to boost brain health. There are many other resources which can help prepare tasty meals, snacks and desserts for the holidays and year-round.
During the holiday season, many people are partying and having fun. This often means late nights and lack of sleep. When the holiday time is over you may be feeling the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Getting a good night’s sleep is another step to combating dementia and Alzheimer’s. Sleep helps to drain toxins from the brain, leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed.
More than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Though most of them are 65 and over, this disease can be detected at early as age 40 or 50. By following these tips and using the helpful resources, you can help prevent this number from increasing.
As with so many illnesses in the body, it really is about addressing the underlying inflammation. It is far less likely that there is a causal link, and instead an issue of inflammation caused by lifestyle (stress, inflammation promoting diet, etc). If you work to reduce or eliminate the underlying inflammation, you will greatly reduce your risk of both health concerns.
“Certain proteins and inflammatory processes have been found in increased levels in the skin of patients with rosacea,” noted Egeberg, “These have also been linked to dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease,” he added. However, “while this may be one potential explanation, we cannot say for sure that this is the cause.” Dr. Anton Porsteinsson…agreed that “there may be common processes that put you at risk for both disorders.”
The term comes from a recent CNN piece on women and health.
Here are some statistics:
80 million Americans suffer from some form of insomnia or sleeplessness.
60% of American women suffer from some form of sleeplessness, which would suggest this first 80 million figure might be a bit low.
The CNN contributors seemed to suggest that many women use sleeping aids of some kind. Using these aids for the long term may cause dependency and ultimately cause unwanted problems.
What causes insomnia?
In a word, stress. Our reticular activitating system (RAS) in the brain can get overstimulated due to continuously high demand periods and ongoing emergencies. Like a switch that gets stuck in the ‘on’ position, this continuously high demand flight or flight part of our brain continues to be stimulated 24/7, making if difficult to transition to a restful, recuperative sleep which helps repair the stress and strain of the day.
Sleeping pills and the like may work for a while, but typically their effect is lessened over time, not to mention other side effects they may introduce. As a bonus, this ongoing overstimulation of our nervous system may lead to or encourage the creation of long-term inflammatory processes which may hasten the aging process. Take a look at my blogs on my Geriatric classes and Anti Aging suggestions for more input on this.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) creates balance in our autonomic nervous system, bringing more balance and synergy between our sympathetic (more active) nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. A regular addition and application of CranioSacral Therapy can help retrain and ‘reset’ our reticular activitating system and turn off the stress switch which interferes with the normal sleep cycle, and lessen our dependence on sleeping pills and other artificial aids.
Hence, a Sleeping Pill Exit Strategy.
Last week we talked about 7 ways to stay young. Click here to read those ways. Here are more resources to assist in the ‘reversal of the aging process’.
8. Omega 3-6-9 oil
Omega 3-6-9 oil has been long recognized as a valuable nutritional supplement. Contact Janice Webber at firstname.lastname@example.org or JoAnn Cuddigan at email@example.com.
9. Arthritis and Diabetes
Arthritis and Diabetes are two inflammatory based diseases that can accompany the aging process. A nice preventative practice that has been developed over the last few years is tai chi for arthritis and tai chi for diabetes, incorporating elements of chi gong (another ancient practice). This is a graceful way to stay young and healthy. Contact Janice Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org for a referral to local instructors in your area.
10. Transformational Coaching
One of the best coaches for transformational work, incorporating inner bonding, spiritual awareness and the ability to change the patterns of our thinking, which can manifest as disease, is my friend and associate Nancy Swisher. Nancy is an internationally recognized transformational coach who advises clients around the world. For more information, visit her website at www.choosingselflove.com
11. Rolfing/Structural Integration
Rolfing from the right resource helps counteract the inevitable influence of gravity on our bodies. For more information, go to www.rolf.org
12. Grounding and healthy boundaries
Being grounded and ‘in’ the body is complimentary to feeling welcome to our stay on the planet. Suzanne Scurlock-Durana is a master at feeling grounded, present aware and at peace in the body. For more information, go to www.healingfromthecore.com
13. Still point inducer
Lest I forget, one useful device for CranioSacral Therapy self-treatment is the Upledger Institute still point inducer. Used 5-10 minutes a day, a still point inducer is like having your own therapist at home. For more information, go to www.upledger.com
14. Soul Retrieval
There are many paths that lead to completion. A very ancient technique that has been practiced by Shamanic practioners for thousands of years is called soul retrieval. Soul retrieval allows one to resolve spiritual, emotional, and traumatic issues. This traditional way of completing often includes individual, family, multi-generational, and community concerns. For more information, go to www.bodyenergy.net/otherresoruces/shamanicpractioner
15. Blue Zones
Last but not least, I’ve recently found out that my adopted Iowa is initiating a program called Blue Zones, which is based on a book by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer who did a survey of places in the world where people live the longest and fullest lives.
Dan’s website is www.BlueZones.com and it’s about the practices that create community wide well being and longevity. You should also visit www.bluezones.com/2011/08/iowa-launches-blue-zones-project to find out how the state of Iowa is launching a project to become the #1 state in the US in health and longevity in the next 5 years.
There are certainly a number of ways to look at the aging process, and after teaching a number of my new Geriatrics classes I wanted to pass along some thoughts about ‘how to stay young.’
To put a positive spin on things, there have been a number of resources I’ve come across over time that contribute to a ‘reversal of the aging process’ that I want to share. Please feel to use these for your own growth, development, and education:
1. CranioSacral Therapy
We all encounter the bumps and bruises of life as time goes on. CranioSacral Therapy is a good way to reduce old stresses and strains in the body and gain ground against the aging process. See the BodyEnergy website for more information.
2. 3-Day Mini Intensive Program
As part of the comment above, Body Energy’s 3 day ‘mini intensive program is a great way to get from 2-6 hours of intensive therapy to dissolve old and significant traumas to the body. These intensives have become part of my ‘anti aging secret’ as we go through our 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. See the BodyEnergy site for information on our 3 day mini intensive program.
3. CranioSacral Therapy and Geriatrics
Designed to teach some simple techniques for the caring of our parents and friends, this 2-day course is a great way to give back to those who have given so much to us. See the BodyEnergy site for more information on this class.
4. Transcendental Meditation Program
Studies have shown that long-term practitioners of Transcendental Meditation have a biological age which is 20 years younger than their chronological age. In fact, it is the Transcendental Meditation movement which coined the term ‘reversal of the aging process.’ Transcendental Meditation addresses stress, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a variety of the dysfunctions of the aging process. Besides CranioSacral Therapy, Transcendental Meditation is the best healing modality I have come across in my life. Email TMinfo@TMChicago.org for more information.
6. Maharishi Ayurveda
This ancient science provides an excellent way to release deep toxins that may have accumulated in the body. Along with our 3-day mini intensive program, I recommend the Ayurvedic Panchakarma program to optimize health and reverse the effects of the aging process. For more information visit the Raj website.
Supplements are highly recommended by Dr. Upledger for a variety of disease processes and the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s. These supplements would include antioxidants such as CoQ10 and resveratrol, alpha-lipoic acid, and Vitamin C & E.
8. Nutritional Components
One of the factors we have identified in our Geriatric class is the influence of long-term inflammatory processes in the body in regard to the symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Two great resources to look at:
Leo Galland MD, (comments on anti inflammatory foods) – www.bottomlinesecrets.com
Weston A Price, a pioneer in healthy nutrition – www.westonaprice.org
More resources and information will follow in the next blog post.