Healing practices: The evidence for Chinese medicine and healthy aging by Kelly Clady-Giramma, MS, LAc, Dipl OM
In China, long life and older adults are revered and aging embraced. Prior to the rising popularity of Western culture there over the past few decades, birthday celebrations were reserved for the very old. While everyone is young once, the thinking goes, it takes a lot of luck and talent to grow old-talent that deserves to be celebrated. Unsurprisingly, the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophy of longevity is not synonymous with the contemporary Western obsession with "anti-aging." Taoism, an ancient spiritual system that promotes living in harmony with nature and gave rise to TCM, encourages functionality and feeling young on the inside rather than simply looking young on the outside. TCM offers many tools and advice around longevity. It advocates balanced life in all its aspects. It promotes connection to nature and its cycles as well as respect for our circadian (daily) rhythms. TCM also encourages us to take personal responsibility for our health and be proactive. Many more people and physicians are turning to personalized integrative medicine today, focusing on healthy lifestyles and the best of various healing traditions. Integrative medicine combines treatments from conventional allopathic, or "Western", medicine with other evidence-based healing modalities from around the world, including TCM. For active-aging organizations, TCM's complementary approaches may open additional avenues to support clients in living longer, healthier lives.