Rejuvenation for BoomersRejuvenation for Boomers: Restore Energy and Regain Your Youthful Glow

By Dr. Maoshing Ni

"Aging gracefully" is a euphemism for getting old naturally: Gray hair, sagging skin, lost muscle tone, and sinking energy levels are what usually come to mind. Here are some tips for aging naturally that defy the usual expectations! Invigorate your energy, regain your youthful glow, and encourage cell rejuvenation with these 4 tips.

1. Revitalize growth hormones with squats

The term "human growth hormone" may bring to mind images of athletes and bodybuilders. In reality, HGH, which is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, maintains healthy cell growth for everyone. When we're young, we secrete a lot of this hormone to build bones and develop muscles. After age 25, HGH production wanes, and our bodies tend to have less lean tissue, more fat, and thinner skin; hair begins to fall out and mental function declines -- all this happens because our cells aren't replacing themselves as efficiently as before. I do not recommend using artificial HGH supplementation, with its possible side effects of joint discomfort and blood sugar imbalance.

SquatsInstead, you can stimulate your body to produce more HGH on its own by doing squats to exercise the large muscles. In one study, squatting exercise caused an eightfold increase in HGH levels. You can also do leg presses at the gym. At home, simply grasp a heavy object, bend your knees, keep your spine straight, squat down and hold the position, count to 10, then come back up. Of course, be mindful of your knees and don't do this if you have knee issues.

2. Restore your youthful hair

You can use natural methods to help remedy hair issues. A Chinese herb for graying hair is "Shou wu" (also called "fo-ti" or polygonum root). Found in a hair nurture supplement available in Asian herb stores, it's used to restore hair growth and reverse graying. Eating black sesame seeds, black beans, and walnuts are thought to reverse graying hair, too.

You can also cover up the gray by using natural colorants to dye your hair. Chamomile and lemon juice can color light hair. Henna works well for shades of light brown and red. Coffee or black tea can be used by brunettes. Here's how: Brew two to four cups of strong coffee (or tea), and allow to cool. Pour over dry, tangle-free hair. Thoroughly saturate your hair, and use your fingers to work through. Leave on for ten to twenty minutes and then rinse out. Be mindful of staining carpets and other items. This method is a way to naturally dye your hair over time, but its temporary, and must be repeated regularly. For a dark black hair coloring, you can make the coffee mixture and add in some squid ink.

If hair loss is your concern, you can replenish hair growth with the Chinese herb arbovita (also called Platycladus orientalis and Semen Platycladi). Apply arborvita to stimulate follicles, improve blood flow, and strip away root-clogging oils. I have used this herb for my patients over the last twenty years with very good success. A natural herbal blend that combines herbs to nourish hair follicles and promote healthy hair is Hair Nurture Formula.

3. Tone your skin with a do-it-yourself facelift

We have been successfully treating patients with facial-toning acupuncture in our office for 25 years. If you decide to seek out this treatment, be sure to work with practitioners who are specially trained in acupuncture for the face. In the meantime, bring the benefits home by learning to do acupressure on yourself. Using your fingers, you can tone your facial muscles and stimulate the natural production of collagen in the skin. Press firmly with your fingers, working your way methodically along the following points:

Point 1: GB 14 to relax the forehead
Point 2: Yintang to ease furrow between the brows
Point 3: Taiyang to get rid of crows feet around the eyes
Point 4 and 5: LI 20 and ST 3 for minimizing smile lines

Stimulate these points in the morning and again at night.

4. Up your energy with magnesium, Bs, tea, and tai chi

I have many patients that complain about one of the hallmarks of aging: waning energy. Here are some energy-enhancing strategies:
  • Magnesium is an essential mineral that mitochondria, the tiny power generators in your cells, require to help your body produce energy. Many people don't get enough of this essential mineral, because two common dietary habits leach magnesium from our bodies: using too much salt and eating too much dairy. You can get your fill of magnesium from eating whole grains (such as brown rice, oats, millet, and whole wheat products, like bread and pasta) and a variety of nuts and seeds. Have a daily handful of pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews. If you prefer capsule form, try taking 500 mg of magnesium daily.
  • Fatigue can also come from a deficiency of B vitamins. Get your B's from eggs, fish (especially shellfish), orange juice, leafy green vegetables like spinach and collard greens, and sunflower, sesame, and other seeds. Or take B vitamins as a daily supplement -- just be sure the product includes the whole complex and is formulated to avoid imbalance.
  • For a pick-me-up, drink 2 to 3 cups of ginseng tea a day. Unlike coffee, which stimulates the central nervous system, ginseng elevates energy gently.
  • Start practicing tai chi, qigong, or dao-in yoga, which are gaining popularity in the United States. These gentle exercises promote energy, balance, and a calm mind. Many recent studies have confirmed their balancing action for blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, equilibrium, and other organ functions. Though these exercises will make you feel younger than your years, they can be practiced at nearly any age -- my own tai chi teacher was 90 years old. Find a teacher in your area, or learn with an instructional DVD, such as Attune Your Body with Dao-In DVD and Self-Healing Qi Gong DVD.

I hope you have found ways to rejuvenate! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

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