Traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic and Central American medicine can teach us a lot about ageing gracefully. Here are five tips that can help preserve your internal and external health.
Staying healthy on the inside helps you look good on the outside
Maintaining a healthy digestive and immune system becomes particularly important as we age. Central American medicine values the papaya plant for its ability to help aid digestion, while fennel is commonly used in the Mediterranean to help stimulate the flow of bile in the stomach, while preventing and removing gas. In the Caribbean, flu symptoms are treated naturally with a tea made from mango leaves.
The answer might be in your kitchen cupboards
Sometimes the simplest remedies are the most effective. In South America, crushed allspice berries, warmed and mixed with oil, can be used to treat sore joints and muscles, while in China, the healing properties of soups have been touted for thousands of years.
Staying active is a strong foundation
The Chinese tradition of Tai Chi is said to help keep the spirit calm, while offering mental clarity and encouraging the joints to remain flexible. Yoga, is also a great way of helping the mind and body stay healthy and strong, while helping many people to deal better with daily stresses.
Minimize stress to preserve health
Meditation helps to slow down the mind and relax the respiratory system, and is used in Chinese tradition to help preserve 'qi’ - the internal life force of all beings. You can try practicing meditation almost anywhere, but its best to start sitting up-right in a chair, closing the eyes and focusing on the breath. Start counting down from 10 slowly and then start again. This will help to clear your mind of busy thoughts and enjoy a few minutes of complete stillness.
Look at the bigger picture
The Chinese concept of 'qi' underpins not only medicine, but also meditation and martial arts, suggesting that these three factors, physical health, spirituality and exercise, should be considered together as part of a wider approach to growing older.