I have observed many healthy and happy people who are in their 90s and still able to enjoy their lives. They share some common characteristics:
- They are very disciplined and follow a routine every day.
- They go to bed early and get up early.
- They have a positive attitude and hardly complain.
- They are very social and are willing to listen to other people’s suggestions.
- Most of them follow a religion.
- They do not always have good genes to protect them.
- When they were young, they took care of their sick parents and learned the importance of being healthy.
- They eat healthy food most of the time and never overeat.
Linda Yamamoto is an 88-year old Japanese-American lady who has had acupuncture with me for the past 6 years. She stayed at home until her youngest child went to high school. Then she started working for the government as an accountant. She has been very social, active, and happy. She donates money to a foundation to help the Asian college students in need. She does not travel a lot, but does participate in many kinds of social activities in Boston area. Her husband drives her around. She gets upset when her husband forgets to pick her up, but does not complain very much.
Good Genes Do Not Guarantee Good Health
Linda has inherited good genes from her mother, who lived to 98 years old without any health insurance. But good genes do not protect her from being sick. She developed hypothyroidism when she turned 40, after she delivered her third child. After a few years taking Synthroid for her thyroid condition, she developed atrial fibrillation. She then took β-blocker and two other medications for her heart condition. Her heartbeats slowed down with the medications, but never became normal.
The Hormone Replace Therapy (HRT) brought dreams to many post-menopausal women, thinking they can regain youth by taking this “magic pill”. Linda tried it at the age of 68 only to see her period returning a year later. She thought that was not natural and quit the hormone pill immediately. She developed breast cancer after taking hormone supplements for a year at the age of 70. She had surgery, radiation therapy, but did not take Tamaxofen to block all her estrogen receptor, thus she did not lose her muscles and strength.
At the age of 80, she stopped working for the government because she realized that the stress was too much for her. She spent more time on social events. She always slept eight hours no matter when she went to bed. If she went to bed after midnight, her heartbeats would become irregular and her digestion become poor. For some time, she attended many social events in late evenings and had dinner after 7pm. During that time, her heartbeats were irregular even she was taking three medications. I suggested that she stop drinking coffee, have dinner before 7pm and go to bed before midnight.
Back on Track with Disciplined Healthy Routine
She gradually changed her habit. The heart condition and digestion have been improving for the past couple of years. She went to see her cardiologist for routine checkups and eventually stopped all her heart medications at the age of 87. Now she comes to see me for acupuncture facial rejuvenation. Her heartbeats are now normal. With her heart condition improved, she starts personal training in gym to tone her muscles. When she first started to lift weights three times a week, she felt pains in her knees and hip. But because she eats healthy, she did not have any systematic inflammation and her muscle pains were eased with only one or two acupuncture treatments. With acupuncture and exercises, her joint pain and Raynaud’s syndromes do not bother her anymore. Her face looks like a 50-year-old; she still has sharp memory and never forgets to pay her bills on time. She still cooks, cleans and lives in her own house.
In conclusion, a disciplined healthy routine is the key for a long and happy life. You do not have to be rich or to travel all over the world to become healthy and happy.