Kristen Sparrow, MD Acupuncture
Ancient Medicine Made Modern
January 2016
Destress to Feel Better and Live Long

Anti-Aging tips are about a whole lot more than vanity.  Ways to keep your mind and body resilient are key to being able to get more out of life at any age.  Some of these tips you might have seen before.  But the heart and soul of my research, using stress monitoring to document improvement and real clinical results, is to help people to live better, happier and longer lives.
San Francisco City Sights: Vertical Garden and Sculpure SOMA

Fitness and Health
urban running
Feel great, look your best, live long
The Ancient Chinese expected to live to 120 years old. They blamed the modern ways (of the year 1000 A.D.) for robbing them of their 120 year birth right.
Purpose, People, Pets, Plants, all contribute to a healthy and happy life.  But here, I'm concentrating on concrete Physical actions to take.
Also, there are countless supplements, strategies, diets, gadgets and spas out there. Have at them!  This is not a comprehensive list, just my core one. 
1. Work on the strength of your thighs. Even with arthritic knees strength matters. Strengthening quadriceps muscles also increases Growth Hormone, an anti-aging boon, as well as bone health.  Full squats are not necessary. 
2. Stretching. As we age we get less supple.  This matters because we are less resilient to injury. Our joints also experience more wear and tear, and our posture and hence our appearance suffers. And, yes, you need to do more and more the older you are.  Embrace it.
3. Sleeping. Important for mood, inflammation and appearance.  Get daylight in the middle of the day.  Turn down lights, and turn off screens an hour before bed. Go to bed and get up at the same time as much as possible. Take a tiny dose of melatonin if necessary. Sleeping meds are risky, be careful.  Previous newsletter devoted to sleep.  If all else fails, this 8 hour recording by Max Richter, called "sleep" is supposed to work like a charm. 
4. Sun.  We all need some for Vitamin D, but guard your face as you would a rare jewel.  Sun ages faces. A lot.
5. Astra Essence by Health Concerns.  I swear by this supplement.  It keeps illnesses at bay and fights aging and is an overall tonic.  The patients I've convinced to take it over time, swear by it too.
6. Acupuncture.  It eases stress in the body which helps immune function, mood, pain.  The current science only reinforces what the ancient techniques promised.  It also can help you to avoid surgery and drugs(see #10).
7.Derma roller.  I recommend this in particular for patients who are getting cosmetic acupuncture, but recommend for everyone who is concerned about the effects of aging on the face.  In conjunction with an exfoliant either natural (yoghurt, citrus) or pharmaceutical (tretinoin) it helps to keep your skin active and making collagen. I use mine a few times a week.  I really think it helps. Email me if you want the details.
8. Diet and Habits.  Slow carb and low carb diets help with inflammation, prediabetic conditions, and energy levels.  Calorie restriction in animals definitely prolongs life.  But that's a tough one. (Why live longer if miserable?) But I need to include it because the science is overwhelming.  I think it goes without saying that smoking is to be avoided, and alcohol in moderation.
9. Wear a scarf and wash your hands.  Scarves keep your neck warm in winter and help to avoid illness. Are there studies to prove this? No. But traditional cultures the world over follow this advice.  You should too.  Wash your hands with soap and water (avoid Purell type products which destroy good bacteria.)What we should be doing is wearing simple cotton gloves in public, but short of that, washing will keep your incidence of illness down.  Avoid the blankets on planes. Yes, always. 
10. Avoid and be skeptical.   Even benign medications turn out to have side effects.  Even simple surgeries can go wrong.  Especially avoid any medication, surgery or procedure  that is new on the market.  Don't be a guinea pig, let other people try it out. Try to avoid them if possible and find other strategies.  Yes, it takes time and effort, but it's  for life.

Reducing stress and monitoring that stress is what my research is about.  But just a reminder of some of the hazards of too much stress, link here. For example, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, headaches, depression and anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer's, accelerated aging, premature death. 
So do what you can do reduce your stress and don't forget to come in for acupuncture!  That's what the practice is all about.

Research News
My ideal is to have a system where by stimulating certain acupuncture points  one is able to dial down the stress in the body. 
Dog getting Acupuncture
See? Doesn't hurt a bit!!
It would be a customizable technique that would tune down the stress for less inflammation, better mood, better sleep, and better immunity.   This has been my "mission" and I think I'm getting closer!   Some examples here.
I've started looking at something called the Braverman questionaire.  My colleague Zach Haigney alerted me to this way of categorizing patients, and it has some parallels with Chinese Medicine. So don't be surprised if I spring this on you in the clinic.

Acupuncture resources.
Nice talk on Acupuncture for Animals. Click on the photo for the TED talk.

All of the Abstracts from the SAR are published and available. 

Hope to see you soon.  As always, more at the blog.  Live well and be well!



Dr. Kristen Sparrow

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