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Every 7.7 seconds in North America someone turns 50 years old. As these 80 million 'baby boomers' chronologically advance, the question keeps getting louder. . . "is it possible to slow down, stop, or reverse the physical aging process?" The answer prevails on the periphery of alternative and integrative medicine in the increasingly popular specialty of "Longevity Medicine". Many of the now well known complementary therapies like acupuncture, yoga, bodywork, nutrition are intentionally utilized to address health imbalances and prevention diseases. One of the major side effects of these modalities (side effects aren't always negative!) often observed is looking and feeling younger. There are anti-aging properties in many holistic approaches to health care .Anti-aging/longevity specialists are surfacing in conventional and mainstream medical arenas as the market demands more attention to this 'age old' issue that boomers are now deciding to challenge. One popular approach that is creating much controversy is the prescribing and administration of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) or Growth Hormone (GH). The Human Growth Hormone is naturally produced in the pituitary gland. It's normal responsibility in the body is to influence the growth of cells, bones, muscles, and organs throughout the body. The secretion of GH normally peaks in the early 20's. The production of GH falls more than 75% from age 20 to age 60. A 60 year old may secrete 1/4 of the GH secreted by a 20 year old. The decline of GH, sometimes called "somatopause", is considered a 'deficiency' by those who believe that the body should maintain high levels of GH throughout life. It is perceived that this deficiency contributes to increased bodyfat, dry skin, loss of hair color, and decreased energy - otherwise known as - effects of aging. Reported possibilities with administration of GH (by ongoing injections or oral substance) are restoration of muscle mass and strength, decreased body fat, improved vision and memory, and increased energy. Until the mid 1980's the source of HGH were pituitary glands of cadavers. Now it is being genetically engineered. HGH has historically been used medically for GH insufficiency which is found in a condition called Turner's Syndrome and also in Progressive Chronic Renal Insufficiency - both of which result in short stature. Now, GH is much more varied in it's indications for use especially in the anti-aging industry. DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone) is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and also considered a steroid (although not 'anabolic' - muscle building) and has been popular in the past few years for it's youthful effects (although not well researched). DHEA levels also decline around age 25. As this is considered the 'mother hormone', many attribute this decline to onsets of aging and beginning stages of degenerative disease. DHEA replacement is now falling back in the pack of anti-aging forerunners. Critics say that ingesting hormones gives the body false messages.

Norman Shealy, MD, founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, has written extensively on DHEA. Dr. Shealy rarely recommends supplementation as much as he advises towards natural ways to increase DHEA levels. His current work with "The Ring of Fire" helps to increase DHEA levels naturally in the body by utilizing the energy meridians and acu-points. One of the most basic and natural approaches to anti-aging is through utilization of energy - both on a physical level and a subtle level. On a physical level, exercise greatly contributes to the increase in cellular oxygen. According to Dr. William Campbell Douglass, author of Stop Aging or Slow the Process - when cells don't get enough oxygen they degenerate and die, and when a person doesn't get enough oxygen they degenerate and die. Nutritional support from whole foods greatly affects the cells ability to Utilize oxygen and maintain the integrity of the cell. On a subtle energetic level (atoms and sub-atomic particles - the part of our anatomy that precedes the physical body) recognition and implementation of mind-body therapies are reported to change cellular physiology. According to experts with a holistic philosophy this is where true anti-aging effects take place. These are the invisible yet profound parts of us - like the positive mental attitude, ability to access joy, love, humor, and faith. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psychocybernetics, alludes to this concept in his book. Dr. Maltz is a Plastic surgeon who noted that 'happiness' levels and feelings of youthfulness did not change in many individuals whom had plastic surgery to look younger. The message here is that eternal youth comes from within and is reflected in the physical body. Continuous balancing of the energy bodies (vibrational approaches as based in ancient times and cultures) whether through yoga, acupuncture, essential oils, sounding, or energy work, along with physical support of these processes through exercise, nutrition and detoxification, hold the longest track record for anti-aging effects.

Marilee Tolen RN, HNC is board certified in Holistic Nursing through the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) and is former Northeast Regional Director For AHNA. Marilee is a graduate of the Brennan School of Healing Science, has completed Intuition Training with Caroline Myss, PhD and Norman Shealy MD, and is a certified Healing Touch Instructor. She is certified as a Colon Hydrotherapist and has had several years of practice in her Wellness Center.  Marilee now teaches people how to access cleansing measures in the privacy of their own home.  Her work as 'Home Spa Lady' teaches people how to make every day a cleansing and spa day!

Marilee Tolen
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