TUN Dr Mahathir received many accolades for his successes – as our fourth Prime Minister, statesman, visionary, innovator, father of development, and many other achievements. One other aspect for which he has also received much praise is his excellent health and energy. He looks good for a 77-year-old man.
The life expectancy for Malaysians is now about 72 years for men and 75 years for women. But even those who make it to these ages are usually unfit, and saddled with a host of health problems, the most likely being arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and if they smoke, also lung disease. Many may already be bed-ridden, suffering or recuperating from heart attacks, strokes, various cancers, or diabetic complications. Some may already have Alzheimer’s disease, and some may be debilitated by fractures.
Thus, it is remarkable that a man who had to undergo heart bypass surgery at age 63 is able to recover fully and become so fit that his endurance when at work, even at age 77, is legendary. It is reported that those who worked alongside him (all of whom were younger than him) all complained that they could not keep up with his punishing pace, especially when on overseas trips.
This is another example that he has set that we should all follow. To achieve excellent health and energy after being a heart patient means that he has to be very disciplined about his diet and lifestyle. We know that he does not have large meals and he has never been known to be fat. By his own admission, we know he takes health supplements. He enjoys many physical activities, including horse-riding. He does not smoke, and as a good Muslim, does not drink.
I am sure Dr M will continue to live a healthy lifestyle and will continue to live life to the fullest, for many more years.
Health, longevity & productivity
Many are now resorting to various anti-aging and longevity therapies, hoping to look young and remain healthy in their senior years, and perhaps live longer. If we can all be as healthy, active and productive as Dr M, imagine the additional good we can bring to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation. With good health, we should be able to continue working and contributing economically and socially to the good of the nation.
On the other hand, if we just let things happen and “age gracefully” without any effort to preserve and promote the healthy state that we took for granted as youngsters, we are likely to end up as burdens to our families and society. And the financial, social and emotional strains on everyone will be tremendous.
Our Health Ministry has been very pro-active in educating Malaysians on wellness and healthcare, including healthy aging. Much emphasis has been given to senior citizens, encouraging them to remain as healthy as possible.
Malaysians are also becoming more health conscious as evidenced by the proliferation of health publications, fitness centres, health-related seminars and activities. In the last two years, at least three societies promoting anti-aging or healthy aging have been formed.
Unfortunately, the country’s progress also means that we have more sedentary lifestyles, watch TV or sit in front of the computer a lot, and eat more Western-style diets. All these have resulted in the rise in obesity, hypertension, diabetes and a whole gamut of health problems.
Poor diet and lifestyle translate to higher incidences of heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, kidney disease, etc. We see younger people getting these diseases too. Fortunately, medical advances have made sophisticated treatments available and still improve the overall life expectancy, but at enormous cost to our economy, as well as to our families and ourselves.
Life force & longevity
While Western medicine and modern science is making tremendous strides in the research of aging, and anti-aging treatments, Eastern philosophies have also enjoyed a revival, especially in the West where people are taking to Eastern health arts by the droves. This has led to scientific studies being conducted on these arts to see if the claimed benefits are real. As a result, meditation, yoga and tai chi are now scientifically proven ways to improve health. I am sure that when more studies are done, qigong and other Eastern health arts will prove as popular as these other practices .
But we cannot wait for the researchers to decide to embark on studies of the benefits of qigong. For me and other qigong practitioners, personally knowing dozens of once-terminal cancer patients who defied their doctors’ predictions that they would die soon, is enough evidence that the practice is good for health. Still, we need formal scientific studies to convince others.
Knowledge of life force (qi) is ancient. It is known to be the originator of life (sexual qi, and the essential qi of the ova and spermatozoa); the sustainer of life; and the preserver of life. Without qi, life cannot exist. And once qi is depleted, life will cease to exist. If we understand this, then we will have understood one major key to longevity.
Qi is your battery power while physical energy is your fuel power. Qi can be charged while you move about and breathe in an orderly manner, just as the battery can be charged while your car engine runs. But the physical energy must be obtained from an external source (food), just as the car needs petrol all the time.
When the battery is flat, no amount of petrol will start the engine. But with the car, you can jump-start or change the battery. Well, human beings also get “jump-started” when doctors use the defibrillator/electric shock to restart their hearts!
If you don’t want to end up hoping for the electric shock to succeed in restarting your heart, start practising qigong now and store plenty of qi to nourish all your cells and organs, including your heart.
Life force and live cells
One of the most popular, though controversial, anti-aging therapies is live cell therapy. It began in 1912 with Prof Pfizer who proposed that live cell injections would have anti-aging effects, and Dr Kuettner who showed that live cells can be transplanted by cutting organs into small pieces, dissolving them in saline, and then injecting the solution.
In 1931 Dr. Paul Niehans, using this method, saved the life of a patient whose parathyroid had been erroneously removed by another doctor.
Transplant was not possible, as the patient was in a terminal condition, so he injected live cells from the parathyroid of an embryonic ox as a life-saving measure. The patient recovered completely and lived for an additional 24 years.
Dr. Niehans was also influenced by the earlier work of Dr. Alexis Carrel, who demonstrated the benefits of adding healthy cells to those about to die.
He found that by adding healthy fresh cells to a dying cell colony, the moribund cells acquired new life. In 1954, Dr. Paul Niehans’ classic work, Dei Zellulartherapie (Cellular Therapy) was published.
However, there were many disastrous complications, following such therapies attempted by other doctors, either to save lives, or for anti-aging purposes. These were due to severe reactions similar to organ-transplant rejection. Many countries then banned this therapy.
Modern advances, however, have made it possible to use embryonic sheep cell extracts, prepared in special ways to maintain the vitality of the live cells, instead of the whole live cells. Thus, adverse reactions are now rare, and many anti-aging centres in Europe and South America are drawing clients from all over the world for live cell therapy at their centres. Unfortunately, the stigma of whole-cell live cell therapy has remained and many countries still maintain the ban.
I have often stressed the importance of eating “live” raw foods for health and longevity. It is therefore not surprising that live cells are so effective in rejuvenating.
Apart from having most of the necessary cellular requirements, live cells also retain their life force, hence the revitalising effects. But the best way is to do the natural way – eat live foods and practise qigong!
The advent of stem cell therapy in reversing many incurable diseases bears testimony to the power of live cell therapy.
I predict that within 10 years, the main use of stem cells will be for rejuvenation therapy, just as 99% of Botox-use is now for cosmetic purposes rather than its original medical indications.
Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic medicine and has been teaching qi gong for more than 10 years. He is the former president of the Guolin Qi Gong Association, Malaysia. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles.
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