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Health Buzz: What is “Anti-Aging” and how to use it to advance your health

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A happy couple staying active in the woods. COURTESY OF ADOBE STOCK

By Dr. Kaley Burns EBS COLUMNIST

The older we get, the more we seek out therapies and products to slow the aging process.

The goal is to live a healthy life for as long as possible. Anti-aging treatments might be best termed “pro-vitality,” since they are actually focused on increasing the span of a person’s life during which they feel healthy and optimal.

Why is holistic medicine a great alternative to fight anti-aging?

You can’t completely separate the health of your mind and your body, instead, it’s best to be treated as a whole. Holistic medicine takes a broader approach to longevity, focusing on the whole person with a preventative accent. It uses a range of natural therapies including acupuncture, massage therapy, herbal medicine, and other healing techniques.

Holistic, anti-aging approaches to health are becoming increasingly popular. These approaches focus on optimizing the body’s natural healing processes and preventing age-related decline, rather than just treating symptoms.

Cold shower

Why I end my shower with cold water: When most people hear the words “cold water,” the last thing they want to do is to immerse their body in it. Although a cold-water rinse will wake you up, a shot of cold water actually has a number of health benefits. Alternating between hot and cold water in the shower or tub can strengthen your vasculature (veins and arteries) and therefore improve the integrity of your circulatory system. This can help to optimize blood flow to the tissues, which may even help to regulate blood pressure. Healthy blood circulation also improves recovery time from strenuous exercises. Cold showers can also help the body to adapt to stress.

Begin by gradually decreasing the temperature of the water so your body can adjust. Start with hot water or your normal shower temperature. When you’re ready to rinse, just turn the tap to cold. Aim to spend about 10 seconds at first and work up to 30-60 seconds before stepping out of the shower.

Sleep for vitality

Why this should be our priority: The brain is the main control center of the body, which makes optimal mental health vital for all the other processes within the body. One of the primary functions needed for mental health and cognitive processing is good sleep.

Many restorative processes occur during sleep, such as increased production of growth hormone, which is thought to help with muscle growth and rebuilding of cells, synthesis of hormones that prevent sickness and fight infection and formation and maintenance of pathways in the brain related to learning and memory.

Counting sheep has moved on, enter light! Morning sunlight helps improve the quality and duration of sleep that comes later on, as it boosts serotonin production. It is also important to optimize vitamin D levels for sound sleep and melatonin balance in the darker hours of the night.

Platelets for a pick-me-up

Using your own cells: Regenerative therapies involve using the body’s own natural healing processes to repair or replace damaged tissues and organs. This can include stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, and other cutting-edge treatments that stimulate the body’s own regenerative abilities. Regenerative medicine can be particularly effective for treating chronic conditions such as arthritis and sports injuries.

While these treatments originated in orthopedic medicine and reconstructive surgery to improve recovery naturally, the cosmetic use of PRP helps damaged, aging skin to produce new collagen and elastin for a glowing, rejuvenated, and more youthful-looking complexion.

Hyperbaric Hype

Oxygen is key to vitality: While many anti-aging treatments address specific conditions or ailments, there are some therapies that can greatly benefit primarily healthy individuals, too. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is one such treatment that has risen to popularity among business professionals, athletes, and everyday people looking to boost their cognitive and physical capabilities. HBOT can be used to speed up tissue recovery after exercising or trauma (surgery or concussion), boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a powerful tool because it increases blood flow and helps transport oxygen deeper into damaged tissues. HBOT supplies the body with the essential nutrient, oxygen, in order to drive energy production in the cell, boost stem cell activity, repair tissue damage, and essentially allow the body to feed and heal itself. This is a perfect example of a pro-health therapy.

Infusing Wellness

Using intravenous therapy for vim and vigor: Another anti-aging therapy that can be used both to address ailments as well as provide benefits to primarily healthy patients is IV infusion therapy. The term “IV therapy” simply refers to the administration of supplements, nutrients, or medications intravenously, so this therapy spans a wide range of specific treatments.

The precise infusion can be tailored to the needs of each individual patient. One infusion showing particular promise is NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). This agent plays an important role in the sirtuin pathway, an anti-aging pathway. NAD is also important for energy production in the cells. Cell health decline is considered one of the major components of the aging conundrum.

NAD+ IV therapy is used to improve many medical conditions such as depression, substance abuse, aging, cardiovascular disease, dementia, neuropathies, and neurodegenerative disease. In general, IV nutrient therapy is used to boost the immune system, facilitate muscle recovery after workouts, reduce the symptoms of jet lag, strengthen tissues, and promote immune health.

Advance your health

There are now more therapies, medicines, and treatments available than ever before with the power to repair the damage caused by aging. All anti-aging treatments will be more effective when used in conjunction with healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Overall, holistic anti-aging therapies offer a natural and effective way to support health and vitality. By focusing on optimizing the body’s own natural healing processes, these approaches can help to prevent disease, slow the effects of aging, and support overall wellness.

Dr. Kaley Burns is the founder, owner and naturopathic doctor at Big Sky Natural Health. She embraces a natural approach to health and aims to similarly inspire and guide others on their health journey. Dr. Burns has advanced training application of regenerative and intravenous injection therapy. She also serves as the vice president and CE liaison of the Montana Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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