An extremely popular trend in alternative medicine is the “anti-aging” movement. Worldwide spending is close to $300 billion annually in an attempt to ward off or at least slow down the inevitable physical decline of old age. Having previously been involved with a clinic focused on weight loss and hormone replacement, I attended several conferences in which both the positive side of integrative medicine was on display and the dark side of “look young at all cost” was also prominent. For example, hormone replacement in both men and women has it’s place, but due to reactionary attitudes among many physicians, it tends to get relegated to roadside clinics which overcharge, overdose and in the end cause harm. Even worse is the inappropriate and illegal use of human growth hormone or therapies like chelation which have only rare appropriate uses. A patient of mine with incurable cancer recently spent a large sum on worthless and possibly harmful chelation therapy. Also, expensive supplements are sold at a tremendous profit promising benefits which only lifestyle change can provide. Finally and perhaps most troubling is the overwhelming focus on externals. The quest to keep our aging bodies beautiful has generated an endless variety of injectables, skin products and supplements as well as minor surgical techniques for resurfacing the skin. It’s hard to argue that all of this is wrong in every case. I would instead make the case that it’s an incredibly expensive misplacement of priorities.
What is “aging well”?
Proverbs 20:29 says,“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”
Gray hair as a sign of wisdom or life experience is beautiful! So, for the next few weeks, I’ll consider this topic and perhaps redirect our hearts and minds to what really matters.