By East Phillips, DAOM, LAc
This article was originally published in the Fall 2022 edition of the AIM Newspaper. Read the full paper or subscribe to the print edition for free.
There are countless anti-aging tools, supplements, modalities, and biohacks out there today, many of which are super expensive.
However, over the past fifteen years of teaching, lecturing, and practicing within the realms of anti-aging, longevity medicine, peak performance, cosmetic acupuncture/rejuvenation, and what I now refer to as “Radiant Aging”, I have uncovered five things you can do to reverse aging that won’t cost you a penny, and which you can recommend to patients and do yourself to slow the passage of time.
What is Radiant Aging?
Simply said, it’s accepting the fact that we are all going to age and therefore, instead of fighting it like we fight so many things in society, lean into the aging process with grace and wisdom, and see it for what it is: the opportunity to give more.
As we age, we live out our “Hero’s Journey”. We essentially go through life experiencing ups and downs, and it’s in the challenging moments when we are tested that we grow and come through the other side with experience and wisdom. The wisdom from that experience is the gift we share with others. The more we go through challenges and hard times, the more gifts we then have to give to others.
Think about it. Many of us came to Chinese medicine because of a challenge in life which was solved with this incredibly powerful medicine, so we then dedicated our careers to offering it to others. That is the first part of Radiant Aging: adopting a different perspective on it or “flipping your flaws”, as my dear friend Renee Airya Chan says.
There are some amazing discussions from Ram Dass on the topic of aging. He reminds us that we are all going to age, so why not do it gracefully and with a happy heart, rather than fighting it? Do the leaves on the oak trees fight the autumn season? No, they become beautifully radiant as they turn from green to wonderful hues of orange, yellow, and gold—and the longer the leaves stay on the tree, the more gorgeous they become. In the fall, as the leaves age, they become so beautiful that many of us take long drives in the countryside just so we can see the turning of the leaves. Be like the leaves: age radiantly and perhaps people will take long drives to see you!
Okay, So How Can I Age Radiantly?
While I’ve found countless biohacking methods and tools for slowing down and reversing the aging process in the body, here are five of them that do not cost any money.
I put this first because I honestly believe this is the most powerful of the five and has the most impact on every aspect of your life. It may even be the most difficult. However, I can say from over 25 years of clinical observation and a lifetime of personal experience, that forgiveness—letting go of resentment, anger and negative emotions—is the key to not only the fountain of youth but to healing and optimal health.
Lester Levenson was given a few months to live. He went back to his New York apartment and decided he wasn’t going to accept this fate. He sat in that apartment all weekend and examined his life. It was full of anger, resentment, fear, attachment, victimhood, and a plethora of negative energies. Slowly he began to let things go.
Lester lived another three decades and went on to share the gifts of his Hero’s Journey through what is called the Sedona Method. If Lester Levenson can use forgiveness to reverse a fatal prognosis and failing physical body, imagine what it can do for the aging biology of your body.
A Course in Miracles is a text and workbook that can help with forgiveness. The Bible and many other spiritual texts point to forgiveness as the key to a fruitful, well-lived life. Like many of you, I have experienced some extremely painful periods in my life, many of which were in my childhood and came from abusive relationships that left me feeling unworthy of love, unwanted and insignificant. Three of the things that have helped me let go and genuinely forgive have been A Course in Miracles, the Bible, and the work of John W. James, who founded the Grief Recovery Method.
I attended the Grief Recovery Method program when my mother died unexpectedly from a heart attack. It was one of the only things that helped. Years later, I went on to complete the training to become a certified Grief Recovery Method facilitator. The entire process of the Grief Recovery Method guides you to forgiveness, even if it’s an inch in the direction of forgiving someone or something for not being better, more, or how you had hoped it or them to be. If you are still struggling with letting go of some aspect of your life, the Grief Recovery Method may be a resource for you.
I’ve offered a few tools to help with landing you in a state of forgiveness, but there are countless others. The urging here is for you to find a technique or method that works for you; that will help you to release the toxic feelings, emotions, and thought that are undoubtedly showing up as lines on your face and dis-ease in your body, mind, or spirit.
I promise you that when you move more into the space of total forgiveness, you look and feel lighter and people will often say to you, “hey, what have you been doing? You look 10 years younger!”
Eat Less Often
Dr. David Sinclair is currently one of the leading thought leaders in aging. He has developed several protocols involving supplements and calorie-restricted eating routines that have been clinically proven to not only slow the aging process but to reverse it. He and his team of scientists have been able to show that his techniques and recommendations lead to lengthening of telomeres and lowering the biological age of study participants. His work is helping millions live longer lives with optimal health and vitality.
While many of his suggestions are costly (supplements and technological approaches) there is one that doesn’t cost a thing and doesn’t require you to engage in intermittent fasting: eating less often. So, for the second thing you can do, that won’t cost you anything (in fact it will save you money) simply: EAT. LESS. OFTEN.
Detoxify your body and environment
In the act of forgiveness, we are detoxifying our mind of thoughts and emotions that don’t serve us or make us thrive. There are toxins in our bodies that often accelerate aging unnecessarily.
Ridding our bodies and environments of toxins is equally as important. We can detoxify our body by simply incorporating more fresh dark leafy greens into our diets. Spinach, kale, cilantro and the like bind to toxins and heavy metals in our body and remove them from the body through defecation.
Sweat is another mechanism the body uses to eliminate toxins. Exercising is the next free thing you can do for age reversal, but you can also get the body to sweat through saunas, working in your garden outside, walking to work rather than driving or riding a bike to town.
As for your environment, you may be really surprised to find that it is rather toxic. There is a handy online Toxic Load Survey that I’ve used with patients for years to determine their environmental toxic load, and you can use it too. The idea here is to remove all toxins from what is around, and put into, your body.
It doesn’t have to cost money to exercise: walking or riding a bike to places rather than driving, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, working in a garden or being out in nature while moving your body at the same time. Some of my favorite forms of free exercise include running, walking on the beach, swimming, yoga, taiji, qigong, stretching, and playing with my children.
Incorporating exercise into your life is completely within your control. Don’t wait until you feel like exercising; exercise and move your body every day even if you don’t feel like it. If you want to see an inspiring story of this concept watch the powerful video created by Diamond Dallas called “Never, Ever Give Up: Arthur’s Inspirational Transformation”.
Five Tibetan Rites
The Five Tibetan Rites, easy to perform exercises that somewhat resemble yoga postures, are thought to have been created more than 2500 years ago by Tibetan monks. Considered by many to be an “Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth”, these exercises claim to keep one’s mind, body, and soul youthful, flexible, and energetic indefinitely while promoting vitality and longevity.
From a 5 Element perspective, each of the five rites correlate to an element: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. By performing these rites regularly, one also balances the various elements within the body. The practice of these exercises is beneficial and balancing to the body’s energy centers, also known as chakras. It is believed that these energy fields control parts of the endocrine system, which has a powerful regulatory effect on the aging process.
Start by doing three sets of each of the five exercises and work up to a maximum of 21 repetitions. It is important that you follow the sequence and that you start off slowly with a lower number of repetitions. This will allow your subtle and physical energy bodies the time they need to adapt to the changes. In addition, it is important that you do them consecutively and every day.
Perform the Five Tibetan Rites for 40 days. If you skip a day, start over again until you complete 40 days straight and check in with yourself to observe the changes.
But Wait. There’s More.
Meditation has been proven to grow back gray matter in the brain. Breathwork has been proven to slow aging and optimize health; there’s also the Wim Hof breathing and cold plunge. All three of these approaches to optimal health subsequently slow down the aging process and are completely free. YouTube is full of free videos instructing you on, or even guiding you through, these powerful and natural techniques aimed at optimizing mental, emotional and physical health. It’s now up to you to make self-care, self-development, and your health a priority.
Yesterday I woke up and didn’t feel like going for a run or meditating. So… I went for a run and meditated. Control your mind rather than letting it control you. It all comes down to choices.
Sending you much love through this article and wishing for you a life full of all that is abundant: health, wealth, joy, and love.
Dr. East Phillips is committed to helping others actualize their greatest potential and well-being. She has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999 and a professor of Chinese medicine at the Pacific College of Health Sciences since 2004. Specializing in MIE (motivation, inspiration, and encouragement), Phillips helps practitioners of alternative medicine align with their three P’s: purpose, passion, and prosperity. In 2019, she published More Than a Treatment which held the Amazon bestseller’s list in practice management for several weeks. She currently resides in Del Mar, CA with her husband and two kids and continues to help patients, students, other practitioners and the public with her lectures, workshops, books, events, coaching programs, and wellness related products.
 Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell
 Renee Airya Public Figure, Speaker and author of the book Flip Your Flaws
 Found in the book: Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying by Ram Dass