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By Mark Ma, M.Sc., R.TCMP, R.Ac.

A common health issue that seniors face is deterioration of their muscle strength. Because of that they find it increasingly difficult to perform simple daily tasks, such as walking, and as a result most end up having to use a walker sooner or later, or even a wheelchair when it becomes worse.

However, this is not the only solution to the problem. Rather than providing external support, their physical strength can be improved. In the view of traditional Chinese medicine, people lose their muscular strength due to deteriorating spleen function. If you can improve the function of the spleen, a direct result is that the person’s muscle becomes stronger. In other words, it is possible to rejuvenate their life and health, so that seniors can enjoy a younger life style, one that is not dependent on external equipment in their daily life.

The above rejuvenation can be achieved with either taking herbal medicine, or using acupuncture. For herbal medicine, the idea is to strength the spleen with ingredients such as licorice, but not to the point of weakening the function of the kidney system, otherwise there can be less bladder control. Relating to diet, one should avoid chicken, plums or anything that tastes sour, because these items strengthen the liver and as a result weaken the spleen. This method of treatment requires fine balancing of ingredients used in the recipe, and thus has to be personalized to the individual. As a result it requires much personal attention.

On the other hand, with a well-designed system of acupuncture, the objective of strengthening the spleen can be easily achieved. This is because of the ease associated with manipulating the points and needles when providing treatment to a patient. Although it also requires personal attention, it can be implemented very easily. In my experience, most people show visible improvement in strength after just a few sessions of treatment. In fact, it is not surprising to see improvement after the first session.  

Note that the definition of organ systems in traditional Chinese medicine differs from Western medicine, which could lead to some confusion. In addition, the principles involved regarding interactions between different organs is from the Five Element theory unique to the practice of Chinese medicine, and it may be difficult for people to understand without some background in the area. For more information, feel free to contact Mark Ma at 647-874-6900, or visit his website at http://www.acupunctureone.ca/. His clinic is located at 103-1720 Lawrence Ave. E., in Scarborough.

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