How long you live rests largely in your own hands. So does how well you live, how much vitality you have and how good you will look in twenty years' time. They are not, as most people still believe, accidents of fate. Instead they depend mostly on two things: first, your lifestyle; second, how much use you make of some of the recently discovered tools for protecting your body against degeneration.
Together these two form an integrated approach to ageless aging which has two branches.
The first branch I call natural law. It is based on what appear to be the biological laws of life. It centers around becoming aware of the quite specific needs of your mind-body-spirit for optimum health and vitality and then on supplying them. These include psychosocial, physical, nutritional, environmental and spiritual needs which, when fulfilled, keep you in a state of maximum wellness year after year. It forms the foundation of every major tradition of natural health and healing throughout history, from ancient Taoist medicine in China and the Ayurvedic tradition of India to nineteenth-century European nature-cure and the `holistic' approach to health that has become so popular recently. It largely determines how susceptible you are to `premature' aging - a widespread phenomenon which makes faces wrinkle and arteries harden and which can be halted by such things as correcting any subclinical nutritional deficiencies which you may have, by altering your diet and by changing your lifestyle.
The second branch of an integrated approach to ageless aging, which I call high-tech, depends on making intelligent and effective use of the tools for age-retardation which have recently come to light thanks to research done in scientific disciplines such as free radical biochemistry, submolecular biology, biophysics and electrobiology. This approach is entirely dependent on scientific discoveries which have taken place, mostly within the last fifty years. These discoveries include a growing understanding of the role that the immune system plays in the rate at which we age, a knowledge of how certain natural and artificial chemicals known as the antioxidants can be used to prevent age-related damage on a cellular level and to strengthen immune functions, and how specific nutrients such as the free amino acids can be used to alter the chemistry of the aging brain or firm sagging muscles, as well as an awareness of how specific pathways between mind and body enable your feelings, attitudes and expectations to play a major role in determining the rate at which you age.
Unlike natural-law anti-ageing, which can banish the `premature' factors in the aging process, the high-tech approach aims at longevity by attempting to extend `maximum' lifespan as well. In effect it is involved in exploring the processes of aging and degeneration in very specific terms - from the wrinkling of skin to the disruption of a cell's genetic material which is implicated both in aging and in the development of cancer. Even more important, science is discovering specific and effective remedies for counteracting these processes of aging and degeneration.
To get maximum benefits from what is currently known about age-retardation we need to fuse natural law and high tech into a single power for de-ageing. Used together they can not only have you looking good and feeling good twenty-five years hence, they can go a long way towards alleviating human suffering for they will also go a long way towards preventing the degenerative diseases of civilization.