According to Euromonitor International, in 2015, 606 million people were 65 or older. This number is projected to reach 1 billion by 2030. This group is culturally heterogenous, and geographically and economically diverse.
This is indeed a huge market. The health care industry is targeting this segment quite aggressively, spending substantial dollars on research and new products. A range of products and services aimed at improving one or more aspects of quality of life for the aged are now available in the market.
Comprehensive, holistic, life management solutions are probably best described in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). These include a full range of products and services from nutraceuticals, medicine, meditation, exercise and diet.
In Ayurveda, the body and disease are products of food and lifestyle. An individual’s lifestyle, personality, physiology and psychology are viewed in its totality while prescribing a health management solution to an individual. The brain, nervous system and hormonal secretions, according to Ayurveda, influence an individual’s personality. They go on to describe three types of personalities, each of which are further subdivided into various subtypes.
The holistic offerings from Ayurveda can be relevant to healthy aging. Diet and lifestyle management, which includes exercise, are personalized, unlike in Western medicine. The body is said to possess self-healing capacity. When afflicted with an ailment, the body’s self-healing processes kicks in. Ayurveda prohibits a physician from prescribing a diet, food, medicine or yogic practice that will cause any disruption of the body’s auto-healing process.
TCM healing principles have similarities to Ayurveda. The focus is on holistic healing. TCM believes the world, including human beings, are all interconnected and interdependent. When they are in harmony, things work. A ripple in one part disturbs the whole system.
A healthy body is a result of maintaining a balance between the body and mind. The focus in TCM is also on thoughts, emotions and the psychological state of the individual.
TCM seeks to correct imbalances between organs and inner human energy. Treatment involves use of herbal remedies, acupuncture or acupressure, moxibustion (burning dried herbs), massage, Feng shui, breathing and movement exercise called qi gong, tai chi (another form of exercise) and diet.
For healthy aging, more options are available now than any time before. As understanding and scientific support to holistic and personalized care increases, product and solution manufacturers will seek to leverage the holistic lifestyle features in Ayurveda and TCM, and invent comprehensive offerings for the aging population.
For more information on ingredients used in healthy aging products, download INSIDER’s Healthy Aging Digital Magazine.
This is a summary of the article "Traditional Medicinal Systems' Roles in Healthy Aging."
Sudhir Ahluwalia [sudhirahluwalia.com] is a business consultant. He is management consulting head of Tata Consultancy Services, an IT outsourcing company in Asia, serves as a business advisor to multiple companies, is a columnist and authored the book “Holy Herbs.” Ahluwalia was also a member of the Indian Forest Service.