The use of complementary medicine for healthy aging

Altern Ther Health Med. 1998 Jul;4(4):42-8.


By the year 2020, twenty percent of the US population will be aged 65 years or older. The greatest growth in numbers will be among those aged 85 years or older. If the healthcare demands of this group match those of their parents, it will place an extraordinary burden on funding for medical services. By promoting healthy aging, complementary medicine practitioners can improve the cost-effectiveness of healthcare delivery. A scientifically based complementary medicine program to promote healthy aging includes (1) diet and nutritional tailoring, (2) nutrient enhancement to meet specific individual needs, (3) exercise training, (4) stress management, (5) promotion of structural integrity, (6) environmental adjustment, (7) counseling on purposeful living, and (8) normalizing intercellular communication. The program described in this article incorporates these features and focuses on the following modifiable factors of unhealthy aging: altered mitochondrial function and oxidative stress, increased protein glycation, chronic inflammation, defects in methylation, reduced detoxification ability, and altered immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans