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Words of Wisdom From a 97-Year-Old Physician

April 23, 2009 | 88,720 views

hinohara,wisdom, ageing, longevityAt the age of 97 years and 4 months, Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators. He has been healing patients at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo and teaching at St. Luke's College of Nursing since 1941.

He has published around 150 books since his 75th birthday, including one Living Long, Living Good that has sold more than 1.2 million copies. As the founder of the New Elderly Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, a quest in which no role model is better than the doctor himself:

Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot. Hinohara says we all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. He believes that we can keep that attitude as adults, too, and that it's best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.

All people who live long -- regardless of nationality, race or gender -- share one thing in common: None are overweight. For breakfast Hinohara drinks coffee, a glass of milk and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. His lunch is milk and a few cookies. His dinner is veggies, a bit of fish and rice, and, twice a week, 100 grams of lean meat.

Always plan ahead. His schedule book is already full until 2014. In 2016 he plans to attend the Tokyo Olympics!

There is no need to ever retire, but if one must, it should be a lot later than 65. The current retirement age was set at 65 half a century ago, when the average life-expectancy in Japan was much lower.

Share what you know. Hinohara gives 150 lectures a year, some for 100 elementary-school children, others for 4,500 business people.

When a doctor recommends you take a test or have some surgery, ask whether the doctor would suggest that his or her spouse or children go through such a procedure. Contrary to popular belief, doctors can't cure everyone -- so why cause unnecessary pain with surgery? Hinohara thinks that music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine.

To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff. He take two stairs at a time, to get his muscles moving.

Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients, and we all want to have fun.

Don't be crazy about amassing material things. Remember: You don't know when your number is up, and you can't take it with you to the next place.

Hospitals must be designed and prepared for major disasters, and they must accept every patient who appears at their doors. Hinohara helped design St. Luke's so that it was possible to operate anywhere: in the basement, in the corridors, in the chapel. Most people thought he was crazy, but on March 20, 1995, he was unfortunately proven right when members of the Aum Shinrikyu religious cult launched a terrorist attack in the Tokyo subway. St. Luke’s accepted 740 victims and in two hours figured out that it was sarin gas that had hit them. Sadly they lost one person, but they saved 739 lives.

Science alone can't cure or help people. Illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, there is a need for liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.

Life is filled with incidents. On March 31, 1970, when Hinohara was 59 years old, he boarded the Yodogo, a flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka. The plane was hijacked by the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction. He spent the next four days handcuffed to his seat. As a doctor, he looked at it all as an experiment and was amazed at how his body slowed down in a crisis.

Find a role model and aim to achieve even more than they could ever do. Hinohara’s role model was his father, who went to the United States in 1900 to study at Duke University, in North Carolina.

It's wonderful to live long. Since the age of 65, Hinohara has worked as a volunteer. He still puts in 18 hours, seven days a week, and loves every minute of it.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

These are inspiring words from an inspiring man. I aim to be as healthy and productive as he is when I close in on the age of 100. Granted, I can’t agree on all points – milk and cookies for lunch is not something I can endorse – but overall, having a healthy attitude and an active lifestyle is sure to add both joy and years to your life span.

Conventional  Health Care – Friend or Foe?

Many of the tips he mentions are approaches that are easily overlooked, especially here in the West, where health is still fairly entrenched with the conventional, strategy of surgery and drugs

It’s typically prudent to remain skeptical in the early stages of medical discovery, as frequently the initial health findingsare likely to be incorrect. Unfortunately, it’s usually the initial report that gets the most media coverage. So unless you keep up with the advances and new discoveries by subscribing to independent health sources such as this newsletter, you may be following outdated, and potentially dangerous, advice.

My previous articles, How Drug Companies Deceive You and How the Food Industry is Deceiving You are just a couple of examples of how you are misled about common sense health issues.

When evaluating health research findings, one point to keep firmly in mind is that typically, the institution funding the study has a vested interest in the outcome. And oftentimes researchers are so firmly entrenched in the established paradigm that they discount and excuse away anything that conflicts with their belief system.

Of course, conventional medicine has its place. If you’re seriously injured in an accident, your nearest trauma center is a blessing that can save your life. However, to believe that you can create good health by taking drugs to solve your health care challenges is  typically something that is not rooted in reality.

How to Create and Maintain Optimal Health, for Life

It’s important to realize that there are certain basic tenets of optimal health (and healthy weight) that have remained consistent truths, regardless of what marvels modern science cooks up next.

These are my 10 Steps to Optimal Health that will never go out of style:

    1. Address your emotional traumas and manage your stress 
    2. Get optimal exposure to sunlight
    3. Drink plenty of clean water 
    4. Limit your exposure to toxins
    5. Consume healthy fat
    6. Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)
    7. Eat plenty of raw food
    8. Optimize your insulin and leptin levels
    9. Exercise
    10. Get plenty of good sleep

Remember, leading a common sense, healthy lifestyle is your best bet to produce a healthy body and mind, and increase your longevity.

Educate Yourself on Common Health Myths Too

The drug industry spends about $15 billion a year manipulating and distorting your perceptions about the proper solutions for your health challenges. They actually want you to believe that drugs can offer you optimal health and extend your life when the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth!

Making matters even more difficult, the food industry spends TWICE that amount to brainwash you and your children to choose highly processed convenience foods that will accelerate your path toward disease and death.

It’s a vicious cycle of deceit and misinformation.

There are several health myths out there that you need to be aware of. They are simply incorrect, yet conventional health care practitioners and media keep advocating them. These include:

  • Sun exposure causes skin cancer
  • Milk does your body good
  • Whole grains are good for you
  • Fish is good for you
  • Saturated fat causes heart disease

Fortunately, you can still take self-responsibility, educate yourself, and make better, healthier choices so that you too can live to the ripe old age of 97 like Dr. Hinohara, or older.  

By adhering to the basic tenets of optimal health I outlined above, you are building a healthy mind and body, and thereby safeguarding yourself against a multitude of health problems and serious diseases that could knock years off your life span.

[+] Sources and References

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