Dr. Maoshing Ni (or Dr. Mao), Chinese doctor and specialist in anti-aging medicine, was inspired to write Second Spring after seeing his own mother’s remarkable transformation in the second half of her life. While his book includes hundreds of natural secrets for women to revitalize and regenerate at any age, Dr. Mao says many of the tips apply to men’s health as well.
Combining 2,000 years of secrets he learned from a long line of Chinese doctors combined with western medicine’s modern research, Dr. Mao offers his advice on simple things we can do right now to start leading a healthier life as we approach (or navigate through) our own Second Spring.
Q: How does Eastern medicine see the second half of a woman’s life differently from Western medicine?
A: We look at the second half of a woman’s life as kind of a rebirth. That’s why we call it Second Spring. I didn’t invent this terminology.
In the East, our culture is about celebrating wisdom and you don’t get wisdom until you get older. If you look at a woman’s life cycle, the first half of her life, she may be having children and then raising a family.
In mid-life, a woman now comes to a time where she’s more free to actualize herself and pursue her dreams.
Second Spring is all about rejuvenating yourself at mid-life or any age really and then being empowered by the information to take charge of your health and life.
This is a very magical time for reinvention and rejuvenation.
Q: You talk in your book about holding on to emotions and the effect it can have on your physical health. How does this happen?
A: When you don’t express yourself when you are angry or upset, and you just hold it in, a couple of things happen.
You put yourself into a survival mode. You start to stimulate your adrenal gland and produce cortisol, which is a stress hormone that starts to rise and when the cortisol rises in your body it puts you into a fight or flight state.
Of course blood pressure will rise and then pressure is exerted on your heart and then pretty soon other complications may occur.
Those are the most common physiological things than can happen. That’s why when people don’t express themselves and hold their feelings in, they can literally break their heart. They can have a heart attack.
Q: You warn against drinking alcohol before bed for people who have sleep issues. Why is this?
A: When we are talking about sleep, North America is a nation of underslept people.
If you don’t get good quality sleep, studies show that it can vastly affect your immune system, increase your risk for heart disease and stroke and in some cases because of your lower immune system response, it can also increase your chance of cancers.
Sleep issues are paramount to overcome. I’ve got some favorite tips that include things like soaking your feet in hot water before bed time. Putting some Epsom salts in and massaging your feet can really increase the quality of your sleep and the quantity.
Meditation is also something that I suggest. A very simple 15-minute guided meditation and visualization with breathing really helps to put the mind and body at ease and ensure a better sleep.
I also ask people to write a journal at night and get all of those extraneous thoughts out of your mind onto the paper, or even do a mental dump and get rid of all the negative thoughts and feelings.
The problem with alcohol is that initially it’s a sedative but then once it wears off it comes somewhat of a stimulant because the withdrawal creates somewhat of an adrenaline rush.
I suggest that people either cut the alcohol out if they have trouble sleeping throughout the night, or drink earlier.
You give yourself a good five hours and then you drink a lot of water to detoxify your body. Then it doesn’t seem to affect your sleep.
Q: I always have a glass of water with my meal, although I read in your book that I shouldn’t be doing this. What is the general rule about drinking while eating?
A: Your body produces gastric juice which is made from hydrochloric acid in the stomach and enzymes are produced by your pancreas and this is meant to help you break down and digest your food.
When you drink a glass of water during meals you’re actually diluting the gastric juice and therefore its effectiveness to break down the nutrients as efficiently. I always suggest that if you are going to drink fluids then drink soup which has food in it is so it’s more or less a wet food.
If you’re going to drink water or other beverages, wait until about 15 minutes after you eat and drink them slowly.
Q: You also mention in your book that we should avoid Q-Tips. Why is that and what do you suggest instead?
A: It’s never a good idea to stick anything into your ear because you risk perforating the ear drum. It’s very hard to judge the distance and you may have an itch that’s just a little bit deeper than you realize. It’s also a good way to introduce bacteria into your ears.
Your ears do not drain very well so when bacteria goes in, it has a very hard time going back out. You can give yourself an infection. I suggest definitely staying away from Q-tips. Your body is self-cleaning. You don’t need to do anything for the ears.
If you have a lot of wax, that’s a separate thing and you can either get a wax kit from the drug store or simply take garlic and mullein oil; they sell these drops in the store now and you take a couple of drops in each ear and keep it in the position for about five minutes. The oil will soften up the wax and it will actually drain out.
Q: You played Dr. Wow on Sex and the City because you helped Charlotte get pregnant. What natural fertility treatments did you use?
A: She had acupuncture treatments for infertility. We have treated over 25,000 women and helped fulfill their dream of becoming pregnant.
The acupuncture does a number of things. It can help regulate and normalize menstrual cycles and then the ovulation process. It can also enhance egg quality and increase blood flow and nutrient delivery into the uterine lining. The studies have been quite favorable and they show that when you add acupuncture to an IVF procedure, you can increase success rates of pregnancy by 40-60 percent.
Q: What can women do naturally to remove wrinkles if they don’t want Botox treatments?
A: There are many different ways, one of which is facial gymnastics.
Raise your eyebrows as high as you can. Strain them and then relax them. The second exercise is trying to move your nose from side to side and that will help strengthen the muscles next to your cheeks. Thirdly, inflate your cheeks as though you are blowing up a balloon and then relax.
These things are designed to really exercise the facial muscles. Most people make all sorts of facial expressions and frowns negatively affecting the muscles in their face but so little attention is paid to actually working out your face. These muscles do need to get worked out!
Q: You recommend using yogurt to wash our face. Does it really work?
A: This is under the chapter Ageless Beauty. Most of the tips in this chapter are actually tips that I actually follow myself. I do appear to be much more youthful than my actual age! The yogurt mask is one of the things that I suggest.
Take organic, plain yogurt and use it on your face for 10-15 minutes. This has a weak lactic acid that acts like a gentle peel. If you use this once a day for a week you’re going to notice a major difference in how soft and baby-like your skin becomes.
Q: Can you reveal the secrets for a natural breast lift?
A: There are exercises you can do to really help. I suggest you strengthen your chest muscles by holding a two pound weight in each hand and then extending your arms sideways and moving them in small circles, rotating them towards the back.
Gradually widen these circles and make them bigger and bigger. I suggest you do three sets of 10 repetitions with a little break in between twice a day.
Gradually over time, you can work your way up to a five pound weight. You can also do push-ups. The secret is the farther away your arms, the better the effect.
Q: What is the easiest thing that women can start doing today that will have a direct impact on their outer beauty?
A: The first is to start with inner beauty. All of the external accoutrements are very helpful but I think attitude and mindset is most important. I suggest women really examine within and find love for themselves. Self-love is often lacking. You must love yourself and by loving yourself it means that you nurture and take care of your needs; you don’t defer your needs.
You’ve got to ask to be fulfilled and if your partner doesn’t fulfill you, then you go out and fulfill yourself. When you do that, and you’re happy, and you have self-love, that is the first step in manifesting outer beauty. When you do this, you’ll notice that your face glows and you have overall a much more positive and beautiful disposition.