In Chinese medicine, we talk about aging as occurring in periods of 7 years for women and 8 years for men. The oldest extant Chinese medical text, the Huangdi Neijing in its first volume, the Suwen, discusses this normal progression through life. Here is a translation of this portion of the text by Henry C Lu, PhD:
As to a boy, his kidney energy becomes abundant, hair begins to grow longer, and his teeth begin to change, at the age of 8.
At the age of 16, a young man’s kidney energy becomes even more abundant. At this point in time, his sex energy begins to arrive, he is full of semen, which he can ejaculate. When a young man has sexual intercourse…at this stage of life, he can have children.
At the age of 24, young man’s kidney energy becomes equal to that of an average adult with strong tendons and bones; his last tooth begins to grow with all other teeth already completed.
At the age of 32, a man’s tendons, bones and muscles are already fully grown.
At the age of 40, a man’s kidney energy begins to weaken, his hair begins to to fall off, and his teeth begin to wither.
At the age of 48, a man experiences a weakening and exhaustion of his yang energy in the upper region, and his complexion begins to look withered, his hair begins to turn gray.
At the age of 56, a man’s liver energy begins to weaken, his tendons become inactive. At this point in time, a man’s sex energy begins to run out with scanty semen remaining in him, and his kidneys become weakened, which is why all parts of his body begin to grow old.
At the age of 64, a man’s hair and teeth are gone.
Some of it sounds rather bleak, so take it with a grain of salt. Life doesn’t end at 64, toothless and bald. It’s quite possibly, in fact, to live your life for many years beyond your sixties as a hale, hearty and sexually active man. But you need to make the choice to be an active participant in your own health to maintain your youthful vigor beyond those early years.
And so begins a series of posts about the natural course of a man’s aging, and what we can do to make sure men retain their health, vigor and vitality.
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