Healthy To A Hundred: Tsao-Lin Moy of Integrative Healing Arts On 5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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Doing something you love: It is very hard to get good at something if you don’t like it. Passion of doing something you love is what drives you to get better and better and that means more success and motivation. I love helping people and what I do and it’s a positive cycle.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tsao-Lin Moy, L.Ac., MSOM.

Tsao-Lin, is an Alternative and Chinese Medicine practitioner, and founder of Integrative Healing Arts in NYC. She is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, with over 20 years of experience. Her specialties include fertility, stress, anti-aging, anxiety, immunity, and sleep.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I grew up in NYC with both my parents being in the Western Medicine field. I was always surrounded by medicine. In high school I worked at my father’s medical practice after school and during the summer. I was also a volunteer at a hospital working in the operating room and recovery room. It was an amazing experience, but it didn’t make me want to be a medical doctor. Instead I went into the business world, and eventually worked at a job that required working weekends, in addition to traveling, and it was soul sucking. I had to do something that would give my life meaning, be inspiring and help people. My interest in health, wellness, anthropology, eastern philosophy, spirituality, and shamanism lead me to the ancient healing traditions of the East. Alternative and Chinese medicine was the path for me.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

This is a significant story where I got a big “Aha” moment that opened my eyes to how small habits can impact your health for better or worse. I was sitting in a lecture and the topic was spiritual possession. In Chinese medicine addiction is considered a type of possession. Most people think of addiction as someone strung out on drugs with track marks on their arms, but it is the relationship with a substance such as caffeine or a diet drink. For me it was soy chai latte from Starbucks. I would have one soy chai latte every day and it had to be from Starbucks. I would sip it throughout the day, adding hot water. I would plan my travel to pass by Starbucks, so I could get my fix. The sweetener in the soy was a sugary substance that was causing an imbalance in the gut and inflammation.

Once I realized that an imbalance of bacteria in the gut was “craving” the sugar and manipulating my behavior; I never drank a soy chai latte again (from Starbucks). The result was that inflammation and swelling in my body disappeared.

It can be one thing you do every day that may appear to be insignificant, but literally that “ONE” thing that can pivot your health.

This is a strategy that I share with my patients. It is easier to make small shifts and see what happens than to try to change everything at once.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are so many people that have helped me achieve success. I am particularly grateful to both my grandparents. My grandfather was an attorney and he used to bring me to appointments with his clients. He had compassion and empathy for his clients, helping them to navigate through difficult situations. I learned the importance of listening and cultivating trust with patients. My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet and work with my hands; that helped me to be masterful with acupuncture needles and to feel the different qualities of tissue when palpating meridians and muscles.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Curiosity: Practicing Chinese medicine is a lifetime of learning and experience. The study of Chinese medicine is so ancient and much of the translations barely scratch the surface of meaning, so I started to study some of the Chinese characters. Not just taking the face value but looking from a different perspective and being open to new ideas.

Drive: To gain the skills you need to place yourself in situations where you will gain experience and learn. This also means repeating trainings so that you get layers of information that may have been missed the first time. I did sports medicine acupuncture training and cadaver labs several times to improve my knowledge. During my graduate studies, I attended as many clinics as possible and interned with a practitioner that was over 1hour commute away. I wanted to learn more of a style of acupuncture and this practitioner was the only one that was taking interns.

Doing something you love: It is very hard to get good at something if you don’t like it. Passion of doing something you love is what drives you to get better and better and that means more success and motivation. I love helping people and what I do and it’s a positive cycle.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

There are 8 branches in Chinese medicine; Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Massage, Food medicine, Exercise, Mindfulness, Astrology and Feng Shui.

Yin and Yang balance is a universal law, it describes the cycle of life and the principle of dynamic balance in the practice of Chinese medicine.

Understanding how Yin and Yang work is to understand how to be in alignment with the energies of the universe that are within ourselves. My experience of living in the stressful environment of NYC gives me a unique perspective of how to help people find better and more natural ways to heal so they don’t have to undergo painful or invasive procedures to get well. They learn how to make informed decisions about their well-being, so they can be in charge of their health destiny.

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

What has been impactful to me is to witness aging parents and to hear stories from my patients as the battle their own parents’ health issues. If we look to the habits and health of our parents, we get a glimpse of modelled behaviors that lead to chronic illness. Behaviors considered honorable such as working long hours becomes a pattern of not allowing our body to rest or eat.

When we are young we take health for granted because we have it and something “clicks” when an aging parent prefers to take medications and refuses to change their diet or to exercise. What you realize is that the health mindset has been programmed early in life and if you want to have health and vitality it has to be a practice of making better choices every day.

Doing a daily breathwork practice, stretching and lymphatic reset, drinking water and tea and going back to ballroom dancing.

I used to do ballroom dancing almost every evening, it was a great social activity and exercise. Marriage, graduate school, parenting and starting an acupuncture practice made regular exercise a low priority. Ballroom dancing was another lifetime ago.

It was when I was clearing out my closet I found my ballgown that was never used. It was made for a competition. I decided to donate it and offered it to the dance studio where I used to dance. In exchange, they gave me tickets to their holiday dance party which I went to with my family. After a break from dancing of 25 years, my passion for dancing was rekindled, and started dancing again.

Returning to dancing improved many areas of my health and most markedly was losing 25lbs. What I learned was that finding an exercise that combines music and other people that share the same passion makes it easy to do and so much fun.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”? (Please share a story or an example for each)

Living a long and healthy life to a hundred is what the ancients spoke of in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine. (257 BC).

The dialogue between the famous Emperor, Huang Di and his physician is answering questions of why do people live shorter lives when once they lived to beyond 100 and did not age.

The subject is about not only a long life but health, wellness and longevity. This is about our health span.

Today we are able to slow the decay by extreme measures of intervention, but this is not the same as vibrant health and longevity.

The response of Huang Di’s physician is that they go against nature, which is the balance of Yin and Yang within yourself.

To live a long, happy and healthy life according to the Ancient masters, here are 5 tips:

  1. Positive Attitude/mindset:

What you think matters.

Happy people live longer. Studies show that happy people enjoy life and don’t allow themselves to get into negativity for long periods of time. This means that looking at the positive side of a situation helps you find solutions to problems. These are emotions that include optimism and courage to move forward looking at circumstances as temporary.

How to start your day in a positive way means setting your mindset the night before.

Before bedtime: think of 3 positive things that happened during the day, so you focus the good versus the negative. Prayers of gratitude for life itself. It can be small, like a great tasting coffee or catching the early train.

First thing in the morning: think of 3 things to be grateful for: the comfortable bed, the sun or the rain, the patterns on the ceiling, wiggling your toes. This helps to project positivity for the day.

2. Gratitude:

Scientifically proven to make you happier, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, feel good chemicals calming the mind and creating a sense of wellbeing and feel better from the inside. Notice the little things that you can be grateful for, the sun is shining or even the rain is falling and watering the plants. There is always goodness that we can recognize and be grateful for.

3. Sleep:

Sleep is often taken for granted, but it is an important activity. Just because you are not conscious doesn’t mean it can be skipped. This is about supporting Yin and Yang balance of the body (homeostasis). During sleep our body does a major overhaul of detoxifying, removing inflammation, regulating hormones and repairing tissue by producing growth hormone. Studies show that who people live longer, and healthy lives have more regular sleep patterns.

4. Eye shades or Heavy curtains or blinds on windows so that your brain can start to power down and produce melatonin. In a city the lights are on all the time, and flashing pulsing colors. Those pulsing lights can stimulate your optic nerve and interfere with sleep. Optic nerve dysfunction has been shown to be connected to obstructive sleep apnea.

Lower the lights in your living area to create a similar effect to the sun setting to help produce melatonin. Studies show that people that exposed themselves to room light before bedtime, suppressed the synthesis of melatonin. Melatonin is considered the hormone of darkness, the body’s circadian rhythm (body’s sleep and wake cycle) informs the release of melatonin to help with sleep, and your body makes it naturally.

Cooler temperature: Lowering the temperature in your bedroom helps you sleep. If you notice that at the end of the summer when the temperature drops our sleep seems to get deeper. As part of your circadian rhythm, the body temperature drops as we go to sleep, lowering the room temperature can facilitate this process. Studies show a relationship between interrupted body temperature regulation and insomnia.

Salt Bath: If you are having difficulty sleeping, a warm soak in the tub with Epsom salts and essential oils to relax the nervous system and “mental chatter” down so you can sleep more deeply. It is a way to help lower blood pressure and the salt water has a soothing effect like being in the womb.

5. Diet:

The US is the unhealthiest country in the world. This is due to high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. This reflects the obesity in the US that is hovering around 41%.

SAD is the (Standard American Diet) which is full of processed foods that are animal based, meats and dairy, carbohydrates, salt and fat (fried). as well as sugar and caffeine.

The challenge is to educate yourself about food and the source of food preparation.

Processed foods, even those that purport to be healthy, are far from their original form and lose their nutritional value. The attitude towards convenience and pre-made has caused us to be less conscious of what we are eating and connecting it to our health.

Preparing your own food means you are being conscious and know about its origins. Eating whole foods in season is working with the natural cycle of life. Embracing a plant-based diet and choosing superfoods to aid in repair and rejuvenation. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation and toxic to the body. — clears inflammation and gives your body the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Choosing foods that promote repair and antiaging; grape seed extract, Chinese Celery.

6. Exercise and movement:

Movement helps with blood circulation, lymph flow and brain plasticity . Our brain and body are one and when we consciously move and do a form of exercise we are also activating the nervous system.

Movement and exercise also cause an increase in breathing that helps with oxygen saturation that is important for brain function and better sleep. Movement massages the internal organs, circulating fresh oxygenated blood through and supports detoxification and maintaining a healthy weight.

Exercise has also shown to promote longevity by reducing risk of diseases, improving balance, muscle tone, bone density and immune support especially when combined with a healthful diet.

Exercise also helps with mood relieving stress and anxiety helping to keep a positive outlook which is important for longevity.

The key to exercise is movement and it doesn’t have to be at a gym. Walking 3,000–8,000 steps a day, this is at least 20–50 minutes of walking.

Dancing also counts as exercise and it is also a social activity that involves coordination and music. It has also shown in a Harvard study to improve brain health.

7. Curiosity and novelty:

Learning a new skill or experiencing something new such as travel keeps our nervous system alive.

If we don’t give our brain healthy mental chewing gum it will atrophy. When we learn something new our brain gets a shot of dopamine. These are “feel good” chemicals, that help us to cope and adapt to circumstances.

Immersing ourselves into new spaces and meeting new people, exchanging ideas, this extends our access and connection to others.

Learning a new language has shown to improve cognitive function and adaptability. Expanding our language skills also helps with better communication, being understood and community.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

I think it is important to recognize that we have a choice of how we want to experience life. Waking up each day is a blessing and giving thanks life is simple. Cultivating health and wellness is an exercise in consciousness making and meaning, this is the foundation for happiness. We need to do less.

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

According to ancient wisdom, both nature and lifestyle are important for health, wellness and longevity. You are born with your “Jing” essence from your parents and ancestors. This can translate as genetics or genetic predisposition. Modern science has shown through epigenetics that you can influence your gene expression by environmental factors and food. This is why cultivating health, wellness and longevity is a daily practice.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

2020 was challenging without a doubt. I had to decide for myself what was relevant information and not get pulled into catastrophic thinking or hoarding toilet paper.

This meant curating what news and social media I allowed into my life as well as conversations with people including family that would turn into doom and gloom.

I found it helpful to be okay with “loss”, meaning not getting attached to “how” something is supposed to be, but look at what is.

Being in the present to what you are doing instead of trying to escape how you are feeling.

When I experience pain or discomfort, I have to stop myself from jumping to the worst possible conclusions.

I strained my back shortly after my daughter was born and it took months before it felt stable. I had to pay attention when I lifted something heavy or ran for a train.

Slowing down and doing a body scan and connecting with the inner healer for guidance instead of speeding up.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

Making small changes that have great impact. I started doing a breathwork, stretching and lymphatic reset practice every morning. It takes about 15–20 minutes. The result is that I feel happier and healthier.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could start a movement it would be for people to learn how to grow some of their own foods and eat them. We are so disconnected from our food sources. Connecting with the seasons and with nature. There is way too much processed and convenient food that has caused people to just “trust” what is printed on the packaging.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

https: www.instagram
https://www.facebook.com/IntegrativeHealingArtsNY/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tsao-moy-26b3931/
https://www.integrativehealingarts.com/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor