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Taipei City Hospital

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88-Year-Old Man Walks with Flying Feet under Chinese Medicine Support

       Taipei City Hospital, Zhongxing Branch Department of Chinese medicine Attending Physician Dr. Lin Tsai-yu has pointed out that symptoms of bilateral limb weakness in the elderly are known in Chinese medicine as “flaccidity syndrome”. The pathological changes are found at the fascia and muscles. This is mostly related to the “spleen”. According to the Chinese medicine theory, “spleen governing muscles” are considered most closely related to the “spleen”. The “Spleen”, in terms of Chinese medicine, is the “digestive system”. A fully functional spleen allows the food to be completely absorbed by the digestive tract and metabolized into nutrients to be transported to other organs in the body, as well as allowing whole body muscle movements. In other words, the body is dependent on the “spleen” to provide the driving force. If the “spleen” functions well, then the muscles will be bulky and strong with powerful limbs. If the “spleen” functions poorly, then the muscles will be thin with weak limbs.

       Lin Tsai-yu recommended that adequate nutrition and sufficient exercise can help prevent elderly bilateral leg weakness:

  1. Adequate nutrition:
  1. Keeping a balanced elderly diet by taking food from the 6 major food categories. None of them should be neglected.
  2. Choosing food that is fresh and natural, avoid processed food.
  3. Adequate intake of protein. The recommended daily dietary allowance for elderly is 1.2g protein per kg body weight. For instance, a 60kg person should be consuming 75g of protein per day.
  1. Sufficient exercise: exercise 3 to 5 times per week, 20 to 30 minutes each time. The excises can be selected from the 3 major exercise categories for elderly according to the level of individual muscular endurance.
  1. Strengthening cardiopulmonary function and muscular endurance: aerobics, brisk walking, cycling and swimming.
  2. Promoting physical flexibility and balance: Tai Chi, freehand exercise and yoga.
 Resistance training: dumbbell and elastic bands.