Hundreds of Ways to Live To Be 100, by Dr. Maoshing Ni, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2006.

Page Contents

About Dr. Maoshing Ni
About this Book
Introduction, by Dr. Maoshing Ni

Dr. Maoshing Ni

About Dr. Maoshing Ni

Dr. Maoshing Ni is a 38th generation doctor of Chinese medicine and an authority in the field of Taoist anti-aging medicine. He is co-founder, past president and current chancellor of Yo San University in Los Angeles, where he teaches both students and practitioners. Dr. Mao has lectured internationally and has been featured on radio and television as well as on the pages of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.

For more information: visit

About this Book

Secrets of Longevity is full of surprising, all-natural ideas for living a longer, healthier, and happier life. As a 38th generation doctor specializing in longevity, Dr. Mao (as he’s known to his patients) knows the answers — and they’re surprisingly simple and powerful. It’s amazing how a little honey in your tea can aid internal healing. Or how taking a walk after dinner each night can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. The tips are organized into chapters on diet, healing, environment, exercise, and relationships, so you can easily dip into the areas you’d like to address.

Marrying wisdom from the East with the latest scientific advances from the West, Secrets of Longevity puts at your fingertips a whole host of ways to make your stay on earth longer, healthier, and much, much happier.


Secrets of Longevity by Dr. Maoshing Ni is the most original and creative book on health I have ever found. While the book is based on research conducted in China back in 1985 on elders, among them many centenarians, the style in which the book is written is all but a scholarly treatise. In fact, Dr. Mao found a way to present the material in a highly interesting manner, a page per topic or just half a page, and topics there are many. While one may suspect that here the ‘right brain’ prevails as the overall approach, giving the reader morsels of wisdom ‘in a nutshell,’ this style doesn’t neglect order and structure.

To be precise, the book is complete in every respect, with six chapters that present clearly defined topics, a Resource section, a Bibliography, and an Index.

As Dr. Mao writes about the research he conducted in the Introduction — quoted below — let me give an overview here over the chapter contents:

Chapter 1: What You Eat: Diet and Nutrition
Chapter 2: How You Heal: Herbs, Remedies, and Elixirs
Chapter 3: Where You Are: Environment, Ecology, and Community
Chapter 4: What You Do: Exercise, Lifestyle, and Rejuvenation
Chapter 5: Who You Are: Genetics, Relationships, Love, Sexuality, and Faith
Chapter 6: Bringing it All Together: Achieving a Fulfilling Life and Personal Legacy

Like Dr. Mao’s other books which I review here, this is a 5-star bestselling book that is in every respect up to the task of promoting an alternative lifestyle which is healthy, wistful, down-to-earth, avoiding extremes of any kind — so often to be found in this trendy publishing niche called ‘nutritional advice’ — and combining age-old Eastern wisdom teachings with cutting-edge scientific research results.

The book is also an aesthetic enjoyment with its eco-design look and the light green font color and corresponding page frames.

Introduction, by Dr. Maoshing Ni

Who among us doesn’t want to live a long life? The desire to survive is built into us. As animals, we react instinctively to protect ourselves in the face of danger. As organisms, our bodies marshal natural defenses to fight off disease and heal injury. As social beings, we fondly hope to observe the new generations as they are born and grow. We all contemplate the seemingly mysterious differences among individuals — why do some people succumb to age-related syndromes while in their sixties and others live to be well over 100? We ponder the even more mysterious events imputed to ‘fate,’ when otherwise healthy people die from injuries or environmental affronts to the body.

I have had special reason to engage in such musings. An accidental fall from the rooftop of our three-story house when I was six years old left me in and out of a coma for a month and greatly weakened by the trauma. I am lucky that I was born into a medical family. My father was a doctor of Chinese medicine and my mother rehabilitated me and guided me on the long road back to health. I still hold the memory of the herb teas’ unpleasant taste, grueling early-morning tai chi and qigong practices, daily acupuncture sessions, meditation disciplines, and special food preparations.

The knowledge that made me whole again came from thousands of years of Chinese tradition of healing and rejuvenation, and I vowed that when I got well I would become a doctor and spread this tradition, to which I owed my life.

In 1985, while completing my postgraduate residency in Shanghai, I took note of the throngs of seniors converging at local parks every day at dawn to practice energy-enhancement exercises such as tai chi and qigong. I interviewed many of these seniors and even examined some of them. A good number were more than 100 years old. I was amazed at their grace and agility, sharp minds, vitality, and overall healthiness. This experience, combined with my recovery from that childhood accident, inspired me to explore a preventive approach to health, and thus began my twenty-year effort on centenarians and the science of longevity.

The discoveries I made along the way fill this book. Marrying thousands of years of wisdom from the East with the latest scientific advances from the West, Secrets of Longevity provides time-tested and well-researched advice for achieving a long, healthy, and happy life.

To extend your life and improve its quality, you do not need to be in good health already. In other words, do not fret about the past. What you do from this moment on is what matters. The good news is that you can positively affect your health and longevity right now.

The causes of aging-related ills range from genetically pre-programmed cell death to destruction by environmental toxins to plaque and fibers that clog up the highways within our bodies. We all possess genes that are triggered as a result of how we live our life and the environment we are exposed to. Longevity is a matter of whether we express our good or bad genetic predisposition during our lifetime.

Unfortunately, Western society doesn’t make it easy to increase our longevity potential. Our youth-driven culture and our neglect of the aged promote a wholesale denial of the realities of aging. The marketplace is full of products and devices promising to make us look and feel younger. In addition, conventional Western medicine focuses on treatment and replacement therapy, prescribing expensive drugs, removing a failed organ and transplanting a new one, or replenishing a depleted hormone. Very little emphasis has been placed on preventing disease and maintaining a vigorous state of health day to day.

In contrast, prevention and wellness have always been at the heart of Eastern medicine. Eastern doctors have long viewed disease as a symptom of life being out of balance. Therefore, the medicine they practice seeks to enhance and optimize health through diet, lifestyle, and emotional well-being. The Eastern paradigm also employs a variety of natural therapies such as acupuncture, herbal therapy, bodywork, tai chi, yoga, and meditation to treat the mind, body, and spirit. This approach empowers each individual in his or her pursuit of health and wellness.

Another important aspect of longevity is healing. At some point, due to factors beyond your control, you may become sick. How you handle the illness will have significant bearing on your longevity. Therefore, I recommend that you build a team of knowledgeable professionals dedicated to furthering your health and wellness. Seek our physicians who are willing to integrate complementary medical traditions such as acupuncture and herb remedies and how will take the time to educate you, answer your questions, and guide you in the pursuit of your longevity goals. As you read this book, become more aware of your health and seek treatment at the earliest opportunity — before a serious disease strikes.

The official Web site of Secrets of Longevity. Find new tips for living a long, healthy, and happy life. You can also get answers from Dr. Mao on anti-aging secrets and tools for healthy living by subscribing to his e-mail newsletters here.
The oldest, most comprehensive, and most informative Web site on the Internet for acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutrition, tuina body work, tai chi, qigong, and related practices. This excellent resource for both consumers and practitioners offers access to hundreds of publications and herbal products.

Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services
For more than thirty-five years, the AOA has provided home- and community-based services to millions of seniors through programs funded under the Older Americans Act. The AOA’s Web site is full of useful information on various topics related to aging.

330 Independence Ave. SW, Suite 4760, Washington, DC 20201

American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine
An organization with a membership of 11,500 physicians and scientists from sixty-five countries, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine is a medical society dedicated to the advancement of therapeutics related to the science of longevity medicine. Its Web site contains a wealth of research articles related to longevity and anti-aging therapeutics. It also conducts anti-aging conferences around the world.

1510 W. Montana St., Chicago, IL 60614

Research and treatment center for exposure to environmental toxins such as PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals, and illicit drugs. Founded by UCLA toxicologist Dr. James Dahlgreen of Erin Brockovich fame, the center offers a scientifically proven detoxification and wellness program that integrates Eastern and Western methods that rid the body of up to 60 percent of fat soluble chemicals and toxins.

2811 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 540, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Center for Food Safety
A nonprofit organization fighting for strong organic standards, promoting sustainable agriculture, and protecting consumers from the hazards of pesticides and genetically engineered food.

60 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, #302, Washington, DC 20003

Center for Mind-Body Medicine
A nonprofit educational organization founded by Dr. James Gordon and dedicated to reviving the spirit and transforming the practice of medicine. The center works to create a more effective, comprehensive, and compassionate model of health care and education, combining the precision of modern science with the best of the world’s healing traditions.

5225 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 414, Washington, DC 20015

The Chopra Center
Retreat and spa founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra located in San Diego, California. It offers a wide range of health and rejuvenation services based on integrating allopathic and Indian Ayurvedic traditions.

2013 Costa del Mar Rd., Carlsbad, CA 92009

Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, the agency has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment in the United States. The EPA leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education, and assessment efforts. You can find useful information about radon and other environmental pollutants here.

Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Av. NW, Washington, DC 20460

Gerontology Research Group
A group of professors, research scientists, and doctors sharing the latest findings as well as thought-provoking opinions on aging and life-extension techniques. Founded by Dr. L. Stephen Coles, MD, PhD, a professor and researcher in stem cell technology and longevity medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, it also hosts monthly forums open to the public on the UCLA campus.

P.O. Box 905, Santa Clarita, CA 91380–9005

The Grain and Salt Society
Offers unrefined sea salts, organic bulk whole foods, traditional cookware, hygiene products and books.

4 Celtic Dr., Arden, NC 28704

Healing People Network
Comprehensive Web site on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for consumers and practitioners. In-depth coverage of subjects such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, Ayurveda, bodywork, Chinese medicine, cancer risk reduction, environmental toxicology, fitness training, herbalism, homeopathy, naturopathy, nutrition and lifestyle, pet health, and other natural healing modalities. The site also provides a referral network of CAM practitioners throughout the United States and access to more than 1,000 pharmaceutical-grade supplement products.

906 E. Verdugo Rd, Burbank, CA 91501

Herb Research Foundation
Provides useful information on well-researched therapeutic herbs and publishes an herb magazine, HerbalGram.

4140 15th St., Boulder, CO 80304

National Council on Aging
Founded in 1950, the National Council on Aging is a national network of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the health and independence of older persons and increasing their continuing contributions to communities, society, and future generations.

300 D Street SW, Suite 801, Washington, DC 20024

National Resource Defense Council
NRDC is one of the nation’s most effective environmental action organizations. It employs law, science, and the support of more than a million members and online activists to protect the planet’s wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe, healthy environment for all living things. The council also publishes a useful monthly newsletter.

40 W. 20th St., New York, NY 10011

U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission
The CPSC’s primary goals are to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products, develop uniform safety standards, and promote research and investigation into the prevention of product-related death, injury, and illness. The commission puts out free fact sheets on hazardous products.

Washington, DC 20207

Weil Lifestyle LLC
The organization of Andrew Weil, MD, publishes the popular Self Healing newsletter and maintains a Web site that is the leading online resource for healthy living based on integrative medicine. Also provides e-mailed daily tips and weekly health updates.

Whole Foods Market
Founded in 1980 as one small store in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is now the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with more than 170 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. These stores are a good place for healthy, mostly organic foo, dietary supplements, and household cleaning supplies.

525 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78703

Wild Oats Market
Founded in 1987 as Crystal Market, this was the only vegetarian natural food store in Boulder, Colorado. Wild Oats is now the second largest retailer of natural and organic foods, with more than 100 stores in North America. Healthy natural and organic food, supplements, and household supplies.

3375 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO 80301

World Research Foundation
WRF established a unique, international health information network to help people stay informed of all available treatments around the world. The nonprofit is one of the only groups that provides health information on both allopathic and alternative medicine techniques.

41 Bell Rock Plaza, Sedona, AZ 86351

Yo San University
An accredited graduate school of traditional Chinese medicine founded by Dr. Maoshing Ni and his family. Its rigorous academic, clinical, and spiritual development programs train students for the professional practice of acupuncture and Eastern medicine. Its ongoing community-based Healthy Aging Initiative is funded by a research grant from the Unihealth Foundation.

13315 W. Washington Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90066


— In your quest for longevity, look to those who have found it. Apple cider vinegar has been a part of the health regimen of centenarians throughout the world. Its ascetic and butyric acids promote gastrointestinal health by balancing pH and encouraging friendly bifido bacterial growth. Vinegar has antiseptic and antibiotic properties; it may also help to reverse atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and dissolve gall and kidney stones. /38

— Long known for its antibiotic properties, honey is also much more nutritious than refined table sugar, which lacks the vitamins and minerals natural honey contains. /39

— Many mushrooms, particularly shiitake, maitake, reishi, and wood ear, have superb anti-aging properties. /40

— Burdock root is a regular part of the diet among the Japanese, who have the longest life span in the world. /41

— I suggest using only unrefined sea salt such as that found in the salt beds of Brittany, which has a slightly gray hue. (…) It is also important to balance salt intake with potassium to ensure proper nerve and muscle function; potassium-rich foods include leafy vegetables, soy, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, and most fruits. /44

— Buy organic, cold-pressed, minimally processed oils at your local health food store, and make sure that you consume it within three months. Olive oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, and soy oil are excellent choices. /66

— The average American consumes nearly 240 pounds of sugar per year. Most of the excess sugar is stored as fat in your body, which elevates cancer risk and can suppress your immune function. When study subjects were given sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterwards. This held true for a variety of types of sugar, including fructose, glucose, honey, and orange juice. In another study, rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer compared to rats on a normal diet. To live long, draw sweetness from other aspects of your life. /67

— High blood pressure, the plague of the modern age, is the root cause of stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. An old Chinese remedy for this ailment is to drink celery juice, which you can create in a blender or juicer. (…) In addition, celery seed is renowned for preventing gout and other types of arthritic conditions. Studies show that this stalk contains more than a dozen anti-inflammatory agents … /69

— Many health seekers take vitamins and minerals by the handful every day in the belief that they are effective health aids. Often, because of the dietary supplements’ low bioavailability — the absorption factor — what people consume is excreted from the bladder and bowels without being metabolized. Many vitamins are synthetic, made form petrochemicals that have very little biological activity. The supplements with the highest bioavailability use extracts from organic, whole foods. The best way to take vitamins and minerals is in the form of powdered or liquid concentrates or oils made from bee pollen, barley, wheat grass, kelp, spirulina, chlorophyll, brewer’s yeast, bone-meal, wheat germ, flax, and fish oils. /102

— You should not have plants in your bedroom, because at night they give off carbon dioxide and deplete the oxygen in the air you breathe. /164

— Activities in our lives can also be categorized as yin or yang. Sleeping, relaxation, reading, and bathing are yin activities, while exercise, cooking, enaging in hobbies, and studying are yang. Therefore, your bedroom and bathroom are more appropriately located in the northern and western parts of your home, and your office, kitchen, living room, and dining room should be in the southern and eastern locations. /165

— There are reasons why gravity keeps humans close to the ground. For one thing, the higher you are from the surface of the Earth, the less connected you are to the planet’s electromagnetic field (EMF). Our bodies’ myriad functions are regulated by our own EMF, which pulses to that of the Earth. When this EMF synchronization is disrupted, disease can result. Moreover, when you fly in a place at 30,000 feet, you are bombarded with a level of cosmic radiation similar to one’s radiation exposure in a chest x-ray. So whenever possible, live and work no higher than four stories up, and use air travel only when absolutely necessary. /167

— Nonstick pans contain Teflon, a plastic that in recent years has been linked to immune disorders and possible cancer conditions. If possible, I suggest trading in your current pots and pans for cookware with porcelain enamel coating or made of cast iron, glass, or lead-free terracotta clay. /170