Following the bunnies of wood, fire, earth and metal, the water rabbit made a comeback last Sunday with the beginning of the Lunar New Year.
The Year of the Water Rabbit is predicted to be a good one after the fading of the pandemic that began in late 2019.
Including me, baby boomers born in the year of the water rabbit, or 1963, will turn 60. This calls for a big saeyid celebration as it means one has completed the full sexagesimal cycle, or five rounds of the 12-year cycle. Each year is governed by a zodiac animal, according to the traditional Chinese calendar.
From an article about the Year of the Rabbit on chinesenewyear.net, water-rabbit folks faced financial hardship during youth, but have been able to turn around unfortunate events. The prediction also says that money must be spent to preserve longevity during the elderly years.
So how far can longevity take us after becoming a sexagenarian? We might be able to celebrate 72 and 84 birthday parties or be centenarian. Though completing another sexagesimal cycle is out of the question as the body isn't built to last for 120 years.
Nature actually designed human beings to stay well until reproduction and thereafter our bodies fall apart. Anti-ageing interventions, however, are available to help keep us fit and healthy for much longer than our ancestors.
Co-founder of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), Dr Robert Goldman even believes in the possibility of "practical immortality" referring to longevity of 120-plus years.
Rather than a blessing, immortality is a curse for the fictional Count Dracula. Bram Stoker's archetypal vampire sustains himself by biting his victims and sucking their blood while turning them into the undead like him.
In the real world, people yearn for longevity and the search for the fountain of youth has been part of human culture and societies for millennia. Today, the fountain of youth is based on science and technology, with various anti-ageing interventions to help stretch the lifespan.
Since 1992, the A4M has been on a mission to redefine healthcare through longevity medicine that also optimises physiological functions and vitality for quality of life.
Advancements in anti-ageing and regenerative medicine will be discussed during the 12th A4M Thailand Symposium, which will be held from Feb 17-18 at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld.
Topics include hormone management, stem cell therapy and immune system medicine in anti-ageing practice.
The symposium will also cover other aspects, from naturopathy and Thai herbs to energy healing and the role of enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics
Moreover, it will provide updates on approaches in Precision Medicine, which take into account variability in genes, environment and lifestyle of each person to prevent and treat disease.
The A4M encourages a holistic approach to wellness, considering nutrition, exercise, reducing stress and making lifestyle changes, as well as very early detection, prevention and reversal of ageing-related diseases.
Anti-ageing medicine, however, is not a quick fix or a magic pill. Staying healthy in senior years is demanding, requiring effort and discipline to stick to a healthy diet and regular exercise.
An anti-ageing programme typically includes a customised lifestyle prescription, and the use of supplements and hormones that help trick cells to think that they're still young.
Critics of the medical speciality say that it's more about business with the costly anti-ageing therapies, not to mention the aesthetic treatments to keep looking good.
Not only for water-rabbit people, but the prediction that money must be spent to preserve longevity during the elderly years is also universally true.
Taking charge of our own health in our younger years, however, will lead to happy and healthy ageing, without having to worry about how long we can live.
Kanokporn Chanasongkram is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.