The Natural Aging Process through TCM

As early as 2,000 years ago, the Chinese described the physiological stages of men and women. These stages are found in Huang Di Nei Jing. Huang Di Nei Jing (HDNJ) is one of the “Bibles” of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a classic that sets the pace for many of the health philosophy and practices that come from Taoism. Many of the theories from this book are adopted and encoded in Traditional health practices of Dao Yin (Breathing + limbering exercises), Du Na ( breathing gongs), and later Tai Chi Chuan, Neijia, and Qigong

TCM follows a 7 year cycle of stages for women because females are seen as yin and correspond  to the number 7, which is an odd or yang number. This is yin within yang.

1) A woman's Kidney energy becomes prosperous at the age of 7.

2) Her menstruation appears as the ren (sea of yin) channel flows and the chong (sea of blood) channel becomes prosperous at the age of 14.

3) Her Kidney qi reaches a balanced state and her teeth are completely developed at the age of 21.

4) Vital blood and energy are substantial*  and body is at its optimal condition at the age of 28

her peak declines gradually.

5) The yang ming channel is depleted, her face withers and her hair begins to fall out at the age of 35.

6) Her three yang channels: tai yang, yang ming, and shao yang, begin to decline. Her facial complexion wanes and her hair turns white at the age of 42.

7) The ren and chong channels are both declning, her menstruation ends, her physique turns old and feeble, and she can no longer conceive at the age of 49.

TCM follows an 8 year cycle of stages for men because males are seen as yang and correspond to the number 8, which is an even or yin  number. This is yang within yin.

1) A man's Kidney energy is prosperous, his hair develops, and his teeth emerge at the age of 8.

2) His Kidney energy grows and is filled with vital energy, and he is able to let his sperm out at the age of 16.

3) His Kidney energy is developed, his extremeties are strong, and all of his teeth are developed by the age of 24.

4) His body has developed to its best condition, and his extremeties and muscles are very strong at the age of 32.

5) His Kidney energy begins to decline, his hair falls out and his teeth begin to whither at the age of 40.

6) His Kidney energy declines more, the yang energy of the entire body declines, his complexion becomes withered and his hair turns white at the age of 48.

7) His Liver energy declines as a result of Kidney deficiency, the tendons become rigid and fail to be nimble at the age of 56.

8) His essence and vital energy is weak, as are his bones and tendons. His teeth fall out and his body becomes decrepit at the age of 64.


In TCM, the ageing process is mainly due to congenital essence being used up while the ability to supply acquired essence declines.These two essences are what forms human vitality. We inherit a fixed amount of congenital essence from our parents and obtain an acquired essence from ingested foods and fluids, which are stored in the kidneys and form material basis for all functional activities.When kidney essence is exhausted, our physiological activties will stop  and one's natural life span soon ends. By the age of 35 in both women and 40 in men, our jing/essence will decline rapidly. There are methods of preserving essence and it is based on diet, proper exercise that does not exhaust body, lifestyle of not overindulgence, and calm mindfulness as to not get caught up in negative emotions. 


  1. Nei Jing: Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine, China Science & Technology Press.


  1. Treasures of Tao by David Twicken.

Dr. Lana Moshkovich, DACM, L. Ac Dr. Lana Moshkovich, DACM, L. Ac

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