Expert Interview with Chad Tew about Advances in Longevity
“The tried-and-true techniques are still the best: don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, get up and move, live a life of moderation, and maintain meaningful connections to people you care about,” says Chad Tew, CFO at the California Health & Longevity Institute (also known as CHLI).
The unique wellness destination located on the outskirts of Los Angeles integrates world-class, evidence-based preventive medical care with personalized support in the areas of nutrition, fitness, life-balance counseling and therapeutic spa treatments.
We recently caught up with Chad to learn more about CHLI’s 360-degree approach to wellness with the spirit of hospitality, and get his perspective on how we can make our later life more livable.
Here’s what he had to say:
What is your mission? How do you work toward it?
Much of Western medicine is structured to respond to acute symptoms within silos of specialization. However, in our Mission Statement we say “CHLI believes that individual vitality and long life are best achieved through proactive measures that promote wellness. We provide evaluations, therapies, training and education to serve individuals, communities and corporations worldwide, while conducting pioneering research.”
What types of services do you offer to seniors? What are the benefits of membership?
CHLI’s services are open to people from 16 to 90+ – really, anyone who is ready to take a proactive step toward preventing illness and improving their vitality for the long haul.
Corporate leaders and individuals seek us out for what Worth Magazine called “one of the most extensive executive health programs available.” World-class physicians spend on average 1-1/2 hours with each guest (you are our guest, not our patient) conducting a detailed physical exam and deep discussion about family history and individual health concerns. The doctor’s notes and lab tests go to our dieticians and exercise physiologists, who meet privately to craft a personal wellness plan based on each individual.
We provide body composition testing; complementary and alternative medicine such as acupuncture and hypnosis; a full dental practice; preventive and cosmetic dermatology; on-site services by the Cedars Sinai Heart Institute; and access to a full imaging center equipped with the latest MRI, CT, digital mammogram, bone density scanning, ultrasound, and digital X-Ray technology. CHLI also provides genetic testing and counseling when medically indicated, as well as cutting-edge cancer screening tests.
Our counseling staff can provide coaching on stress reduction, work/life balance, and family issues; and at the end of the day, guests can access dozens of services at the largest spa in the global Four Seasons Hotel chain.
Prospective guests can find out more at www.chli.com.
What would you like to see change about the way Americans enter old age?
The first thing I’d like to see is a reboot of what people think of as “old age.” I subscribe to the ideas popularized by Marc Freedman of Encore.org, who encourages us “to marshal imagination and ingenuity to devise new strategies for enhancing the whole range of experiences in later life.”
We can advance chronologically without entering “old age,” so I guess the thing I’d most like to see is for individuals to change their mindset. I’d encourage people to be active contributors to their community, however they chose to define that, and to accept that the person who has the most responsibility for your health and well-being is you.
On your site you talk about using the practice of Kaizen. What is Kaizen?
Kaizen is a Japanese/Chinese word that means “change for the better.”
Following WWII, it became associated with the management process of continuous, incremental improvement based on the work of U.S. management consultant W. Edwards Deming and his colleagues, who assisted with rebuilding the post-war Japanese business sector. In the health and wellness area, the practice of Kaizen involves accepting where you are and embracing a commitment to continuously work toward improvement.
Why are you believers in Kaizen? What are the benefits?
At CHLI, we embrace the idea of Kaizen because it works! Thoughtful, incremental commitment to eating better, exercise, mental/spiritual balance, and relaxation will lead to improved wellness in most cases. Proactive and preventive medical monitoring provides the best chance of catching problems when they are most treatable, so that is also a critical part of each person’s “change for the better.”
The benefit is vitality. Longevity alone is not the goal. No one wants an extended life of pain and suffering. The Kaizen process offers incremental progress even in the face of occasional setbacks, and avoids the attraction of the “quick cure.”
You write about fusing the latest breakthroughs of Western preventative-care medicine and alternative Eastern medical techniques. Why is it important to you to explore both aspects of care?
We are focused on evidence-based Western medicine and study-proven treatments that enhance wellness. However, there are also 5,000+ years of tradition in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). We embrace and provide proven CAM treatments from Eastern traditions and other cultures to enhance the core medical treatment at CHLI.
CHLI is engaged in clinical trial research and is currently working on some exciting studies for leading organizations. That work is governed by significant confidentiality agreements.
However, as an individual I can say that I am extremely excited about developments and research I have read about in the areas of wearables and nanotechnology. I’m a fan of Peter Diamandis of the X-Prize and looking forward to the winner of their Tricorder Prize, which encourages the creation of a handheld medical diagnostic machine like the one seen in “Star Trek.”
The first person to live to 150 has already been born. These are exciting times, but none of the bells and whistles of new technology will beat individuals taking daily responsibility for their personal wellness.