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Renowned Physician Professor Shai Efrati shares the secret to fighting time and defining a programme at Aviv Clinics that reverses the ageing process.
What do the first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?
As a physician and Director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Head of Nephrology, the first 30 minutes of my day is usually spent assessing if there are any urgencies at the hospital. Soon after that, I go to the gym for a 10 km run before heading to the hospital.
How do you define ageing?
In simple terms, ageing is just growing older. From a biological perspective, ageing is when body functions start to slow down, resulting in a decline in mental and physical performance. This is because the body becomes less efficient at utilizing oxygen and generating energy. The most obvious signs, and usually the first to be noticed, is a decline in physical abilities – things like lack of energy, weight gain, reduced stamina and issues with sleep. This is because our bodies lose muscle mass and power, we also gain more fat tissue; and lung capacity and cardiac function decreases, making it harder to keep fit. Even our nerve conduction decreases, making muscles less responsive. Although not immediately noticeable, we also start to see changes in cognitive performance like trouble recalling things, remembering words, sustaining attention, solving problems, and multitasking. Ageing, with its related functional decline, was thought to be an inevitable process. However, today, it is possible to target ageing as a disease that can be treated.
How did you approach defining the medical programme at Aviv Clinic?
We’ve seen great strides and achievements in age-related research and medicine. The average life expectancy is not what it used to be, say, a century ago. Now, we are looking at how to extend ‘health-span’ – the period of life spent in good health, free from the chronic diseases and disabilities of ageing.
At Aviv Clinics, we look at ageing and the associated decline as a disease that can be treated. Not only to slow down the decline of the brain and the body, but to actually reverse some aspects of it, such as improving the brain functionality and physical performance while increasing the health-span. The Aviv Medical Program is a treatment – with a scientifically tested and proven unique Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) protocol – to activate the body’s self-regeneration processes. The 12-week program begins with a comprehensive and in-depth assessment to evaluate the individual biological function and create a complete health profile of the client. The results of these assessments are then used to develop a strategically tailored, client-specific treatment plan, which includes highly specialized HBOT sessions, combined with a unique cognitive program, as well as physical training and nutritional coaching. Upon completion of the program, the client will repeat the exact same medical assessment in order to measure and demonstrate the improvements accurately.
Which factors escalate the ageing process?
There are many known factors that affect the ageing process like genetics, lifestyle, stress, diet, sleep and exercise. A key factor, however, which is what we focus on at Aviv Clinics – is oxygen and energy generation at the brain, body tissues and cellular level. Several components are essential for our bodies to function optimally. Oxygen is one such vital component. Oxygen is breathed in and transported to vital tissues by red blood cells. It is delivered to our cells which use the oxygen to supply us with energy to carry out functions including memory, attention, information processing, coordination, exercise, and healing of damaged tissues. As we age, our bodies undergo changes that make the transportation of oxygen through the blood vessels less effective. Our blood vessels become narrower; a process called atherosclerosis, which limits the transportation of oxygen through our red blood cells.
How do you approach age reversal?
We noticed that a lot of the decline caused by the ageing process can be attributed to oxygen delivery or the lack of it. Over time, our bodies become less efficient at channelling oxygen to organs and this deprives them of the supply of oxygen essential to keep them performing at their peak. This is why we start to notice our mind and body “slowing down” with age. Our latest clinical trial published in the peer-reviewed scientific medical journal Aging – proved for the first time in humans the beneficial effects of our HBOT protocol in reversing ageing at a cellular level. The treatment works to improve both the physical and mental decline associated with ageing by using our scientifically tested Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatment protocol to tackle this lack of oxygen. This involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a pressure-controlled room, and fluctuating oxygen levels at a certain interval to increase the levels of oxygen in blood tissue and activate the body’s self-regeneration processes. We also discovered that while in the hyperbaric suite, your mind is able to do more things at once. This led to the development of our cognitive training program, which is specifically designed for those undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Used in combination with HBOT, it improves memory, focus, processing speed, attention, executive function, and more. During the treatment, the body returns to regenerative levels similar to childhood, making the mind and body more receptive to therapy and training, and resulting in both physical and cognitive improvements.
Do you define a bespoke service per client and does this adapt over time?
Absolutely, no two people age in exactly the same way, and this is where our rigorous assessment comes into play. In order to meet each of our client’s individual needs, we start the program with the most comprehensive assessments to evaluate each clients’ health picture. Not only does this provide a comprehensive report of physical and cognitive health, it also allows our team of expert physicians to develop a cognitive practice, fitness and nutrition plan that’s personalised and tailored. A client of Aviv is a client for life, we continue to monitor our clients long after the Aviv Program has ended through the Aviv smartwatch, and we continue to send periodic updates on a variety of health and wellness issues.
Could you tell us about the Aviv HBOT suite?
Our HBOT suites are custom-built by the world-leading provider of hyperbaric equipment, Fink Engineering, and are among the largest and most sophisticated worldwide. In fact, our clients say the HBOT suite experience is not unlike an airline business class cabin – it’s comfortable and sophisticated with it also being pressurized in the same way an aircraft is. While in the suite, clients receive a tablet on which they carry out a series of mental exercises, as part of their personalized cognitive training programme. This is used to maximize the effects of our patented cognitive training programme, and give clients access to a wide variety of engaging content from the comfort of your seat.
In terms of beauty inside out what should we be eating or avoiding to optimize results?
Everybody ages differently, therefore nutritional needs differ from person to person. That’s why all our clients work with nutritionists to develop a personalised nutritional plan. That being said, a low carbs & sugar nutritional plan is usually recommended to maintain healthy body function.
How important is hydration and the quality of water you drink to fighting the ageing process?
Hydration is important for everyone – both young and old. Drinking the required amount of water and of course, good quality water is essential in keeping the body functioning properly.
This is ‘The Beauty Issue’ – what does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me relates to maintaining the peak functioning of our bodies and minds. Both our bodies and minds are incredible machines that can perform an unbelievable number of functions that we often take for granted in our everyday lives. Until one or more of them are compromised, we don’t even notice them. To be able to maintain our physical and mental functions at their most optimal, and to reverse the ageing process of both in order to do that, is what epitomises beauty for us.
For more information on this innovative concept visit aviv-clinics.ae
June’s – ‘The Beauty Issue’ – Download Now
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