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“IT’S all just a natural consequence of aging,” Michael Chan was told by his doctor in 2017, after being prescribed an array of maintenance medicines after he discovered he was pre-diabetic.
As an aesthetician running laser clinics under the Lumiere Skin and Spa, and as a generally healthy eater with an active lifestyle, Mr. Chan thought he was doing well at 40-plus years old.
It was ridiculous that everyone upon reaching that age just had to accept that health problems were due to the “natural consequence of aging,” and that was that, he said at a press briefing.
“After my daughter was born, I committed to reading two research papers and medical lectures a day. With what I learned, I became interested in longevity and enrolled in nutrition classes,” Mr. Chan recalled. “In a matter of two years, I began to reverse the ‘consequences of aging’ — I lowered the fat in my body, my sex life improved, etc.”
Because he wanted to live long enough to see his daughter grow up, and because there was clearly more to the science of longevity, he was motivated to start House of Gaia, a lifespan extension center.
However, although Mr. Chan was no stranger to nutritional, aesthetic, and lifestyle approaches, he admitted he was no expert.
This is where Dr. Evelyne Bischof, a German internal medicine doctor and oncologist based in Shanghai, came in the picture.
HIGH-TECH HEALINGDr. Bischof has a YouTube channel where she often discusses her research focus on longevity, specifically its intersection with next-generation medical technology. This is where Mr. Chan found her.
As the chief medical officer of the center, she made one thing clear — the complex in Lipa, Batangas, could be a good place to relax like other spa-type wellness resorts, but what House of Gaia must also offer is a science-based, long-term longevity program for its members.
Named after the nurturing Greek goddess of the earth, it will be an exclusive longevity science and wellness center that provides artificial intelligence (AI)-driven solutions for healthy aging.
“Using wearable trackers and getting a series of diagnostic lab tests done regularly will allow a patient to provide us gigabytes of personalized data, which we put through AI platforms,” she explained.
AI is what helps a longevity expert collect the data from constant monitoring and draft a protocol to give to the patient, for them to live a longer and healthier life. In the Philippines, this will be a pioneer effort.
Longevity medicine is relatively new, Dr. Bischof told BusinessWorld. It emerged because of all the technology and all the AI now available, and is unfortunately associated with spam from hocus pocus wellness interventions.
“It’s not what people assume — the anti-aging, life coaching, or whatever. Longevity science is an actual new discipline, and every physician must learn these innovations,” she said.
EXCLUSIVE FOR NOWHouse of Gaia chief executive officer Mr. Chan is confident that, with Dr. Bischof’s guidance and the use of the latest technologies, Filipinos can “live longer, healthier, and better lives to a strong 100 years.”
“You can live 20 years more than today’s average lifespan of 70 to 80 years old thanks to longevity science. Aging is malleable, just by turning an average human into an optimal human,” said Mr. Chan.
Aside from the length of a lifespan, the bigger priority is a healthy lifestyle, with marginal decay in the last 10 years of life. This is why “sick care is the base, with longevity care on top of that,” Dr. Bischof clarified.
The optimal age is 20 to 30 years old, so ideally people can start on a longevity program that early to maintain that biological age.
“Age reversal is not yet here, but it’s coming,” she said.
For now, since longevity science is new, House of Gaia is expensive, costing P3 million for a 20-year membership. Its clientele, limited to 400 members, will be high net-worth businesspeople and politicians.
Mr. Chan said that he put up the resort in the Philippines for his countrymen to learn about longevity, in hopes that it will gain traction and become the norm and therefore be more affordable in the future.
The center is 80% complete, with a target opening in July or August. — Brontë H. Lacsamana