June is all about Dad’s. The 3rd Sunday of June is when we celebrate Father’s Day. So, to honour all the Dads, and non-Dads, out there here is an article for them. Acupuncture as an adjunct for men’s health can be just what the doctor ordered.
There are certain health issues more prevalent in men than women, and many of these conditions can be easily controlled or treated using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Afflictions such as high blood pressure, depression, urinary issues, stress and prostate problems are just a few of the issues that are more frequently seen in men than women. And these issues, along with many others, respond very favourably to acupuncture and TCM.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. It combines nutrition, herbs, acupuncture and other modalities to help keep the body functioning properly, while also treating any ailments that might occur. TCM has been used to treat both men and women, regardless of their age, and TCM is frequently becoming the medical choice for those who prefer to use holistic forms of medicine to heal themselves.
Cardiovascular disease is a big concern and is a leading health threat for men. Acupuncture can play a key role in managing cardiovascular disease both in terms of prevention and symptom relief. Chronic stress leads to elevated blood pressure and therefore an increased risk of heart disease. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly beneficial in lowering blood pressure and thus helping to prevent cardiovascular disease. In terms of managing symptoms an acupuncture study from the Department of Nuclear Medicine at Peking University Shenzhen Hospital successfully measured improvements in blood flow to the heart for patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Other studies have found that compared with drugs alone, both acupuncture alone and acupuncture plus conventional drugs proved more effective at relieving angina symptoms and improving ECGs.
Another component of men’s health that needs more attention is mental health. Men are much less likely to discuss their feelings and emotions, which can frequently lead to depression and even thoughts of suicide. In fact, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Acupuncture helps balance the chemicals released by the brain and the hormones released by the endocrine system. People who undergo 20 minutes of acupuncture can lessen their anxiety and better their mood immediately after the session, according to a study published in the 2013 issue of the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies.
Insomnia and sleep-related disorders are another major concern for men. Acupuncture is beneficial at restoring balance and allowing the body to relax and rejuvenate. In fact, acupuncture often times outperforms many prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids. Based on a meta-analysis —published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine— made up of 46 trials involving 3,811 patients with insomnia, going under the needle was found to be a safe method of improving sleep. A comparison between acupuncture, no treatment, fake treatment and medication found that acupuncture was more effective at improving sleep quality and duration—even more so than medication alone.
Muscle and Joint Pain
No discussion of men’s health would be complete without talking about musculoskeletal issues. Many men work at physically demanding jobs, others work at desk jobs and then play “weekend warrior”. Both situations can leave men dealing with muscle aches and pains, as well as repetitive strain injuries. It is statistically shown that men are less likely to seek out help when they experience pain, as they don’t want to appear weak. This is where something like acupuncture can be a great asset. Acupuncture stimulates tissue repair and reduces inflammation to help recover from injury. Regular acupuncture treatments as preventive medicine can help improve flexibility and range of motion and keep muscle tissue healthy.
Prostate issues are a prominent concern for men. From enlarged prostates to prostate cancer, this area of the body gets a lot of attention. One of the most common problems facing men is benign prostatic hyperplasia or what is commonly called the enlarged prostate. Benign prostate hyperplasia affects approximately 40% of men in their 50’s and 90% of men in their 80’s. It is a common cause of urinary issues such as dribbling, hesitant urination, straining to urinate, urgent urination, frequent urination and nocturia (getting up to pee at night). This is very easily controlled with acupuncture and herbs because the combination of the two helps alleviate the inflammation of the prostate allowing the urine to flow freely.
Fertility is not something that usually comes to mind when it comes to men’s health issues. However, statistics show that 35-40 percent of all fertility issues are male conditions. Regular acupuncture treatments not only help increase desire and sexual stamina, they can also increase sperm quality, quantity, and motility and reduce structural defects – all important in treating male-related infertility issues. Acupuncture can also help men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction.
Lastly, acupuncture is a great way to combat digestive issues. Many men experience digestive problems related to chronic stress. The most common digestive disorder is heartburn or acid reflux, which is usually caused by a combination of stress and poor diet. When stress levels are decreased, then stomach acid can decrease also, thus alleviating heartburn. A study published by the World Journal of Gastroenterology showed that acupuncture can control the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Other studies have found acupuncture to be helpful in dealing with nausea, vomiting, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. Other ways to help digestion can be found in our blog post “Self Help for Digestion“.
Acupuncture is a great option for men’s health and wellness. It reduces stress, improves athletic performance and recovery from injuries, decreases pain, and improves sexual vitality. Typically women are more willing to seek treatment and try something new, but men want optimal health too. The results speak for themselves. Many men are trying, and benefitting from acupuncture … if you haven’t tried it yet book your appointment today.