June is National Men’s Health Month, a time to remind men of the health issues they face and what they can do to take charge of their health.  Men are significantly less likely than women to see a doctor or report symptoms to a health care provider. Only 60 percent of men go to the doctor for a yearly, routine check up, and 40 percent won’t go until something is seriously wrong.
Here are some other facts about men’s health that are important to know:

  • The overall mortality rate is 41 percent higher for men than women, and it’s higher for men for 8 out of 10 leading causes of death – including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
  • 31 percent of men suffer depression in their lifetime and 9 percent of men have daily feelings of depression or anxiety. But only 1/4 talk to a mental health professional.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men in the United States. A man is 2 to 3 times more likely to get prostate cancer if his father or brother had it.
  • Erectile dysfunction affects nearly 30 million men of all ages across the United States. If you’re having problems, see a urologist and make sure it’s not an early warning sign for something more serious, like heart disease or diabetes..

The good news is that there are many things that men can do to help with their overall health.  As already mentioned, men are more likely to ignore health issues, which can lead to worse outcomes over time.  In the realm of men’s health, it’s crucial to adopt a broad perspective that goes beyond conventional medical treatments. Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, play a significant role in this expanded approach to health care. Acupuncture, with its roots in ancient wisdom, offers a unique way to address various health concerns without the side effects often associated with traditional medicine. It emphasizes the importance of balance and harmony within the body, aligning physical, mental and emotional health. This holistic approach is particularly beneficial in managing stress, improving sleep quality, and regulating hormonal imbalances, all of which are common issues in men’s health.

Some of the most prevalent complaints from my male patients include cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure, injury recovery and pain, urinary issues and sexual issues.  Luckily, East Asian Medicine (EAM) can help with all of these problems.

Many men want to avoid taking prescription medications due to the known side effects (erectile dysfunction) and this is where EAM can be very beneficial.  Not only will acupuncture help, but herbal formulas can be a long term solution without adverse side effects.  One example is high blood pressure.  Acupuncture has been known to be very beneficial in lowering blood pressure, which, in turn, helps prevent heart conditions.  Additionally, acupuncture encourages the release of natural endorphins in the body, which decreases the heart’s activity and lowers the need for additional oxygen.  And when the schedule gets too busy for you to come in for regular acupuncture treatments, herbal formulas can pick up the slack.

Acupuncture is a great way to heal from an injury and many high profile celebrities and sports figures utilize the healing modality on a regular basis to help keep them performing.  One of the mechanisms of acupuncture is to bring fresh blood and qi (energy) to the injured area, which can speed up the healing.  EAM can effectively treat acute or chronic injuries as well as sprains, tightness, pain, soreness, tennis elbow, tendinitis, frozen shoulder and much more.  Acupuncture helps by reducing inflammation, relaxing sore or tight muscles, strengthening loose muscles, improving range of motion, increasing flexibility, stimulating tissue repair and increasing maximal oxygen uptake.

Another area that EAM excels in is urinary issues.  Urinary issues can be caused by prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and several other conditions.  Prostatitis is most commonly defined as swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland which sits right under the bladder in men.  The prostate produces fluid, like semen, that encourages and transports the sperm. Prostatitis can often cause painful or difficult urination. Some studies have shown that acupuncture and herbs are very effective in treating the pain and urinary symptoms caused by prostatitis.

The most common prostate issue is benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, which is more commonly seen in men over 60. BPH is also known as prostate gland enlargement and the amplification of this gland can cause uncomfortable urinary symptoms such as blocking the urine, slowness, dribbling, hesitancy or difficulty in starting the flow, frequent urination and / or night time urination.  Acupuncture and herbs are safe treatments in improving these conditions and balancing the urinary system.

Lastly, the issue that most men don’t want to talk about…sexual health and performance.  This is definitely not an easy subject for men to talk about, but it’s one that weighs heavily on their minds.  A condition seen often is erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence, which is the inability to get or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse.   ED can be caused by conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, medications, stress or emotional issues. Since blood pressure medication is known to cause erectile dysfunction, many patients seek acupuncture as a means to wean off the medication to prevent or stop this condition from happening.  EAM can help increase arousal and stamina, while increasing sperm quality, quantity and motility, in turn, helping with fertility issues.  Acupuncture is a safe, effective approach to tackling this issue and getting to the root of the problem and avoiding scary side effects.

This June, I am encouraging more men to explore EAM and acupuncture as a potential avenue for better hormonal health and overall well-being. It’s an opportunity to take control of your health in a holistic and proactive way.

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