Men are always considered to be the stronger of the two sexes and the problem solvers.  But what happens when men need help?  Well, most men have a tendency to wait until the issue is blaringly obvious and needs attention.  But it doesn’t have to be that way and preventive medicine is advisable for everyone.  In continuing our exploration of men’s health month, this article will be focusing on some of the more common patterns seen in East Asian Medicine that specifically affect men’s health.

Because East Asian Medicine (EAM) rarely makes treatment decisions based on sex, we will focus on disorders that are specific to the male system.  The most common presentations for men’s health have to do with the balance of yin and yang within the body. Commonly yin deficiency or yang deficiency can be seen.  Blood stagnation and phlegm accumulation also occur but are less common in regards to male complaints. Yin deficiency and yang deficiency are primarily the product of poor lifestyle choices, but can also be the result of aging.

Yin Deficiency – Yin deficiency can present with night sweats, palpitations, anxiety, feeling hot, easily angered, frequent perspiration, premature balding, intense sexual desire with poor sexual performance, frequent erections, spermatorrhea, kidney problems, memory loss, low back pain, knee weakness, insomnia, fatigue and poor skin tone.

Yang Deficiency – Yang deficiency can present with feeling cold, weight gain, fatigue, weak teeth and bones, low back pain, weak knees, apathy, infertility, loss of libido, poor muscle tone, memory loss, low sperm count, poor sexual performance and infrequent erections typically of low quality. There may also be diarrhea and worsening digestion.

Blood Stagnation – Blood Stagnation can have any of the aforementioned symptoms, but is almost always accompanied by characteristic changes in the pulse and tongue.  It also usually presents with fixed pain in areas of the body and possible skin discolorations. Blood stagnation syndromes often have an onset associated with a traumatic injury, but can also occur with advancing age. Blood stagnation is generally easier to treat with a shorter time to resolution of symptoms. It is a matter of restoring proper circulation.

Phlegm Accumulation – Phlegm accumulation is typically a product of poor diet and lifestyle.  It can also occur in people who have significant emotional repression or have chronic drug use issues. Often these are co-occurring. The drugs can be anything from prescriptions like antidepressants to legal drugs like tobacco to illicit drugs like crystal meth. The main point to remember is that if it affects your mind, chronic inappropriate use can lead to phlegm accumulation.

Each pattern requires different strategies. Phlegm accumulation primarily manifests as psycho-emotional disorders that can then lead to poor sexual functioning.  Chronic emotional repression, poor diet, drug use and other indulgences lead to the accumulation of “phlegm” in the sense organs, which can lead to changes in personality and behavior. This phlegm accumulation also blocks circulation to the kidneys and liver which are responsible for sexual function. Sometimes patterns occur in layers, such as yin or yang deficiency coupled with blood stagnation or phlegm accumulation, because long standing patterns will impair other physiological functions.

Acupuncture and herbs can be tremendously helpful in addressing all of the patterns mentioned.  It is important to remember that for most men, getting to the point of needing help, took time.  This means that it will also take time to address or reverse the issues.  Quick fixes are not healthy and not sustainable for most men.  And there are other factors, like diet and lifestyle, that generally have to be addressed as well.  This can make regaining health a slower journey, but it is the smart way to do it.  At Zen Penguin Wellness, we can help with all of these facets of healing.  Our goal is to help as many people as possible using holistic modalities and East Asian Medicine.  If you know a gentleman who could benefit from this information, please share this with him.

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