When it comes to self care and overall health, men tend to push things onto the back burner until they can no longer be ignored. But in particular during the month of June, men should really look at taking better care of themselves. Here are some ways that acupuncture can help keep men healthy during Men’s Health Month.
1. Cardiovascular Disease – Cardiovascular disease is the leading men’s health threat, with heart disease and stroke topping the list of the first and second leading causes of death worldwide. By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into a heart healthy lifestyle, you can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Taking even small steps to improve your health can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent. Steps to prevention include managing high blood pressure, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and getting better sleep. All of these issues can be helped with acupuncture and Oriental medicine
Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers have been able to stimulate the release of natural opioids in the body, which decreases the heart’s activity and reduces its need for excess oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
2. Prostate Health – The prostate is prone to enlargement and inflammation as men age, affecting about half of men in their sixties and up to 90 percent of men as they approach their seventies and eighties. If left untreated, benign prostate gland enlargement, which presents with symptoms such as frequent nighttime urination, painful or difficult urination, can lead to more serious conditions such as prostate cancer, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones, and incontinence.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used to treat prostate problems by relieving related urinary symptoms and preventing the more serious conditions from occurring. The few studies completed on acupuncture and prostatitis show positive results, with participants noticing a marked improvement in their quality of life, a decrease in urinary difficulties, and an increase in urinary function.
3. Mental Health – Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, reports the Men’s Health Network, which attributes part of the problem to under-diagnosed depression in men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6 million men have depression each year in America alone. It is now believed that the male tendency to hide feelings of depression and to not seek professional help has skewed previously reported numbers. Depression in men does not present solely as extreme sadness. Depression in men may present as anger, aggression, burnout, risk-taking behavior, mid-life crisis or alcohol and substance abuse.
When people are suffering from depression, brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, and energy levels are all disturbed. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can alleviate symptoms associated with depression and mental health issues by helping to rebalance the body’s internal systems.
The growing body of research supporting the positive effects of acupuncture on depression, anxiety, and insomnia is so strong that the military now uses acupuncture to treat troops with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress syndrome.
4. Insomnia – Insomnia and sleep-related disorders are another major concern for men. Acupuncture has been shown to be very 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.
5. Pain – Men tend to suffer from pain more than women, just because their jobs can be more physical. 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 for men. Regular acupuncture treatments as preventive medicine can help keep them in top shape, thus avoiding aches, pains, strains and pulls.
6. Fertility – Fertility is not something that usually comes to mind when it comes to men’s health issues. However, stats show that 35-40% of all fertility issues are male conditions. Studies have shown that acupuncture and Chinese herbs is very effective at improving sperm quality and instructional integrity of the sperm. This is why many acupuncturists who focus on fertility issues treat both the male and the female as a team.
7. Digestive Issues – Acupuncture is a great way to combat digestive issues that are frequently related to added stress and this occurs more frequently in men than it does in women. The most common digestive disorder is heartburn or acid reflux, which is usually caused by stress and poor diet. When stress levels are decreased, then stomach acid can decrease also, thus alleviating heartburn.
These are just a few of the issues that acupuncture can help with when it comes to men’s health. But it is easy to see why choosing acupuncture to help keep the body in alignment is a great option, especially for men.