Celo Community Center * 36 Sweet Cider Lane * Burnsville, NC 28714 jennifer@woodelement.com (910) 759-0057

Men’s Health

by Jennifer M. Williams, L.Ac, BCIM, ADS

Men’s Health

There is no single element that comprises a man’s health. Physical, mental, and sexual well-being are three areas that can make or break a man.

Physical Health

Constructive pain can strengthen a man physically, mentally, and sexually. An exercise plan that can be comfortably integrated into a man’s weekly routine provides long-term consistency. This consistency builds both stamina and muscles. Slow and steady. There is no race. But I have yet to meet a man who is not caught up in some level of competition or being pushed beyond his body’s threshold. This often leads to destructive pain.

Destructive pain can weaken a man physically, mentally, and sexually. Where there is pain, there is no free flow. This applies to both pain in the body and pain in the mind. Constant or sharp pain in the back, neck, or shoulders is often from constricted tissue pressing on nerves. The tissue becomes constricted because trauma and or repetitive stress render the muscles in an active state. The muscle stays engaged. It is unable to relax. Not all negative pain is from trauma or repetitive injury.

As men age, internal organs start to dry. In the West, are limited food substances fail to provide all of the organ-level nutrition to combat this process. In the East, the primary male organ substance is Kidney yin. As this Yin depletes, there is knee pain, low back pain, and night sweating. Women can also suffer from Kidney Yin deficiency, but women usually start with Liver Blood depletion.

Treatment

Destructive Pain – acupuncture and trigger therapy. Acupuncture along the spine where the nerves are innervated, cause the muscles to release several kinds of endorphins and relax. I then isolate the constricted tissue knots and release them using a trigger therapy technique. In the winter, I often add Moxibustion and cupping.

60 minutes – $45.00

Aging Pain – acupuncture, trigger therapy, Chinese herbal formulas, and individual dietary recommendations. In the winter, I often add Moxibustion and cupping. Herb formulas are custom selected and prescribed via Kan herb Company. A list of ingredients, actions, and indications are e-mailed with the dietary recommendations and a list of signs and symptom that should change quickly after starting the herbs.

60 minutes – $65.00

 

Emotional Health

A happy man can provide an overflow of love and attention to himself and at least one other person. When mental anxiety and depression can’t be explained by a bad relationship, there is often a physical component. Where there is sweat, Heart Qi follows. Men perspire and often too much in our culture. Deficient fluids are unable to move which can cause more than aching pain in the body, it can also lead to a sensation of feeling stuck or stagnant emotionally.

Depression often has a physical etiology that stems from past physical trauma. In TCM, there is no separation of mind and body, but diagnosis and treatment require a comprehensive knowledge of all TCM systems.

Treatment

Acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, and individual dietary recommendations. Herb formulas are custom selected and prescribed via Kan herb Company. A list of ingredients, actions, and indications are e-mailed with the dietary recommendations and a list of signs and symptom that should change quickly after starting the herbs.

60 minutes – $65.00

 

Sexual Health

The treatment of men’s sexual health is andrology, which refers to the physiology of men, as well as the prevention, pathology and treatment of men’s diseases.

The conceptual seeds of andrology in Chinese medicine sprouted over 2000 years ago and many of its ancient root theories still inform the daily clinical practice of modern Chinese andrologists. The principles that are used in practice today in both the East and West have been refined and distilled through use, trial and error, extensive research and development handed down and recorded from generation to generation.

Modern Chinese andrology has its roots in ancient literature. It did not truly emerge in China as a recognizable clinical specialty, with its own professional and systematic literature, until about 30 years ago. Since its establishment, however, it has continued to develop. Today there are a number of specialists and researchers of Chinese language sources on andrology.

Andrology as a specialist discipline is usually practiced by modern Chinese doctors who practice integrated Chinese-Western medicine, seeking to blend the best of both medicines while striving to maintain the conceptual integrity of each.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, for example, will give rise to distressing symptoms in half of men in their fifties and up to ninety percent in their eighties. Also, male sub-fertility can be a factor in half of all couple infertility. In the USA MDs are advised to ask all men over the age of 25 about their erectile health, since erectile dysfunction is often the first, and for a while the only, sign of cardiovascular and other major diseases.

Male Infertility

Because many cases of male infertility stem from unknown causes and therefore mainstream medical treatment is often unsuccessful, many researchers are looking to alternative and complementary medicine for new ideas about causation and for new treatments.

In Chinese andrology, male infertility is suspected when a couple have been having unprotected intercourse for two or more years and there is no known female factor at play.

In Chinese medicine there are several physiological factors that must come together to allow a man to be fertile. In other words, to the practitioner there may be something in terms of Chinese medicine that is contributing to infertility, which is not being detected in Western medicine. This then opens up another avenue for treatment.

A typical course of treatment would involve an initial consultation followed by weekly sessions of Acupuncture and Chinese herbs. The goal of treatment would be to improve the strength and flow of vital energy (Qi) within the body and particularly the reproductive system. Certain herbs and acupuncture points are specifically effective for this.

The effectiveness of the treatment is gauged by how the patient feels after and in between treatments, changes in the pulse and tongue (specific to Chinese medicine) and also from biomedical tests such as sperm motility and sperm count.

Because Chinese medicine addresses symptoms within the context of the person and their life, advice is given on lifestyle and diet etc. where necessary. The advice, where given specifically, dovetails with the Chinese medicine diagnosis. For example, for some people dairy products are contraindicated because of their tendency to increase the production of mucus in the body. Therefore where someone already has too much mucus in their system, Chinese medicine will focus on resolving this and the advice will be to support the treatment by reducing the intake or finding an alternative to dairy products.

Treatment works best when patient and practitioner work together rather than as a passive receiving of treatment. This approach has always been at the heart of Chinese medicine.

As an example, as well as herbs and acupuncture the following is recommended:

Diet – Eat a balanced, light and clear diet. This should consist of fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains, small amounts of lean meats and seafood. Avoid eating excessive amounts of fats, sweets and spicy -hot foods. A light diet encourages the flow of Qi and blood in the reproductive system.

Avoid – exposing the testes to excessive heat. Normal spermatogenesis requires a slightly cooler temperature than one’s core temperature; natural selection has guaranteed that the testes hang in the scrotum in which the temperature is half a degree lower. Therefore it is advisable for men with infertility to avoid exposing the testes to excessive heat such as hot baths and sitting in the Jacuzzi and also to treat any febrile disease promptly and completely.

Talk: – The old saying that it’s good to talk is also true in Chinese medicine; withholding and pent up frustration are both part of a stagnant Qi pattern and talking helps to free the flow of vital energy in the whole body. This is particularly important when a couple is trying to conceive. From my experience this is a very stressful time for both people, and couples counselling can be very helpful.

In our clinic we have had good results with increased sperm motility and volume after a course of treatment with herbs and acupuncture when accompanied by diet and lifestyle changes.

Andropause

This is an extremely interesting area of men’s health. Most men experience a change around about midlife (45-50). In very general terms there is a slowing down in metabolism – a lessening of physical energy, flexibility, recovery time from illness and in reflexes. It can for some men also be a vulnerable time when the way they have identified themselves in the first part of their lives starts to change. The ambition, vigor and high libido, all part of the yang energy of youth, begin to fade. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘midlife crisis’.

If the goal is to recapture the vitality of youth then that may not be possible. If it is to find a satisfying way of being with oneself that incorporates the physiological and emotional changes that are happening this may be possible. It is interesting that many poets and artists do some of their most creative work in the second part of their lives. In Chinese Medicine this stage of life is recognized as the start of wisdom.

In Chinese as well as Western medicine there is a physiological basis for these changes and therefore a link between a physiological change and experience. Chinese medicine can directly support this change through treatment of the channel system which is a way of supporting and influencing the physiology.

In one of the major passages of the Su Wen (written 2000 years ago) it states “In the fortieth year, kidney yin energy is naturally depleted by half, being depleted by living. In the fiftieth year, the body becomes heavy, and the ears and eyes are no longer sharp. In the sixtieth year, there is yin wilt, Qi (energy) is greatly depleted, and there is emptiness below and fullness above.” From this passage we can see that at forty years old, yin is depleted by half simply as a result of the normal ageing process.

There is also an awareness of the progressive weakening of men’s bodies as they age; this perspective is very useful as it orientates treatment towards specific areas of the meridian and channel system. As an example, I have noticed in my own practice that many men have lower back and knee problems over the age of forty-five. Treatment is therefore often focused on these two areas but also upon the kidney meridian as the underlying declining meridian. This would be different to treating someone in their twenties with a back problem, where declining kidney energy is not necessarily an issue.

The kidney meridian, as well as being associated physiologically with the lower back, is also associated with willpower and ambition. In mid life the will gives way to wisdom, so treating the kidneys during this phase of life can help this transition.

 

 

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