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Men’s Health

Healthy Aging for Men: A Chinese Medicine Approach

 

June is Men’s Health Month, a time to highlight the need for more awareness of men’s health issues. Given that men have shorter life expectancies and poorer overall health when compared to women, it is not just a courtesy hat tip. The reasons for these poorer health outcomes may be a combination of genetic and social influences. Genetically, men are more prone to heart disease than women. In addition,  social constructs around masculinity may contribute to the fact that men are much less likely than women to look after their health and see physicians.[1]

 

According to the CDC, the two most common causes of death for men are heart disease and cancer. [2]  June is a time to talk about these looming killers and encourage health screenings that can help promote longer lives for men, but it is also a time to consider the quality of life.

 

‘Healthy aging’ is a buzz phrase often focused on women, but men also want to retain the energy and strength (and good looks!) of their youth once they’ve got the wisdom to go with it. One of the main threats to the quality of life for aging men is testosterone decline. Testosterone is a hormone that maintains sex drive, sperm production, body hair, muscle, and bone. While not as dramatic as women’s plunging hormones in menopause, all men go through a period of many years known as andropause, marked by a gradual decline in testosterone. Generally, this plays out as about a 1% decrease a year after the age of 40. [3] For many men, this is a normal transition that comes without noticeable symptoms. And many continue to have testosterone levels within normal ranges. But for some men, there are accompanying symptoms or further decline in levels that drop them below the normal range. About 10-25% of men experience what has been called: “Aging Male Syndrome” and this can be a serious threat to their quality of life.[4] The struggle can include weight gain, insomnia, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, sweats and hot flashes, trouble concentrating, irritability, depression, increased urination, and bone, hair, and muscle loss.

 

The western approach to this problem, in addition to encouraging a healthy lifestyle and regular health screenings, offers drug therapy in the form of hormone replacement for men with severe symptoms. Testosterone therapy has shown some benefits for some, but for others, these benefits are not always clear. And the risks are concerning, as hormone therapy can stimulate the growth of metastatic prostate or breast cancer. It may also increase the formation of clots and the risk of heart attack or stroke. [5]

 

When Chinese Medicine talks about aging, the focus is on the kidneys. Kidney energy (qi) and essence govern the life cycles of human development. Testosterone, in general, is thought of as a manifestation of Kidney Yang (the hot, active aspect of kidney qi) As this declines, it is associated with low back pain, cold limbs, lower libido, paling complexion, and weakness.

 

The TCM approach is therefore to boost kidney yang. This is mainly done through acupuncture, moxibustion, and herbs. One herb used to boost the kidney yang is called: yin yang huo, commonly known as horny goat weed. This and other individual herbs are known for strengthening kidney yang, but it is more likely that your practitioner will prescribe a multi-herb formula to address the issue from a few angles. Depending on the individual pattern, Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan is a formula that may be prescribed to supplement yang and warm the kidneys, while restoring balance in the system.

 

Even without herbs, getting in for regular treatment proves very beneficial for men looking to maintain healthy testosterone levels. An eight-week protocol of electro-acupuncture and moxibustion given to aging men at acupuncture points UB23 and DU 4  (known for tonifying the kidney yang energy), significantly increased total and free testosterone [6].  The best part? This acupuncture-induced hormone boost comes without unwanted side effects.

 

Acupuncture, moxibustion, and herbs are some of the best ‘healthy aging’ tools available for both men and women! Improve your quantity and quality of life by calling to schedule your next appointment!

 

[1] https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/06/men-die

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/lcod/men/2016/all-races-origins/index.htm

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/male-menopause/art-20048056

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/male-menopause/art-20048056

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/testosterone-therapy/art-20045728

[6] https://www.attiliodalberto.com/fertility/research/male/acupuncture-and-moxibustion-increase-testosterone-levels.php

4 Ways to Improve a Man’s Fertility

Are you a man struggling with infertility, or do you know someone else who is?

Well, read this if you want to improve your fertility success!

The occurrence of male infertility is about 10%, which means 1 out of 10 males may experience fertility issues. The reason is: male semen quality decreases by 10% every ten years for the last 50 years.

Why nowadays men are less fertile than their fathers and grandfathers? That is mainly related to the living environment of nowadays:

  1. Stress: work and life pressures are increasing day by day; physical and mental exhaustion reduces semen quality. Stress increases the level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. They can inhibit the release of the hormone GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) in the body, which is responsible for the release of sex hormones. Subsequently, reduce the number of sperm in men.
  2. Poor lifestyle: stay up late at night, lack of physical activity, overweight, drinking, smoking which all can affect the quality and quantity of the sperm
  3. Pollution: Diets are rich in hormones can affect the body’s own hormone and endocrine balancing. In addition, there is also pollution of the living environment includes water, air, radiation, etc. which are furth destroying our health.
  4. Drugs: The effects of drugs on sperm include disruption in testosterone production and a decrease in sperm production. Drugs such as supplemental testosterone, anabolic steroids, chemotherapy drugs, marijuana, and opiates affect a male’s sperm quality.

To improve male fertility, men need to reduce stress, have enough rest, move more, avoid toxic food, drink, or drugs, have a healthy diet, and take nutrition supplements.

Besides the above, for thousands of years Chinese have been using Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs to help males to achieve the goal of fatherhood. Acupuncture and Chinese herb can help the body produce endorphin which can counteract the stress hormone; the same treatment can also balance male hormone, encourage blood circulation of the reproductive system, subsequently improve the quality and quantity of the sperm. Many men also find after the course of treatments their general health and sex performance improved as well.

At the same time, Acupuncture and Chinese herb can work hand in hand with other assist fertility treatments like IVF, IUI, etc. which can further increase the success fertile rates.

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