Acupuncture can be used for many of the health issues men face day to day, and even chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, pain from sports injuries, or even prostate cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12% of men are in fair or poor health, and their leading causes of death were heart disease, cancer, and accidents. Luckily, acupuncture can aid with issues from these conditions and more by doing what it is known for: getting to the root of the problem.
Acupuncture works many times along with herbs to help all of the unique challenges men face as they age. In general, acupuncture is able to create blood flow to a man’s problem area to address the root cause of the issue.
- Acupuncture for Men’s Fertility– no, it is not just in women. Many men, about 40 – 50% of couples, have male factor accounts of infertility. Acupuncture & herbs can improve sperm count, motility, morphology, and anti-sperm antibodies that can interfere with conception.
- Acupuncture for Low Testosterone– an estimated 31% of men report having issues of low libido. Acupuncture can make a difference in sexual desire, responsiveness, and production of testosterone levels. In Chinese medicine, it is caused by stagnation of qi (pronounced chee) which leads to poor flow of energy & blood, and a lack of qi which causes a feeling of depletion inhibiting the ability to get in the mood for sex. Acupuncture can also aid in male menopause called andropause associated with low libido among other symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, anxiety, & depression.
- Acupuncture for Erectile Dysfunction – this is an issue that you hear about most often in regards to acupuncture. The release of hormones and increased blood circulation is what helps those with erectile dysfunction
- Acupuncture for Prostate Health – as men age the prostate is prone to inflammation which, if left untreated can become benign prostate gland enlargement causing frequent urination, painful urination, and sexual dysfunction. This can also lead to worse conditions such as prostate cancer, urinary tract infections, kidney/bladder damage, incontinence, and bladder stones. Acupuncture relieves urinary symptoms, and prevents more serious conditions from developing.
- Acupuncture for Depression – according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are 3.5x more likely to commit suicide than women, and the rate of suicide is higher in middle aged white men in particular. Part of this problem is that depression is under-diagnosed in men, and doesn’t present only as extreme sadness, but also as anger aggression, risk-taking behavior, mid-life crisis, alcohol/substance abuse, and burnout. Acupuncture can alleviate the symptoms of depression including sleep disturbance, stress, appetite, and depleted energy. This helps to rebalance the body’s homeostasis, and also rebalance the brain chemicals & stress hormones.
- Acupuncture for Sports Injuries – many men experience sports related injuries on a daily basis, and often some that take them completely out of the game. Many professional sports teams keep an acupuncturist on staff because adding acupuncture to the healing plan can increase recovery time. It is also used to strengthen and prevent repeat injuries. Acupuncture can improve athletic performance by reducing inflammation, increasing strength, increasing flexibility, stimulating tissue repair, accelerating recovery, and improving range of motion.
- Acupuncture for Cardiovascular Disease – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, and half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease has no previous symptoms meaning even without symptoms you could still be at risk. Integrating acupuncture into a daily healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Issues such as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, stress, & lack of sleep all can contribute to increasing your risk of heart disease, and luckily, can be helped with acupuncture. Acupuncture stimulates the natural opioids in the body which decreases the heart’s activity, and reduces its need for excess oxygen lowering the blood pressure.
- Acupuncture for Cancer – according to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. The risk of developing lung cancer is of course much higher for those who are smokers, and if you are ready to quit smoking, acupuncture can help. Acupuncture treatment focuses on cravings, irritability, jitters, and restlessness symptoms of those trying to quit. Not to mention it also aids in relaxation and detoxification both of which are vital when trying to quit smoking.
There are many conditions that acupuncture can treat in regards to men’s health and vitality. It is becoming more popular as the years roll by because the common issues men face such as high blood pressure & prostate problems respond well to acupuncture treatments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine & Men’s Health
If you are going to book an acupuncture appointment with a licensed acupuncturist, it is important to possibly know how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views men’s health as a whole, and how it is described.
Eastern Medicine 101:
- Qi and Blood – these are the two most vital substances in TCM. Qi, or a person’s energy is responsible for giving power to our organs, muscles, and any of our physiological functions. Blood is primarily responsible for providing nourishment. Qi and blood rely on one another to function properly, and to maintain your health, both qi and blood need to be plentiful & flow freely. If either becomes deficient it causes a blockage within the channels of the body, and disease may follow.
- Yin and Yang – these are the most known, and one of the most basic concepts in TCM, and in many ways are similar to qi & blood. Yin is denser & provides nourishment, and yang is lighter & provides energy. In order to maintain good health, yin & yang must be always working in harmony. If there is a lack of one or the other, the systems in your body will not function as they should.
- Jing (Essence) – this is something that is crucial to men’s health and partially inherited from your parents, and is influenced by their age & health at the time of your conception. Essence is influenced by your diet and lifestyle being preserved or depleted depending on the choices you make.
There are also specific organs that are particularly important in regards to men’s health each playing their own vital roles.
Important organs for men’s health:
- Spleen – takes the nutrition from food
- Lung – gathers clean air which come together forming qi & blood
- Liver – aids in circulation & helps maintain emotional balance
- Kidney – considered the most important organs in men’s health because they are responsible for storing essence & maintaining harmony between yin and yang. Many of men’s health issues can be traced back to poor kidney function such as infertility issues, sexual dysfunction, prostate issues, and low back pain, it is vital to take extra care of this organ in particular.
TCM can play an important role in both the day to day issues, and more severe issues men face now & especially as they age. In Chinese medicine, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, they heal the body from the inside out.
Acupuncture Research for Men’s Health Conditions
There are many studies out there in relation to men’s health issues, and there are many that are ongoing or being updated as we speak. Acupuncture becoming more mainstream means there are far more studies that are being conducted for conditions that have been treated for thousands of years with acupuncture & TCM, and also are gaining the support of western medicine.
Systematic Review of Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis:
- The goal of this study was to assess the efficiency and safety of acupuncture for chronic prostatitis (CP) and chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), and only randomized controlled trials were included.
- Seven trials were included which involved 471 participants.
- Results conclude that compared with sham acupuncture & medicine, acupuncture was more effective at decreasing the total Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) score. Additionally, real acupuncture was superior to sham acupuncture in improving symptoms & quality of life, and may be more effective than western medicine in decreasing NIH-CPSI score especially in terms of pain relief.
Long-Lasting Reduction of Blood Pressure by Electroacupuncture:
- The goal of this study was to determine the effectiveness of electroacupuncture at specific acupuncture points to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
- 65 total hypertensive patients who were not receiving medication were assigned to of the two acupuncture intervention groups (33 vs. 32 patients). Patients were treated with 30 minutes of electroacupuncture at acupuncture points PC5 & 6 and ST36 & 37 or with the control acupuncture points LI6 & 7 and GB37-39 once a week for 8 weeks.
- The study concluded that electroacupuncture at select acupuncture points reduces blood pressure.
Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis – The Effect of Acupuncture & Moxibustion on Heart Function in Heart Failure Patients:
- The goal of this analysis was to search electronic databases through December 2018 with heart function being the main outcome assessed.
- 32 randomized controlled trials involving 2,499 patients were included in the analysis. Compared with the traditional treatment group, the acupuncture group had a higher efficiency rate, and significantly improved left ventricular ejection fraction, cardiac output, 6-minute walk test, and reduced brain-type natriuretic peptide.
- The study concluded that acupuncture and moxibustion are promising interventions as an adjunct therapy to medication for treating heart failure patients.
Acupuncture & Men’s Health
Although men & women experience many of the same conditions as they go through life, they handle them differently, and there are always conditions that are unique and specific to each. Men are more likely to deny rising issues or stress levels, and keep going despite the toll it takes on their health.
Acupuncture for men can be an excellent treatment to boost overall health and wellness, as well as target specific health conditions requiring attention. By visiting a licensed acupuncturist for treatments, men can start on the road to a balanced & healthy life.
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