We all know that men and women are biologically different, but perhaps less different than you think. While there is limited evidence for a male monthly cycle, a man’s hormonal balance changes greatly throughout the span of a lifetime. These hormonal changes can affect mental state, mood, muscle mass and sexual function. A couple of key hormones to watch in men are testosterone and cortisol.
Testosterone affects male fertility, libido and aggression. Testosterone also declines as we age. Normally, testosterone production peaks in adolescence and early adulthood. Starting at around age thirty, men’s testosterone diminishes by about one percent a year. Diminished testosterone may contribute to reduced energy, strength, endurance, sex drive, erectile function, enjoyment of life, and performance at work.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. In crisis situations, (when you are about to be eaten by a tiger,) cortisol and adrenaline help us to respond with the fight – flight response. If stress becomes constant, which seems all too common in our modern times, cortisol levels can become chronically elevated. As Cortisol becomes elevated, testosterone drops. And a drop in testosterone can cause other things to drop. According to experts at The Cleveland Clinic, erectile dysfunction affects over 40% of men over the age of 40 and 70% of men over the age of 70%.
Acupuncture can be highly effective in helping to regulate hormonal imbalances and maintain healthy testosterone levels in men. Hormonal reflexes are palpated to reveal which hormonal systems are out of balance. For example, someone who has chronic exhaustion may have an adrenal imbalance. Chronic exhaustion could also be due to a thyroid imbalance.
Through palpation, I can pinpoint where the problem is, and monitor how the patient is responding to treatment. It is particularly important to tease out and treat the underlying issues that are creating the patient’s symptoms. The reproductive system works in concert with the heart – on both physical and emotional levels. When men are plagued by erectile dysfunction, a successful treatment utilizes a holistic approach to address the overall health.
Treatment is focused on the underlying cause or fundamental weakness within your constitution (your unique energetic makeup.) In Five Element Acupuncture, we call this weakness the Causative Factor (the one element which is most out of balance).
Think of each of the Five Elements as a member of a team (wood, fire, earth, metal, water.) If one of the players has a problem, the whole team has a problem. If the team member or element is supported well, she can overcome her problems and become stronger. Everyone on the team benefits from the renewed health of this player. By providing the appropriate support to the weakest element the whole system improves.
So, if you are experiencing hormonal problems, fear not. Acupuncture can help to reduce these imbalances and improve your overall health. As your hormonal balance improves, you can develop more strength, energy, endurance and sex drive.