We all know that women and men are really different, but maybe less different than you think. While there is limited evidence for a male monthly cycle, a man’s hormonal balance changes greatly though out the span of a lifetime. These hormonal changes can affect our mental state, mood and sexual function. A couple of key hormones to watch in men are testosterone and cortisol.
Testosterone affects male fertility, libido and aggression. 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, (when your favorite team is always loosing) cortisol levels can become chronically elevated. As Cortisol becomes elevated, testosterone drops. And a drop in testosterone can cause other things to drop. You get the picture.
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.
Acupuncture can be highly effective in helping to regulate hormonal imbalances in both women and men. In my approach, I combine Chinese, Japanese and Western diagnostics to learn not just about the patient’s symptoms, but the underlying issues, which are creating the symptoms. I am particularly in debt to Kiiko Matsumoto for teaching me the use of palpation to determine hormonal imbalances.
During palpation, tenderness over a hormonal reflex point indicates to me, which hormonal systems are out of balance. For example, someone who has chronic exhaustion may have an adrenal imbalance. Chronic exhaustion could also be a thyroid imbalance. Through palpation, I can pinpoint where the problem is, and monitor how the patient is responding to treatment. As a Five Element Acupuncturist, I work to resolve these issues by treating the whole person, not just the symptom.
The treatment is focused on 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 over come 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 expect more strength, energy, endurance and sex drive.