By Eric Kerr
Ladies love acupuncture.
Most acupuncturists will tell you that they see more women than men in their practices. More women also become acupuncturists. And women’s health is a very common specialty among practitioners, male and female alike.
In acu-land, women are all the rage! What about the fellas?
Acupuncture can be an especially potent therapy for men. It’s time more guys discovered its benefits.
Early in my acupuncture training, I knew I wanted to focus on men’s health. Being a man, I understand that men tend not to seek out healthcare in the same way women do. This is precisely why acupuncture can be so powerful in men.
Men typically wait until things are seriously wrong before scheduling doctors’ visits. Sometimes this is a pride thing, but often it’s because we’re out of touch with our health. We don’t even realize we are out of balance until it’s too late.
When deciding on a specialty, I was drawn to the way acupuncture helps reverse this tendency in men. Acupuncture heightens awareness, causing us to notice things that usually get ignored. This makes us more connected to our overall states of health.
Each acupuncture needle is saying, “Hello! Please put some attention right here.” The sooner you can identify the areas that need attention, the sooner you’ll be able to bring your body back into balance.
So listen up, fellas—and ladies who have unsuccessfully tried to get their guys to try acupuncture! Here are the top three reasons more men should get acupuncture.
Acupuncture reduces stress
If there is one thing most people can agree on, it’s that acupuncture reduces stress. A recent study confirmed it.
Although men and women experience many of the same stressors in life, they handle them differently. Men are more likely to deny rising stress levels and keep chugging along.
For some men, being stressed out is actually a status symbol. It says he is productive and successful. However, no matter how well a man handles—or thinks he handles—stress, it still takes a toll on his health.
When men do come for acupuncture, it’s usually for pain. I threw my back out on the basketball court. I overdid it at the gym. My wrist hurts from using the mouse too much.
Acupuncture can certainly help with these complaints, but what usually impresses male acupuncture goers even more is the stress-lowering side effects of their treatments. These men also find themselves sleeping better, experiencing fewer digestive problems, and having more energy in the bedroom.
Acupuncture will make you better in bed
Pharmaceutical companies would have us believe that men’s sexual health issues, such as erectile dysfunction and low testosterone, can be conquered with a pill. While drugs certainly can offer symptomatic relief, they do little in the way of addressing the root cause of these problems.
Stress and lack of sleep play a significant role in reduced testosterone levels and low libido in men. Acupuncture is great at reducing stress and improving sleep quality. Many men find that regular acupuncture treatments can help increase their desire and sexual stamina.
Acupuncture also can help men who may be struggling with reproductive issues. While acupuncture for infertility in women has hit the mainstream—everyone from Mariah Carey to your next door neighbor is doing it—many people don’t realize that acupuncture can increase sperm quality and production.
Almost 40 percent of infertility issues are male-related. Acupuncture gives men an opportunity to do their part. (For more on the theory behind why and how acupuncture helps men with their sexual health, read this article.)
And finally, in case you were wondering, because this is something I get asked about a lot: No, acupuncture needles do not get placed anywhere near the penis when men come in for sex-related health issues.
Acupuncture makes you more mindful
In our go-go-go society, it’s nice to have permission to take a pause. To sit still and focus on your breathing. This is the easiest way to relax the body and reduce stress.
Unfortunately, some guys are so busy plowing through their daily routines that they forget to give themselves time for stillness.
Acupuncture is an opportunity to be still for at least 30 minutes. The goal isn’t to excel or compete, but simply to be quiet with your own breath.
Being intentional about carving out time for stillness is a perfect way for men to awaken their senses and discover new ways of experiencing themselves. Acupuncture gives men an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness and trains them to be in the moment.
The more a man can become aware of himself at any given moment, the easier it becomes to address potential health problems, whether they be physical or emotional.
June is Men’s Health Month. Go celebrate by giving acupuncture a try. No matter what brings you in the door, you’ll walk out a less stressed, more energetic, and more centered man.
Photo courtesy of Eric Kerr
Acupuncturist Eric Kerr believes everyone should experience the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. He guides his patients along the path to wellness with a practical, no-nonsense approach to health. Eric offers private and community-style acupuncture at The Blue Buddha in San Francisco. Watch his latest video tutorial for AcuTake (on acupressure for hangover!) here.
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