Category: Blog

Men’s Bits – Infertility

Needless to say when it comes to our bits and things going wrong with them we don’t want to talk about it let alone submit to a doctor’s examination. When men are asked, they will usually use the excuse that they were too busy to go.  However, when we  delve further it is often tied into their masculinity. Men don’t want to be perceived as weak, and the older they get, the less likely they are to go. The fear of the diagnosis is also a major factor.

 

But things are changing. Apart from being able to Google your symptoms anonymously, (we all do that) campaigns like Movember (Testicular Cancer) and March for Men (Prostate Cancer) have caught men’s imagination.

 

There is however one health issue that is still taboo – male infertility.

 

Whereas the narrative is usually around women, it is now shifting towards men.  WebMD reported that an estimated 10% of men are infertile, and the male partner is a factor in up to 50% of infertile couples. In many cases, the cause of male infertility is unknown. Previous studies of acupuncture and male infertility have suggested that acupuncture can improve sperm production and motility (a measure of sperm movement).

 

Researchers looked at the effects of acupuncture on the structural health of sperm in men with infertility of unknown cause.

 

Twenty-eight infertile men received acupuncture treatments twice a week for five weeks, and 12 received no treatment and served as a comparison group. Researchers analysed sperm samples at the beginning and end of the study and found significant improvements in sperm quality in the acupuncture group compared with the other group. Acupuncture treatment was associated with fewer structural defects in the sperm and an increase in the number of normal sperm in ejaculate.

 

But there’s also evidence that men have a biological clock.

 

A survey study of 1976 British women reported a five times greater increase in time to pregnancy in men aged 45 and older, compared with men under 25.  To evaluate pregnancy rates in different age groups, a French study examined 901 cycles of intrauterine artificial insemination. They found that the most significant factor contributing to probability of pregnancy was the age of the male partner. So age is a factor for both men and women.

 

How can acupuncture help? (Stener-Victorin 2010)

 

  • lowering scrotal temperature (Siterman 2009);

  • enhancing local microcirculation, by increasing the diameter and blood flow velocity of peripheral arterioles (Komori 2009);

  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors  (Zijlstra 2003)

  • by improving sperm maturation in the epididymis, increasing testosterone levels, and reducing liquid peroxidation of sperm  (Crimmel 2001)

 

Fertility is complicated, but acupuncture has been shown to make a difference and is commonly used independently and alongside IVF to improve pregnancy rates.

 

We’ve had a few Peachy babies ourselves!

 

I understand that fertility is a difficult and emotive issue for all concerned. And with men, it taps into their very masculinity. So I think it’s important to take a holistic view of what is ultimately a multifaceted health issue. Chinese Medicine takes into account your diet, stress levels, emotions and physiology. It focuses on you.

 

Andy Levy BSc Hons, MBAcC, LicTuiNa, MRTCM

Andy is Associate Acupuncturist at Peachy Acupuncture

 

Fit over 40 – Men and Sports Injuries

Something changed for me at 40 that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Finally the light bulb moment occurred and I realised I needed to change the way I related to my body. After not thinking much at all about it, I needed to give it a bit more respect and time to recover from life’s small (or large) knocks.

 

As we age our bodies grow and mature but this slows to its peak at between 25-30 years old and in hindsight the thing that I couldn’t put my finger on was a change in my physicality. At around 40 our bones start to lose mass quicker than we can build it which means that we are more susceptible to stress and fractures. Muscles lose mass too especially if you work in an office and don’t move much. Smaller weaker muscles are more likely to injure as the larger muscles take priority of the circulating blood. Cartilage and tendons become drier and are prone to wear and tear. Ligaments are less elastic and this sort of connective tissue becomes less flexible. All this points to the fact that things are slowly…. drying out.

 

So the most frequent injuries once you hit 40 are tennis elbow, stress fractures, lower back problem, sciatica, rotator cuff, hamstring tears, ACL, meniscus tears and knee problems, plantar fasciitis etc. The possibilities are endless! Working at a desk, overtraining, poor posture and age are what drive these injuries. I’ve had a few of them

 

And we see them at the Peachy Clinic all the time. Some are relatively easy to fix, others if they’ve been allowed to become chronic take more time, there are conditions that we can support while you’re going the medical route, or improve the quality of life for those living with multiple or complex conditions. You don’t need to live with it.

 

How does Chinese Medicine help? Acupuncture is seen to stimulate points close to nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. The stimulation increases blood flow, while at the same time triggering the activity of the body’s natural painkillers. TuiNa is a dynamic remedial massage ideal for musculo-skeletal injuries. It is also useful in reducing stress, encouraging relaxation, and deepening sleep. Chinese medicine has quite a toolbox and your practitioner may include fire cupping and guasha. These oriental therapies increase blood flow, move lymph and reduce pain, tightness and inflammation. Athletes, tennis players and Olympians are increasingly turning to these therapies to keep them injury free.

 

• The key is to remember that you need to pace or alter your exercise regime and recognise that the older you are, the more susceptible you are to injuries.

• Keep on top of small injuries before they escalate into larger ones by seeking remedial treatments. We often see someone who started with a bit of lower back pain, who later develops sciatica or knee problems because they’ve not addressed it early enough.

• Remember you’ll take longer to recover, so don’t go straight back to running 10k after an Achilles injury.

• Drink lots of water

• Get regular maintenance treatments, say every month or six weeks to iron out any issues and keep you well.

 

My go to is obviously acupuncture, TuiNa medical massage and cupping. I am regularly treated with Chinese medicine and I treat people with it. It’s a wonderfully diverse and effective holistic health system – particularly for musculo-skeletal issues.

 

I’m keen to get men thinking more about their health. Look at alternative ways of staying healthy and keeping injuries to a minimum. Whether you’re a regular gym goer or a marathon runner, work hunched over a computer, or would like to start a maintenance programme to stay well, then I’m always happy to chat about how acupuncture can help.

 

Andy Levy BSc Hons, MBAcC, LicTuiNa, MRTCM

Andy is Associate Acupuncturist at Peachy Acupuncture

Looking After Number One – Men And Their Health

 

The first time I realised that I wasn’t invincible was when, doing seasonal work on a farm, I slipped a disc lifting heavy machinery. I was 21 and ended up flat on my back for 6 weeks.  After that, I started paying attention.

 

Most men of my age aren’t really focused on their health until it slaps them in the face and that being said there is still a reticence among men to see their doctor or a therapist. Why is that? Well it’s quite hard for men to talk about things like their bodily functions or their mental health and although the male stereotype is changing, we’re still not big on sharing. Thankfully there is more help available for younger men. They are more aware of their diet and keeping their bodies healthy. Education and social media has undoubtedly played a big part in that.

 

Men’s Health Forum report that men are less likely than women to acknowledge illness or to seek help when sick. Health is often socially constructed as a feminine concern. It seems that men tend to use the health service when a certain threshold of ill health has been passed. Additionally, there is a tendency to play things down and attribute signs to growing old.  ‘Being a man’ about things can have negative outcomes in that symptoms and feelings are often left or not even reported.  This means that during that time, and long before that threshold is reached, something positive could have been done.

 

According to Men’s Health Forum, the top five health issues facing men are:

 

1. Diabetes

1 in 10 men have diabetes with men 40% more likely to die prematurely of the disease than women.

 

90% of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, due to lifestyle factors and diet. It’s estimated that an additional 1 million people in UK don’t know that they are living with Type 2 diabetes.

 

A change in diet, exercise and quitting smoking are the key to prevention. And lifestyle changes can actually reverse diabetes.

 

2. Loneliness

1 in 8 men across the UK have no close friends, according to a survey funded by the Movember foundation*. This amounts to 2.5 million British men with no friends to turn to for support during a crisis.

 

It’s a shocking statistic and one that relates back to the fact that men tend not to share their problems or develop supportive networks of friends. This can have a big impact on men’s mental health and overall wellbeing, especially if their romantic relationships break down.

 

3. Prostate Cancer

Earlier this year and for the first time in the UK, prostate cancer hit the headlines as the number of men dying from prostate cancer overtook the number of women dying from breast cancer

 

One in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime and a total of 4 in 10 prostate cancer cases are diagnosed late making it more difficult to treat.

 

4. Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of male death in the UK, with 119,000 men having a heart attack each year, compared to 69,000 women. Risk factors for heart disease include: smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol or having diabetes.

 

5. Suicide

A massive 75% of suicide victims in the UK are male, with suicide the single biggest killer of men under 45 however it’s not just young men who are at risk.

 

Stress is one of those things that if left unchecked can be the cause of and a precursor to so many health issues. Our modern world naturally propels us into a fight-or-flight existence and we are constantly battling with the result of it – stress. You could argue ‘well everyone gets stressed’ but the long-term consequences of chronic stress are significant:

 

  • damages your immune system and heart

  • increases your chances of serious health problems

  • reduces life-expectancy

  • damages your sex life

 

Just as stopping smoking, drinking less, doing exercise and watching your weight are important factors in keeping you healthy, using alternative medicine also supports and helps to reduce stress. Taking a holistic view of your health means not waiting till you’re on your knees before getting help. Whether you’re in your 20’s or 60’s, being proactive in looking after your health now means you’re less likely to pay for it later.

 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging more about men and their health from a holistic perspective. Watch this space…

 

Andy Levy BSc Hons, MBAcC, LicTuiNa, MRTCM

Andy is Associate Acupuncturist at Peachy Acupuncture

 

  • Movember Foundation

 

 

 

 

Things are changing at Peachy….

New Year, New Practitioners, New Services

Peachy is expanding…

Now in its 6th year, the Practice has steadily grown, thanks to continuing support of my many Crouch End patients – and few that actually travel from South of the river.

One of the things that patients appreciate is the variety of treatments they receive; acupuncture including facial cosmetic, tuina, tok sen (Thai meridian tapping), fire cupping, guasha, moxa and energy healing. But I am just one person, so it feels like time to expand the Practice, the practitioners and the services that Peachy provides. The idea is that we become more of a multi-disciplinary holistic health clinic.

Did you know that there are many styles of acupuncture? Microsystems such as scalp, auricular, stomach, hand and facial all treat the body from one specific area. But there are also entirely different systems such as Japanese acupuncture and Master Tung. Master Tung works completely differently to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). The needles are always place away and distal to the problem and often the opposite side. Very few needles are used but the impact is incredibly powerful and it is known for its immediate reduction in pain.

 

 

New Associate Acupuncturist

I’m delighted that Andrew Levy, who is a TCM, Master Tung acupuncturist, and Tuina practitioner is joining Peachy. He primarily uses Tung acupuncture but also merges the two. Andy’s father was an acupuncturist so he has been immersed in Chinese Medicine and healing all his life. He gained his degree in acupuncture in the UK, went on to learn Tuina medical massage and visited China to complete his training.

Andrew is a great acupuncturist; professional, empathetic and effective (and an all round nice guy). He delivers real results for his patients particularly for musculo-skeletal problems and pain of any kind.

 

New Thai Oil Masseuse

After Tuina, my favourite massage is Thai. Kung was trained in Thailand and has worked there and in the UK as a masseuse for 10 years. She’s a highly professional and knowledgable practitioner and her massages are consistently excellent. Whether you are suffering from musculo-skeletal injuries such as back, shoulder, neck pain or sciatica or you just need a good deep tissue massage, this treatment is incredibly effective.

Kung is a lovely lady and surprisingly strong but her treatments while firm, are not painful. Incredibly relaxing and enjoyable.

 

Hay fever Clinic

Last year was pretty bad for hay fever symptoms among adults and children, so this year we’re hoping to start a dedicated hay fever clinic. Watch this space….

 

Get in touch…

With the new year ahead, perhaps you’re thinking of addressing your health issues? If so then please get in touch.. Bookings can be made by calling Rita on 07961346822 or emailing at rita@peachyacupuncture.com.

 

Thanks for all your support and looking forward to welcoming you.

 

 

 

 

 

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine – Healthcare On The Go

I love Xmas and New Year, primarily because I always travel – usually around Asia – and miss the worst of winter completely! It’s part of my work/life balance promise to myself. My patients are incredibly understanding for which I am eternally grateful.
It’s not all fun in the sun as I also take the opportunity to either do some further professional training in Chinese Medicine, volunteer providing acupuncture to people who would otherwise not have access to any healthcare or as I did this year, discuss potential collaborations with other healthcare charities and NGO’s. This year I spent 6 days in Kolkata, India with an amazing western medicine NGO called Calcutta Rescue. They work with the poorest and most deprived people in Kolkata. Those who live in abject poverty, have little or no education, and suffer from very serious health conditions such as TB, HIV and diabetes, Hopefully we will be able to work alongside them providing acupuncture in the near future.
I love Asia as it offers so much and this year I’ve been in Thailand and Laos, travelling and meeting up with friends. I always carry my needles with me and often have need to use them on myself, and others. Particularly useful for stomach problems in this part of the world.  I’m quite a useful friend to have around!
The weather has been erratic, the pollution considerable and we’ve been in and out of air-con which has led to chesty coughs that don’t easily shift.
One friend who lives in Bangkok has been badly affected and she was already run down so her cough developed and became particularly nasty. I needled her to expel the virus and support her lungs which improved some of the symptoms but then she developed a fever of 38.9. She felt very weak indeed and coughing was wearing her out. She felt too weak even to eat. 
I needed to get her fever down so I used Guasha. Guasha is often performed with a thin but soft edged tool which is used to ‘scrape the skin’. Sounds awful doesn’t it? And actually looks worse than cupping! It can be mildly uncomfortable to have, but the results are significant. I worked around neck, between the shoulder blades and across the chest.  It works to bring blood to the surface of the skin that sets off an inflammatory response which then serves to heal the area. It also brings down fever.
 
Guasha tool
Within an hour her temperature was down and a short time later, it had returned to normal. She was able to eat and although still weak, she was on the mend.
I often treat the people I meet when travelling – I never charge. It’s wonderful to see them realise how effective it is and go back to their home countries eager to start treatment, often for conditions they’ve lived with for far too long.
For me one of the great joys of Chinese medicine is that it’s so versatile. I can treat pretty much any health conditions at some level – to relieve or eliminate symptoms, boost immunity and reduce pain – and my little bag of tricks is pretty much all I need. 
While in Kolkata, I showed the doctors there my pouch containing acupuncture needles and told them I could do hundreds of treatments with just that bag, pretty much anywhere, in almost any conditions. They couldn’t quite believe it!
 I always come back having learned something to add to my Practice and therefore support my patients better.