Category: Blog

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.

Acupuncture for Women

Acupuncture is particularly well-suited to women’s healthcare. From fertility to endometriosis, emotional wellbeing to menopause, women require a holistic approach in managing key stages in their life.

Women’s lives have changed dramatically; we work longer hours, have children later, juggle home and work, and experience more stress than ever before. Our hormones play havoc with our mood and a greater percentage of women now experience anxiety. Being female brings its own challenges and medication isn’t a sustainable way to maintain our health or our peace of mind.

Women, generally, are more aware of their health, although men are slowly waking up to the fact that they need to take more care of themselves. Women are more likely to seek help, talk to a therapist or alter their diet to support their own wellbeing. They are also more likely to commit to ongoing treatment, and that’s really important in maintaining good health.

Female patients come to acupuncture because it works for so many of their health issues without treating them as separate individual problems. In Chinese medicine, we look at the whole person – as three-dimensional, multi-faceted individuals not simply a collection of random symptoms. In fact symptoms that appear random to a doctor and would be treated individually, often make total sense to an acupuncturist.  I’ve had patients referred from neurologists for migraine* and gynecologists for infertility* and menopause* as these conditions have been approved by NICE. *

Sometimes we are able to treat a patient so that the problem they present with completely disappears, and other times it’s a matter of treating patients so that their condition is managed without resorting to drugs. Often they remain on ‘maintenance’ coming once a month to stay well. That way we pick up problems before they get worse and nip them in the bud.

Kaylee came to me convinced that acupuncture would make no difference! But as she said ‘I’m desperate’.  I treated Kaylee predominantly with acupuncture and occasionally with TuiNa. But acupuncture has undoubtedly been the most effective for her. She now comes for treatment monthly to keep everything in balance.

Here‘s Kaylee’s story:

‘I was reluctant to try Acupuncture. I have a medical background and thought it was all a bit mind over matter “hocus pocus”, however, I was feeling that that the GP wasn’t really listening and couldn’t offer any medication or suggestions that worked without side effects. I had tried to manage my symptoms with exercise, healthy eating and herbal remedies but the added stress I was feeling from my work was making me very unwell. My colleagues said that acupuncture helped them and if anything I’d said I’d go so that I could say I tried it.

I have Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which was the main reason for most of my symptoms. I have suffered from the below since puberty;

Water retention, chronic period pain, bloating, constipation, irregular periods, fluctuating mood, poor digestion and just general fatigue. All symptoms fluctuated and were exacerbated by the consumption of food and my irregular period cycle. 

I had weak ankles and they became sore when I was running. I also had a back injury caused by my crossfit exercise class. It was painful to sit and tender to touch when went for my first treatment. My overall physical health contributed to general anxiety but I was under a lot of pressure at work and was unable to manage my stress levels. 

All of the above symptoms have reduced significantly. 

When I first started to go, following each session I would feel immediate benefits. I felt more relaxed, my ankles and fingers (water retention) felt less puffy and my digestion improved. 

The most significant change was my period pain. The pain used to be so bad that I would have to dose myself with a concoction of 3 types of strong painkillers every 4 hours for 2 3 days. They made me drowsy but if the pain started at work I would not be able to make it home because the pain was immobilising. Now I take a maximum of 6 mild painkillers over 2 days. Close friends and family started commenting how much more relaxed I was. 

For a non-believer this has been a humbling experience. I think that this ongoing treatment has helped me physically and mentally.

Rita is kind, she listens and she understands. Id definitely recommend her.

*https://www.nice.org.uk

Volunteer acupuncture clinic in Gujarat, India

Charpada acupuncture clinic – November 2016

Thanks to donations from friends, family and clients I was able to volunteer with World Medicine as an acupuncturist in rural Gujarat, India. Over a period of two weeks, I worked with four other acupuncturists and did 960 treatments in a multi-bed clinic environment.

Our patients were impoverished farm workers predominantly suffering from musculo-skeletal pain – neck, shoulder, back and knee problems were severe due to the heavy manual labour they did every day.

It was a fantastic experience and one I hope to repeat.

Read my blog here:

http://www.worldmedicine.org.uk/index.php/news-events/blog