Tag: crouch end

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





Frozen Shoulder – Justine’s Story

Justine came to my clinic after suffering from frozen shoulder on and off for four years. She finally sought help when she was unable to put her clothes on unaided. The pain in her shoulder meant she couldn’t sleep, raise her arm or take on basic tasks. It was totally disabling. She had been told it could take up to 2 years to treat with physiotherapy.

My treatment plan for Justine consisted of acupuncture, TuiNa medical massage and cupping. Acupuncture and Tuina massage are well established for treating musculo-skeletal conditions, but cupping is definitely something that I believe makes the difference. I’ve seen it work on even the most chronic shoulder problems in my clinic.

Acupuncturists use fire cupping (the application of a glass cup that creates local suction on the skin); which mobilizes blood flow and moves lymph in order to promote healing. We use cupping most often when there is ‘stagnation’ which is experienced as sharp, biting pain, in this case around the shoulder although it is also used as a form of massage. People who have had cupping will often have round red marks on the skin which look like bruising but do not hurt. The greater the stagnation, the stronger the colour. In very serious cases the colour can turn to a very dark purple or black. But the results can be quite dramatic in reducing pain in the area.

The combination worked well and she regained full movement in her shoulder and arm, completely pain free within 6 treatments. A year later and there’s been no recurrence of symptoms.

 Read about Justine’s experience:

When I had to ask my husband for help for the third time in a week to take my jumper off over my head I knew I had to find a proper fix for my shoulder. Enough was enough!

I’d suffered from frozen shoulder pain and reduced movement, on and off for around four years. Despite trying a variety of treatments over that time, steroid injections from the GP, painkillers, visits to the physio and osteopath included, I’d never managed to find the right kind of treatment to tip me over into the ‘thawing’ phase or full recovery. Until I found Rita.

After just two visits to Rita’s calm and welcoming clinic space, I had a significant reduction in everyday pain and my mobility and range of movement were vastly improved. Using a combination of acupuncture, cupping and TuiNa deep tissue massage, Rita managed to leave me essentially symptom free within five or six treatments. The relief of not having to live with everyday pain is not to be underestimated.

Rita combines her knowledge with a relaxing, easy manner and I’ve continued to see her on a regular basis for a ‘tune-up’ and to maintain a sense of well-being. I’d heartily recommend her to anyone, and have done so to a couple of friends who are now also happy clients.

 Justine, Crouch End

Find out more about frozen shoulder and treatment options:


TuiNa – Chinese Medical Massage

What is TuiNa?

TuiNa (pronounced ‘tweenah’) is a therapeutic, Chinese medical massage that is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) which comprises of acupuncture, herbs, TuiNa and Qi Gong. There are few practitioners in the UK but it’s reputation and availability is growing.


TuiNa is a strong and dynamic form of remedial bodywork, which can have a significant therapeutic effect. Many clients say they feel energized by it and feel significant improvements within a relatively short period of time. It is more akin to osteopathy or physiotherapy in it’s purpose, although it’s referred to as a massage.

In China, it is seen as a primary therapy, comparable in effectiveness as acupuncture and herbal medicine in treating a range of health issues. When I was training at a Chinese hospital, there was a entire department dedicated to TuiNa including a gentler form for paediatric care. Unlike many hands on massage techniques, which support relaxation and help with deep tissue strain, TuiNa practitioners aim to treat more than musculo-skeletal conditions, and also look at other health issues they can resolve.

Clinical trials in China have shown that Tuina is effective for a wide range of problems of a musculo-skeletal and neurological origin, such as tension headaches, stiff neck, frozen shoulder, back pain, sciatica, RSI and arthritis. It is also helps with hypertension, asthma and many abdominal problems such as IBS, especially where tension and stress are causative factors.

Tuina medical Chinese massage

TuiNa Techniques

TuiNa practitioners use a number of different techniques: deep tissue work to release fascia, and enhance the flow of blood and lymph, pressing on specific acupuncture points and additionally joint mobilization and stretching. TuiNa does not require you to disrobe as you are treated through clothes or with a sheet over you. You may also be treated when you are seated as well as on the treatment couch depending what the issue is.

In my practice I also combine acupuncture with TuiNa because they complement each other so well. I may also use cupping (the use of glass cups to provide suction) a technique that looks awful but feels great as many of my clients (and many celebs) will attest – it isn’t at all painful!


The great thing about TCM is that it offers a variety of therapeutic tools to support wellbeing, each of them complementing each other. As a practitioner, that means I can help my client feel better, sooner.

As a client of mine said to me ‘once you’ve had TuiNa, its hard to go back to any other kind of massage’.

What I’ve been treating this month….

It’s been a busy month at my clinic in Crouch End with a run on frozen shoulders, a particularly chronic case of migraine and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) among the conditions my clients have required treatment for.

But as is often the case, people rarely have one thing they are suffering from but perhaps a range of seemingly unrelated health issues, one of which is bothering them the most. Acupuncturists are trained to diagnose the whole person, and will often find that someone’s symptoms are a reflection of a more systemic problem (in terms of Chinese medicine). So the symptom is not directly treated but the patient still recovers.

It’s also the case that acupuncturists treating say a neck problem, may needle an acu point on the ankle and on the hand rather than the area where the pain is most acute. The patient still recovers.

Chinese medicine regards emotions with equal importance to physical symptoms and certain emotions are often found alongside specific conditions. For example, IBS is a problem of the spleen, and anxiety is the emotion connected with the spleen. I’ve yet to see a case of IBS without anxiety being present in some form. When you treat the spleen and it’s partner organ, the stomach, both symptoms, anxiety and IBS, improve.

So while most of my clients will leave my clinic feeling their main complaint has been addressed; they can move their shoulder at last or they haven’t had a migraine for two weeks, they’ll also find that they’re sleeping better, that niggly cough has gone, and they have more energy. Those are the positive side effects of treating the person, not just the symptoms.