Living in Shanghai is a real challenge: men have to perform outstandingly well at the office, work for long hours handling business across different time zones, be constantly reachable on their smart phones yet still spend time with their families, and try to enjoy the little free time there is left – whilst still getting sufficient sleep. This lifestyle, when combined with a lack of physical exercise and hasty or heavy business meals, can seriously affect men’s health. Even though their wives often address these problems, perhaps dragging their husbands to see a doctor, more and more men feel concerned about their physical condition and are taking responsibility for their health and wellbeing.
Men are particularly subject to suffer from high blood pressure, insomnia, stress, anxiety, headache, migraine, tinnitus and digestive disorders. Thanks to an integrative approach combining acupuncture, herbal medicine and advices on diet and lifestyle, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help to free the body from all of these syndromes and restore balance for a healthier life In the TCM philosophy, the universe is made up of five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. They are reflected in the body’s five organ systems: liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidneys. These organ systems are also connected in a dynamic interaction and work together thanks to the right flow of Qi (energy) and Xue (blood).
TCM sees the body as a whole entity: if one imbalance occurs because of an improper flow of Qi or Xue, the entire body will be in disharmony, since an imbalance in one organ system can ultimately lead to another imbalance, in another organ system. This is why the TCM approach aims at healing the whole body, rather than just fixing one organ in particular.
According to the TCM beliefs, the vital essence is stored in the kidney. The kidneys are thus responsible for the impulse of energy into the whole body, as well as for growth, development, and the aging processes. Most men experience a change around about midlife and notice a slowing down in metabolism due to the exhaustion of the kidneys. This natural aging process, coupled with latent emotions (anger, anxiety, fear) and an imbalanced diet (quick lunches, too much alcohol and red meat) can often result in symptoms such as stress, insomnia, digestive disorders, hearing disorders, and low energy. Indeed, as explained earlier, the organ systems work together to ensure a smooth functioning of the human body and control each other. When the vital essence in the kidneys begins to decline, all the other organ systems are affected as well. On top of being imbalanced internally, the body is under the influence of the universe as well: external factors such as stress and lack of sleep worsen the disharmony and cause the body to stop working properly.
The TCM doctor will diagnose the patient to identify the cause of the disharmony causing pain and exhaustion in order to restore balance. Often, the treatment plan will involve strengthening the kidneys (to preserve the kidney essence) and to sooth the liver, which is associated with emotions like anger and stress. The TCM doctor will use a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicines such as Bai Shu (白术) or Du Zhong (杜仲) which enable the Qi to move freely, thereby replenishing energy and reducing stress, headaches, and insomnia, whilst restoring smooth digestion.
The patient will have to complement this treatment by making healthier choices when picking food items and favor those which help the spleen and calm the liver, such as green vegetables, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, lentils, brown rice, small amounts of beef and chicken, cherries, and apricots. The consumption of animal fat and alcohol also has to be lowered, to put the liver at rest.
Choosing the help of TCM is a natural way to restore wellbeing and harmony in the body. It is not a matter of recapturing the vitality of youth, but of finding a way to feel good both physically and mentally and to learn how to peacefully cope with today’s lifestyle. The TCM approach helps men to deal with the pressure of work and to release stress symptoms so that they can fully enjoy their leisure time with their family and friends.