Women are luckier than men when it comes to hormones. They have obvious warning signs that hormone levels are changing. These clear warning signals start at a woman’s first period, called menarche. PMS brings on other signs that hormone levels may not be where they are supposed to be. And at the change of life, called menopause, more visible signs appear that tell the woman something is changing and may be out of balance. In many women, these warning signs continue for years throughout menopause. Men do not have these obvious ‘warning lights’ on the dashboard.
Women Have Menopause and Men Have Andropause
But men have changes in hormone levels as they age, too. A man’s change of life is called ‘andropause’. However, hormonal issues are not so obvious to the male. Some signs that testosterone may be on the decline include sexual issues, lack of sexual drive, fatigue, and fat around the middle.
There is a term called “Partial androgen deficiency of the aging male” (PADAM). It is actually very common and the reason why you’ll see a plethora of television commercials suggesting that men take testosterone to improve their life. The problem is that these hormones are not without their side effects.
Wise Chinese Medicine Practitioners Knew How To Treat Sexual Health Issues
Chinese Medicine practitioners could easily be seen as the top experts on sexual health. They have been writing on the topic for over 2000 years. In fact, the Taoists placed a tremendous emphasis on continuing a strong family lineage.
Chinese Medicine helps boost most men’s testosterone levels. But did you know there are additional beneficial side effects such as better sleep, relaxed mood and more energy? Any Chinese Medicine clinician that works in reproductive health knows this, but most lay people do not.
Study Confirms That Moxabustion and Acupuncture Raise Testosterone Levels
Here is a study found in the medical literature that looked directly at using Acupuncture and Moxabustion to boost testosterone. I love this study because in my practice, I find moxabustion treatments incredibly effective at increasing energy and warmth (or yang) to a person. Now there’s real scientific evidence to substantiate what I see on a daily basis.
In this study, researchers from Chongqing Medical University, utilized a PADAM induced rat model to explore the effects of both electro-acupuncture and moxibustion (“moxa”) at particular points. The rats were given cyclophosphamide injections for the purpose of causing a male hormone (testosterone) deficiency. Next they divided the 40 rats with the testosterone deficiency into 4 groups of 10 – those that were untreated (the control group), a group that received EA, another group that received moxa, and finally, a western medicine treatment group that received the hormones, androlin and testosterone.
Researchers treated the animals over 8 weeks with acupuncture and moxa and then analyzed what had resulted. They found that both the electro-acupuncture and the moxa groups had significantly increased serum levels of total testosterone and free testosterone. Moxibustion showed the highest results. Similar results were shown for other important hormonal markers and it was always moxibustion that consistently showed better results than electroacupuncture.
These are not surprising results to practitioners. Particularly that moxibustion brought about more strengthening changes is of little surprise. Moxibustion is most often used for tonification (i.e. strengthening) of deficiencies in the body. In fact, it needs to be used sparingly if at all on more excess conditions. For example, if a person has digestive problems from weakness, the condition may improve with moxibustion at CV 12 and ST 36 for instance, but it could potentially worsen digestive problems where they is heat such as inflammatory bowel diseases. The bottom line is that even though we understand these mechanisms from a Chinese Medicine theory perspective, it does help to see it play out in research studies.
The researchers concluded that both electroacupuncture and moxibustion “appear to be effective treatments for PADAM”.
You Don’t Have to Lose Vitality as you Age
This should be good news for men who are struggling with a wide range of moderate to severe issues that they often think are just “part of getting older”. While we do age, and our strength and vitality will change but this process of diminishing strength and vitality can be slowed within reason.
In fact, large parts of Chinese Medicine were largely established to enable sensible uses of medicine and lifestyle/diet change to foster less illness and longer life spans with stronger vitality. The value of Chinese medicine is largely in preserving health and limiting illness Men’s health issues should be addressed at the root with acupuncture, herbs, nutrition and lifestyle rather than just giving a pill or cream to increase testosterone as there are many added benefits from doing the latter.
Ren Y1, Yang X1, Zhang Y2, Wang Y1, Li X1. Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture and moxibustion on reproductive endocrine function in male rats with partial androgen deficiency. Acupunct Med. 2015 Oct 27. PMID: 26508663. [PubMed] [Read by QxMD]