Fall is a wonderful time of year. The leaves change from green to gold to burnt red and auburn shades – similar to the quadrants of a well-composed piece of music. But unlike the end of a song, life continues on and on, akin to a gradient circle of color. Fall is the time between the extremely heated and passionate summer and the frigid, icy, colorless winter. Just like its cousin, Spring, Fall is a time of transition. Cool mornings give way to warm afternoons, followed by chilly evening breezes. The clouds at sunset hang lower in the sky as the earth bends to reposition itself against the sun.
This is the time of year to embrace change. We change our clothes in the closet, we adapt to the receding sunlight and shortening of the days. We exchange our sandals and sunhats for closed shoes and berets. We begin to crave a bowl of hot soup and a good glass of red wine. We pursue indoor activities more and more.
Fall is the perfect time to plan for the reawakening colors and excitement of upcoming holiday festivities. So during the next few months, while you are enjoying the changing colors of the leaves and sky, think about change in general. Change in terms of better health, less anxiety and stress, a new career, a better relationship with your friends, co-workers and loved ones…whatever it is that you can change in your life to make it better -try to make it happen. Practice those changes in baby steps over the next several months. By the time the warmer weather returns, you might be very surprised how just small adaptations and changes can make such huge differences in your life and the lives of everyone else around you.
Fall is also the time when many are fooled by the Indian summer-like afternoons and forget to take along a sweater, scarf or jacket when they leave home in the morning. This is the beginning of cold and flu season. Take care of yourselves and take the time to remember various layers of clothing. Keep the back of your neck and throat covered; protected from the winds. The wind, in Traditional Chinese Medicine is considered to be the cause of 1,000 evils (diseases). And I couldn’t possibly sign off without advising you to schedule an appointment with me for a ‘fall tune-up’ to boost your immune system, treat the seasonal hayfever, and ensure you can romp and play thru all those great piles of leaves in good health!
My office is on the corner of Wall St and Broad St…I look at the NYSE out my office window. Outside the building, tourists wander and gape at the various sites and listen to the history of the neighborhood in a multitude of languages. There’s the old guy sitting on the curb still trying to playing the Star Spangled Banner after all these years on the flute (someone please give him some music lessons) and the old Chinese man playing a stringed instrument that sounds something akin to a cat being tortured…the usual everyday circus show down here. A few blocks away, the annual ceremony to commemorate 9.11. Today is the 13th anniversary of a singular event that rocked so many lives. Interestingly enough, in other parts of the world, having bombs exploded in your village or town and losing your loved ones and friends happens on a continual basis – a state of being. In a lab uptown, eggs are being artificially fertilized in a petri dish. If more than 2 are fertilized, it is deemed a failure and only 2 are allowed to live and be inseminated (health insurance sanctioned). Across town, protestors are shouting outside an abortion clinic, trying to prevent women from entering the establishment (cash, checks, most major credit cards only here). Pistorius is found not guilty, ISIS is on the move, my god is better than your god, and the world goes round and round and round.
It’s 2014. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. Today, all of us should look in the mirror at ourselves, say nothing, and just reflect on our own daily double standards, stop relying on everyone’s god to fix or forgive everyone’s madness and realize it all begins with each and every one of us ALL. TODAY. AND NOW.
|Laser and Needle-less Probe Treatments Available|
|Don’t deny yourself top medical treatment because you are needlephobic. My clinic offers needle-less low level laser and acuprobe treatments that can be just as effective as a traditional treatment. Low level laser covers both broad-based areas and minute points while acuprobes are metal balls (like ball point pens that give off a slight electrical charge) that are placed strategically on acupuncture points. These are the modalities of treatment used for facial rejuventation and for the treatment of many cancer patients and those of delicate constitution because of their gentle nature. I utilize these tools to treat my patients who are needlephobic. The results remain outstanding. So, if it’s the idea of needles that prevents you from coming into the office, here’s the option for you. Call or email for an appointment today. 917-701-7582917-701-7582 email@example.com|
Every day, we hear so many stories of people who get cancer or some other terminal illness and before you know it – they’re dead. The little time they had between diagnosis and death was full of tests, chemo, surgeries, hospitals, and sickness. Have you ever taken a few minutes to contemplate whether or not they ever lived their dreams? Did they ever take that trip? Climb that mountain? Made crazy wild love on a beach at sunrise? Swam with dolphins? Built their dream house?
The Bucket List. Do you have one? How many times have you said “I’ve always wanted to…..”, but you’ve never done it or said it? What are you waiting for? The retirement that may or may not ever come? The day when you may or may not ever have enough money? If and when those days come, you might not be young enough or healthy enough to enjoy the “always wanted tos….”. That’s IF you’ve even made a list.
Today, I’m giving you all an assignment. Take out a piece of paper or your handheld device. The list is going to be called “I’ve always wanted to….”. Start with #1 and don’t stop. When you’ve run out of all the things you’ve always wanted to do or say, take a look at that list and select an item and plan to execute that item. It may take you an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year – but make a plan to start DOING!!!!! When you make a plan, you will find a way to make your bucket list items happen.
Life is short. Don’t let the Living Train run past you. Hop on today….get busy with that bucket list. Every time you get to check off an item on your list, you’ll be making plans for the next adventure. When you take your final breaths on this planet, at least you will be able to say you lived your dreams.
Share what’s on your bucket list with us. It’s always so much fun to know what dreams we all have – they inspire, they invigorate and encourage others who might not have the oomph to get on the Living Train. I’ll start the share:
See the great temples of Angkor Wat
Ride on an elephant through the jungles
Swim with dolphins
Ride my motorcycle while experiencing a great Montana sky
Playing with a panda
What’s on your list?
Living with Lyme’s Disease is no picnic. Once bitten, life changes – and not in a very nice way. For some people, their journey isn’t so bad if they are lucky enough to be diagnosed with a positive test result and treated immediately with a course of antibiotics. Most bite victims go undiagnosed. Various forms of testing can come up as negatives and a person may never test positive for Lyme’s Disease, yet suffer from the disease. Lyme’s Disease is a sneaky, evil, vile scourge of the earth. One bite will attack its victim where it is its weakest. For example, a patient who has had viral meningitis many years prior can present with the same symptoms as a result of Lyme’s. Persons who are susceptible to cardiac pathologies can experience those symptoms. Past orthopedic injuries can erupt as severe arthritic conditions, that can become crippling. I have been treating patients in my clinic for the symptoms of Lyme’s for 10 years now and recently, I have had several patients who have been rebitten and been reinfected, and patients who have come to me stating that they have never been the same since they were diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease (whether it be one year ago or 20 years ago)…some cannot play the piano anymore, some cannot dance, others suffer in many different ways. One common denominator I have discovered when speaking with my patients was the ‘lack of strategy’ to fight the war against Lyme’s Disease…and WAR it is….it’s not a battle. Lyme’s is a long, drawn out war between your body – the host – and an evil bacteria. So, here’s my advice to all of you who have/had Lyme’s Disease and are living the war:
HOW TO LIVE WITH LYME’S DISEASE:
Lao Tzu, the great general said this in his treatise, The Art of War, “Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer”. This is your strategy for living with Lyme’s Disease. Lyme’s is a formidable enemy – like a concrete wall. The more you try to force your way through the wall, the more you will only batter yourself. Remember, you are the host for the enemy, and the enemy wants to wear you down – weaken your immune system so it can take over all your good cells and try to kill you. So, your strategy is to keep your immune system as strong as you can. Don’t go after the enemy yourself; that’s what the antibiotics are for, so let them do their job. Your job is to step back and keep your body (your troops) fed well, rested well and calm, so when the enemy does try to take over, your immune system (your troops) will be able to quicken your blood and antibodies and outsmart Lyme’s!
So, Here’s What You Do To Win The War:
Rest, Rest and More Rest! If you are living with Lyme’s, you’ve most likely never been so exhausted in your entire life, so don’t be a hero! When you feel tired, lie down and rest. Sleep more – it’s ok. Remember, you are very sick, so acknowledge that fact and if anyone doesn’t like it, too bad for them. It’s your health and your life…you’re number one, no one else!
Stop The Stress! Stress is a killer on a normal day for the immune system. Right now, your immune system is compromised, just like a cancer patient, an m.s. patient or any other very ill person. Try to stay out of stressful situations. If someone is giving you grief, pleasantly tell them you are not well and this is not the time to share with you. They need to fight their own battles right now…you’ve got a war to wage on your own.
Light Exercise….I Suggest Swimming or Yoga Swimming is a wonderful exercise for joint or muscle pain. It is low impact and the water will truly make you feel better…I kid you not folks, it’s the best exercise for you. Second on the list is GENTLE yoga…NOT hot yoga, NOT power yoga…remember, you are trying to BOOST and ENHANCE your immune system, not knock it down. So, no excuses and no laziness. Do whatever it takes…life is short and so far, we only know we have one life, so make it a healthy one.
DIET….This is Important! Here’s where you can make the difference between moving your joints painlessly or not. Here’s a list of foods to avoid. These foods are known to trigger arthritis pain. Anyone with RA or gout will tell you that these foods are on the ‘no-no’ list to eat. They build up heat and uric acid in the joints and this is what causes your fingers, knees hips and vertebrae to lock up. If you just can’t part with some of these foods, just eat a LITTLE bit. Above all, drink plenty of water! Water flushes out toxins that build up in the body. Fish high in Omega-3s are good to eat. Berries are great antioxidants, dark leafy green veggies, squashes and beans are good for you as well. Almond milk is a good alternative to dairy milk.
Avoid These Foods
1. Dairy products
3. Red Meats in Volume
4. Wheat, oats, rye
6. Citrus fruits
7. Potatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes
Take a probiotic every day while taking the antibiotics. This will save the good bacteria in your intestinal tract and stave off lots of diarrhea.
TAKING ANTIBIOTICS Here’s a tip….since you either take the doxycycline 1 hour before meals or 2 hours after a meal, I suggest you take this strategy: Have your probiotic with breakfast. Eat a good lunch packed with protein. Take the antibiotic 2 hours after lunch (this way, you won’t become nauseous). Then, take your second dose of antibiotic 2 hours after a good dinner.
ACUPUNCTURE AND HERBAL TREATMENTS Acupuncture and Herbal Treatments WEEKLY – NOT SPORATICALLY – will help you tremendously with the symptoms of Lyme’s Disease. People ask me what herbal formula to use when one gets Lyme’s. The answer is this: the formula changes weekly as the symptoms change. Anyone who tells you differently doesn’t know what they are talking about….period. Weekly treatments will help with fatigue, dry mouth, night sweats (ladies who are on estrogen replacement will know that the doxycycline reduce the efficacy of the HRT), joint pain and other symptoms.
There’s more I could tell you about living with Lyme’s, but that’s all for today. If you have Lyme’s or have been living with the effects of this nasty bugger, you don’t have to suffer so much. Together, we can develop a stratagem that can help you live your life much more fully. Call or email my office for an appointment. Share this blog information today and help someone else who might not have a strategy!
Each time I stand on my yoga mat, I think of my first yoga instructor. Everything I know about yoga and have taught to many students of my own during the past 15 years or so I attribute to this woman. Her teaching style was one of patience, humor, grace and an eye for technique that no other instructor I’ve trained with has ever come close to in expertise. Today, as I entered the yoga studio, I heard we were to have a substitute instructor. I searched the room to see who our guide would be for the day’s class. WOW! Our eyes met, our smiles grew wide together and we greeted one another with a big hug and kiss, but it was like we saw each other just last week – never mind 10 years had gone by. I said ‘not a day goes by on the mat that I do not think of you and all you taught me and how I try so hard to pass those gifts on to my patients’. The class was like old times; like an old favorite blanket that keeps you cozy and warm. I thought for a few moments during the session if the other students in the room knew what a talented and gifted teacher they had in their midst and what a precious gift they had been given for an hour of their lives…a most very special human being. After the class (life being what it is), I had to hurry and say a quick goodbye. We said we will try to ‘do coffee’, ‘make a class’, and all other polite ways of saying ‘maybe’….but truly, it didn’t really matter to either of us. We both had a nice surprise; a slice of sunshine; a bright smile. Two souls that believe in karma, souls’ interactions, and the eternity of living, so what does it matter if we see each other next week, or next millennium? I’ll see you when I see you…but what a pleasant surprise to see you nonetheless!
Life is full of surprises, but the nice surprises – oh they make it all so worth the while!
There is a very good reason why some of New York’s finest neurologists and headache specialists send their toughest cases to my clinic for relief of their migraine headaches…I get results. Period. The root cause of a migraine can range from hormonal imbalance to nutritional insufficiency or any other pathology. Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the ENTIRE body, not just one section, so when a patient presents with a history of migraine headaches, an interrogation of all body systems ensues to arrive at the root cause of the pathology, followed by a treatment plan that will not only resolve the headache immediately (should the patient be experiencing a migraine while at the clinic), but prevent the headaches from returning on a permanent basis. If you or someone you know suffers from migraines, here’s the number to call to show those headaches who’s the boss!
If you had a high priced performance car – say a Maserati – would you skimp on oil changes? Would you use cheap gasoline? I highly doubt it. You would take mighty good care of that car so that it would drive as a high performance car should.
Your body is the most amazing high performance organic machine on earth, so when it comes down to our bodies, why skimp on the maintenance? Food is fuel for proper homeostasis. High grade fuel put into our mouths yields high levels of energetic output. This is simple: eat junk food, sugary drinks, and foods with empty calories and you are basically putting sugar into your gas line. Eventually the engine will seize and all systems will fail (can we say diabetes?). A diet that contains a good balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and fiber will yield a super level of energetic output; just ask any Ironman/woman what they eat on a regular basis to compete in long distance endurance competitions. You’d be surprised with the variety of foods they feed their bodies for high performance.
Checking tire pressure is also of major importance for optimal performance…checking your blood pressure on a regular basis is very important for good health. Regular acupuncture sessions can help stabilize and maintain a healthy blood pressure level. Small modifications to lifestyle and diet added to your maintenance plan can help eliminate excess fat, improve circulation and help with overall mood and attitude (sugar/carb highs and lows have been found to result in drastic mood swings in the general population).
Countering ‘Yang’ exercises (Crossfit, running, tennis, et al) with ‘Yin’ exercises (yoga, pilates, stretching, et al) creates muscle tone and balance. This Yin/Yang technique of exercise ensures that oxygen, new red blood cells, hormones and neurotransmitters are bathing your muscles, ligaments and tendons to counteract the Yang activities you love to engage in so often.
If you reading this and thinking “Gee, I’m not doing all of the above”, then you might just be close to running on empty. You need an overall plan, so you do not injure yourself or wear yourself down and become ill because you’ve not had proper nutrition, or put together a well-rounded exercise routine for your own performance machine.
Call or email the office and enroll yourself in the 12 week Wellness Program. An analysis of your lifestyle will reveal where changes can be made to tweak your body into becoming a Maserati.
Summer’s early crops are already at the local farmer’s markets all over the North East and in my own garden. This past week, the squash, peppers, eggplant, herbs and edible blossoms were abundant in my own little garden. Meandering over to the local organic famer’s market there were lettuces, beets, tomatoes, radishes, eggs, cheeses, honey, fresh chickens and pork just for starters. Going home this past Sunday with all my goodies made for a week of wonderful lunches and dinners. Farm to table…you just can’t beat the flavor, freshness and nutritional value to something that’s been just been picked ripe off the plant or just laid or made or prepped from the farm.
I am lucky enough to have my own wonderful garden chock full of lovely vegetables, but I support my local farmer’s market (The Rock Hill Farmer’s Market) because what I don’t raise or grow, they do it for me. My business also supports local small farmers which supports the community. If you have a local farmer’s market in your area, explore what it has to offer for your dining ideas. Not only will you experience fresh, nutritious and yummy food choices, you will also be supporting the ‘little guy’ who has his or her hands literally in the dirt, with love, so that you and I can enjoy REAL FOOD.
So, what was on my plate this week? Zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, basil, flat parsley and lemon – fried in fresh buffalo butter…served with my own julienned zucchini, eggplant, chive and dinosaur kale sautéed in olive oil and a bit of garlic. Goat cheese angoletti over all this with a sprig of curly parsley and romano cheese. That was just one of many farm to table dishes in my home this week. The satisfaction of taking all these wonderful items from my garden back to Manhattan and serving them up with a good rose’ wine….well, you just can’t beat it.
Andropause: Male Menopause The Facts Every Man and Woman Should Know
The bulk of my patient population are men. Young, old, and older. Men’s health is one of my areas of concentration. I very often treat men for subfertility and other sex-specific pathologies, but quite often, men are unaware that they are experiencing the symptoms of andropause and neither do their significant others. Part of my job is to educate my clientele about this stage of life and treat them for the symptoms so that they can have a full and fabulous life, instead of a ‘midlife crisis’ filled with low libido, depression, loss of muscle mass and loss of ‘self’. Male menopause, or andropause, is a word that if you ask 100 educated people what it means, most will tell you they just don’t know. So many men suffer silently from this imbalance. As a result, their lives become unnecessarily difficult, as well as the lives of their loved ones and co-workers who interact with them every day. This is a real shame.
What is Andropause?
Andropause is a phenomenon similar to the female menopause, and is prevalent in men between the ages of 40 and 55 (although there have been diagnosed cases of andropause as early as 35 years of age). Quite often, andropause goes undiagnosed because men do not have a cessation of menses or other signs and symptoms that women experience while going through menopause. When andropause occurs, there is a distinct decline in the levels of the male hormone, testosterone. Changes in the level of testosterone can manifest as disruptions in energy, attitudes and moods, libido, and physical agility.
The decreased levels of testosterone can also play a role in the increased risk of heart disease and bone density. At the same time, during the ages of 40 to 55, men usually question their own self worth and meaning of their lives; this can lead to a false state of depression that can be driven by imbalance of hormones. There are many cases where men are given anti depressant pharmaceutical drugs because they have been grossly misdiagnosed as purely psychologically depressed without having had a blood test taken to determine abnormal hormonal levels.
Andropause: It Doesn’t Happen Overnight Andropause can actually occur over a period of several decades. It can be slow and insidious. Just like women, lifestyle plays a great role in how a male will fare in the aging process. Obesity, stress, overuse of alcohol and prescription drugs, prior physical injuries and/or surgeries; these can all be contributing factors when it comes to the andropausal stage. Every man will experience andropause in a different manner than the fellow he sits next to.
Women Get All The Hype This is true. We’ve been hearing nothing but the word menopause for years. But….did you know that the word ‘andropause’ was written and discussed in medical books dating back to the 1940’s? Wow!!! I’ll bet your father never talked about it! The difference is this: men are now living longer and have more leisurely time. Men are paying more attention to their health and well being. Medical testing for hormonal imbalances haven’t really been spotlighted on men’s health until quite recently and the biotechnology just wasn’t sensitive enough to test and diagnose andropause until a very short time ago. Oh yes….we forgot one more thing here…..traditionally, men never discussed feelings and sensitive medical conditions with each other, and for the most part – they still don’t! Men suffer silently more so than women because unlike women, men have not been encouraged to prepare for andropause by making certain lifestyle changes. Women have been all over this one for years.
Here’s the Skinny on Andropause Testosterone levels drop approximately 10 percent every ten years beginning around the age of 30. Coincidentally, the level of Sex Binding Hormone Globulin, or SHBG increases. SHBG imprisons any available testosterone it can find and this prevents testosterone from going to various tissues of the body and doing its job. That leaves only a very small amount of testosterone (bio available) to try to a very big job. This is what causes the symptoms of andropause and the decreased levels of testosterone can put a man at a higher risk of health related conditions, because this hormone is vital to the health of a male.
So What Exactly Does Testosterone Do? Testosterone affects the male as a whole entity. Testosterone is produced in the testes and in the adrenal glands (the ‘caps’ over the kidneys). Testosterone is to males what estrogen is to females. Just as females require estrogen to be female (breast development, the menses, ovulation), men need testosterone to be a male (normal sexual behavior, body hair, erections). It is also quite necessary for the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow and bone health, the metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates, good prostate health and healthy liver function. Conversely, when the levels of testosterone drop, and the body’s health is left only to the bio available testosterone, the results can be any of the following:
- Low sex drive and fatigue
- Emotional and psychological changes, mood swings
- Loss of muscle strength and mass, back pain, and osteoporosis
- Increased upper and central body fat
- Cardiovascular risk
Andropause & Osteoporosis Now here’s some news! Between the ages of 40 and 70 years, just like women – male bone density can decline by as much as 15%. One in eight men over age 50 have osteoporosis. Incidence of hip fractures also increases at the same ratio as women. Before you run out for some added testosterone, better know before you go:
Hormone Replacement Therapy You are at a high risk and looking for trouble by taking HRT (hormone replacement therapy) if you have any of the following:
- Male breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Liver, heart or other blood vessel disease
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Allergies to androgens or anabolic steroids
- Plan to have children (HRT could cause infertility)
- A prescription for anticoagulants (blood thinners).
Advantages of HRT: It is possible in some cases that the following can occur over time while taking HRT:
- Fewer mood swings, increased sense of self
- Increase of energy and sex drive, decrease of insomnia
- Decrease in amassed fat and increase in lean muscle (exercise and diet helps here)
- The possible, but not proven decreased risk of coronary diseases.
Male Sexuality And Traditional Chinese Medical Tradition Male longevity has been a main concern for the Chinese for thousands of years. In ancient China, an old man would have a prepubescent boy or girl (they had to be virgins, of course!) lie on top of them and breathe into the old man’s nostrils. The rationale was that the breath of youth blown into a man would make him live longer and keep him young. The practice of holding back an ejaculation was quite a common practice in China. It was believed that the vital essence of the man (the semen) would be lost if ejaculated. Better to not ejaculate and ‘recycle’ the Essence or ‘Jing’ in the quest for immortality and eternal youth. The Chinese male practiced many rituals to maintain youth, beauty and longevity.
Prostate Health and the Kidneys The ancient Chinese Emperors viewed sexual dysfunction as a very important limb of health and longevity. Impotence (Yang Wei) means flaccidity in Chinese. Impotence is the inability to attain erection or the ability to attain only partial erection. There are many different causes – most common are overindulgence in sexual activity and emotional distress.
Urinary Dysfunction Men’s supply of Jing depletes as they grow older (just as the testosterone levels decrease over time). When a man typically arrives at the age of 40, the Kidney Qi begins to wax and wane with the Jing. It is this time of life when men experience their own kind of Men-opause. There is no single physiological change, but many imbalances can be experienced, because estrogen begins to be the dominant hormone in the body.
There are Three Treasures in Traditional Chinese Medicine: Jing (Essence), Qi (the ‘Life Force’), and Shen (the Spirit). The natural progression of living and aging manifest from the Jing concept. The Jing can be considered the ‘engine room’ of the body – the ‘nectar’ or ‘juice’ that contains all the necessary ingredients needed to create new life and maintain life. Jing is distinctly connected with sperm in men; hence its importance and the paramount role of the Kidneys in Men’s Health.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys are the root of Pre-Heaven Qi. They are responsible for storing the Jing – hence, the Kidney is the organ that, energetically is looked at as the culprit for most sexually-related disorders and age-related disharmonies. The ancient Chinese did not identify with a prostate gland. BPH was thus put into various categories related to urination. The symptoms were treated as Kidney deficiencies quite successfully, and the same diagnostic and therapeutic procedures are used today in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The Root of Pre-Heaven Qi: The Kidneys The Kidneys are the root of all the remaining organs of the body. Kidney Yang energy is the cornerstone for the Yang energy of the Lungs and the Spleen. Conversely, Kidney Yin is the cornerstone for the Yin energy of the Liver and Heart. The Kidney is closely connected with urinary function and dysfunction. Therefore, as a man ages, he may experience urinary incontinence as well as premature ejaculation. By strengthening the Kidneys’ function of controlling the opening and closing of these orifices through acupuncture and herbal formulas, frequent dribbling, urination or incontinence can be treated effectively.
Sexual Dysfunction As men age, their prostate gland sometimes enlarges. This is commonly known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). As the prostate enlarges, the layer of tissue surrounding it prevents it from expanding. This causes the gland to press against the urethra. Symptoms commonly seen with BPH are: hesitant and uninterrupted weak stream of urine, urgency or leaking or dribbling, frequent nocturnal urination. If left untreated, these conditions could lead to prostate cancer, urine retention, kidney or bladder damage, bladder stones and incontinence. Male Infertility can occur if the quality of the sperm is poor or there is a decreased quantity. Although sperm is ‘fresh brewed’ throughout the life of a man, the quality and quantity decrease over time. The ancient Chinese believed that the Kidneys played a very important role in the production and quality of semen – but not in all cases. Lifestyle plays a huge role on the Stage of Infertility. Overwork, excessive exercise, excessive sexual practices, stress, poor diet, excessive alcohol and drugs – these are many factors that contribute to the depletion of the Jing and the wearing down and creation of both Kidney Yin and Yang.
Deficiencies of the Kidneys – The Yin and Yang of It All other organs in the body co-exist and depend on the balance of the Kidney Yin and Yang for total well-being and health. If there is a deficiency of Kidney Yin, the Yang fire will dominate and the communication between the Heart and Kidneys will be affected. The Heart is the Master of the Shen. When there is too much heat, the Heart will react – bad temperament, insomnia, palpitations – will all arise from this disharmony. This leads to irritability and fatigue from lack of sleep. Left untreated, there will manifest a depletion of Kidney Yang energy and conversely, erectile dysfunction. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of the Qi in the body. The Liver also rules the tendons and sinews. Hence, when there is a deficiency of Kidney Yin to nourish and moisten the Qi and Blood, the Liver will be deprived of the Kidney Essence needed to direct the flow of Qi. There will be stiffness of motion, and tightness of body. The Spleen rules the muscles. When there is a deficiency of the Kidneys, the Spleen is deprived of nourishment. This is why there occurs flaccidity of muscle tone. When a male patient presents with the signs and symptoms we have already described as possible andropause, the first question I ask is, ‘have you seen your primary healthcare provider?”, because I want to see results of a complete physical: testosterone levels, thyroid levels, serotonin, blood counts. Further investigation and questioning of the patient will reveal lifestyle and other physiological and psychological clues to what ails this individual. Typically, there arises a pattern or combination of patterns. For example, Spleen Qi Deficiency (which can be responsible for fatigue), combined with a Deficiency of Heart Qi can lead to depression-like symptoms. Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency can manifest as insomnia, blurred vision, dry eyes, sudden outbursts of anger, and nocturnal emissions to name a few.
Kidney Energetics and The Body The Kidneys can be further broken down into the Kidney Yin and the Kidney Yang. Both exist energetically, in symmetry, in harmonious balance. When this balance of Yin (Earth, Rest)/Yang (Sun, Activity) energy is disrupted, there will occur discomfort and dis-ease. Therefore, the ancient Chinese expression Man is what is between Heaven and Earth. Yang is responsible for giving life and Yin is responsible for its growth. Fire of the Gate of Vitality (the Ming Men) is born of the Kidneys according to Chinese philosophy. Water, which cools down the Fire and moistens the body’s organs and tissues originates from the Kidneys as well….hence, Kidney Yang (Fire) and Kidney Yin (Water).
Diagnosis and Treatment of Andropause with Traditional Chinese Medicine:
The key to successful treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine is to discover and treat the root cause of the dis-ease; not merely address the secondary pattern symptoms (known as the limbs). Once the root of the problem is treated, usually all other secondary complaints subside. The combination of Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas may successfully treat a large percentage of these types of cases.
Case Study: A 44 year old male presents with a chief complaint of fatigue, feeling of depression and no sex drive. There is no history of mental illnesses or mental trauma. The patient was prescribed Wellbutrin by his general medical practitioner having been given a diagnosis of depression. When I asked this patient for a copy of his lab results, the answer was ‘no tests were taken’. I strongly advised this patient to telephone his primary care physician and insist on blood work to rule out a chemical imbalance. The patient telephoned from my office and an appointment was set for blood work. The primary care physician then determined that the patient should not commence taking the Wellbutrin until test results could be evaluated. Further inquiry into the patient’s lifesty
le and past medical history revealed a daily cycle of long stressful hours of work, poor diet that consisted primarily of carbohydrates and dairy, little or no exercise, and a decline in the verbal and sexual communication with his wife. Further questioning revealed that this patient also experienced low back pain, nocturnal urination 2 or 3 times per evening, grey ‘fuzzy’ patches in front of his eyes, and low sex drive because he is ‘afraid he won’t be able to perform’. The patient prefers warm to cold and quite often, his legs and knees feel weak, so he’d rather lie down than go to the gym. Further questioning and palpation of the pulses and tongue diagnosis lead to a pattern of Kidney Yang Deficiency. The patient was given acupuncture and a Chinese herbal pill prescription to take three times per day, every day for a week. The patient is asked to check in after 3 or 4 days to report any changes. The patient telephoned after 4 days to report he was feeling much more energetic, his sleep was better (because he was only waking up once per night to urinate), and his back and knees were not bothering him as much. I prescribed a treatment plan of one visit per week for 4 weeks. During this time, the prescription was adjusted weekly. The patient began to modify his diet and hired a personal trainer. The diagnostic tests confirmed a lower than normal level of testosterone, but the patient decided to continue trying Traditional Chinese Medicine for a few months since he was feeling a bit better, rather than opt for HRT. After two months, the patient began jogging, swimming, and using a recumbent bicycle. His mood was positive and his sex drive began to ‘come back’. Four months into weekly treatments, this patient is now training for an Olympic distance triathlon, has hired an assistant to take some hours off his work week, and is taking a week’s holiday with his wife, who is now also my patient.
In Summary: If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve just covered, first have a complete physical and have hormone levels tested. Make an appointment to see me and bring those test results with you to your appointment. We will discuss a proper treatment protocol during your first treatment. Whether you select HRT or Traditional Chinese Medicine or a combination of both modalities for your treatment protocol, remember that together, we will work as a team so you reach your optimal health. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a safe, all-natural and effective method on your road to wellness!
If you have questions about andropause and how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you or a loved one, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be most happy to answer your questions and guide you to a path of action.