When we talk about men’s health—about ways men can build strength and maintain their power as they age—there are two basic directions: short-term gains at the expense of the body or true long-term wellness. Chinese medicine focuses on healing for the long term. It understands health in terms of Qi, or energetic life force. Its goal is to build real health from the inside-out.
Chinese medicine is based on Universal law. It follows a deep understanding of how the function of the human energy system impacts the health of the whole person—body, mind, emotions and spirit. It also sees that the body is deeply impacted by the environment. This model of health was true in ancient times and still functions effectively today.
The Power of Qi
Modern physics has shown that everything is energy and everything is interconnected. Chinese medicine has worked with this understanding for millennia. Qi gives life to everything in our Universe, from the planets and our natural world to the functioning of our bodies. If a person has enough Qi flowing freely throughout the body, and the organs work in harmony, disease cannot enter. This means the quality of a person’s health is related to the amount and quality of his or her Qi.
Modern men have a number of health issues, from stress to insomnia and memory loss, from back problems and sport injuries to urinary and sexual function problems. These health problems stem from the same source, an energy imbalance.
Energetic Function of the Kidneys
Chinese medicine follows the principle that male energy moves in eight-year cycles. Around age 8, permanent teeth grow in. At age 16, boys mature into men and have reached the highest energy level they will have in their life. Why? It relates to Kidney energy, which naturally declines as we age. So when we look at men’s health issues, particularly when it comes to aging, we always look at Kidney function. Without this organ in good shape energy-wise, it’s impossible for men to be strong and have good health.
The Kidney’s main function is to store energy and supply power for your whole body. It’s one of your body’s two major sources of Qi. (The other is energy received from the process of digesting food.) This kind of energy is inherited from your parents. All of your genetic power is stored in the Kidney. After you are born, this energy is used for growth throughout your body. So all growth—including sexual development, hormones, and the ability to reproduce—is related to Kidney Qi. In addition, bones, teeth, knees and head hair are strong indicators of the amount and quality of Kidney Qi in anyone, at any age.
Modern Health Issues
Imbalanced Kidney function is the root of many symptoms that modern men experience. This is generally true for sleep problems like insomnia. There is a strong connection between Kidney function and the brain and mental function. In order for your thinking to be sharp and your memory strong, you need healthy Kidney function.
As men age, they often experience back and neck problems, knee problems, muscular tension and sport injuries. These are all related to Kidney function disorders, and again, the connection is made at the energy level.
Today in the West, many men begin to have urinary problems during middle age. Urinating frequently and during the night are common health complaints. Also, fear, the emotion related to the Kidney, can cause a Kidney function disorder, which can then show up as a urinary problem.
Prostate and sexual function problems also tend to appear with age. Men suffering with an enlarged prostate are often told to have more sex. However, doctors of Chinese medicine will say to have less sex. Why the different approach? When you have prostate issues, having sex relieves the pressure the enlarged prostate puts on the Bladder area. But this relief lasts only a short time. Chinese medicine looks to the root of the issue to create a long-term solution. Prostate problems are caused by low Kidney function. Since sex uses up Kidney energy, the problem will only worsen over time. In order to reverse prostate or sexual problems, you must increase Kidney energy. In fact, you have to increase Kidney energy to fix a majority of the problems noted here.
PART 2 of this men’s health mini-series can be accessed here.