Traditional Chinese medicine follows a deep understanding of how the energy system impacts the health of the whole person—body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Its goal is to build real, lasting health from the inside-out.
The Power of Qi
The quality of a man’s health is related to the amount and quality of his Qi.
As men age, they often experience back, neck, and knee issues, as well as insomnia, muscular tension, memory loss, and sport injuries. Many middle-aged men also experience prostate, urinary, and sexual function problems. Energetically speaking, these symptoms are all related to Kidney function.
The Kidney stores all of the Qi you inherit at birth. After you’re born, your body uses this inherited Qi for growth. All growth, including teeth, bones, sexual development, hormones, and the ability to reproduce are related to the quality and quantity of your Kidney Qi. When other organs are overtaxed and need energetic support, the Kidney sends them backup energy. When the Kidney itself runs low on Qi, it cannot fully support the other organs. This means they are not able to function at their optimal level. That’s when aches, pains, and other symptoms begin to appear.
The Kidney and Bladder are partner organs. Together, these organs provide support to the Heart and play a major role in maintaining a sharp mind and a good memory.
Modern Health Issues
Men suffering with an enlarged prostate are often told to have more sex. However, doctors of Chinese medicine will say the opposite. Why the different approach? 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. Since prostate problems are caused by low Kidney function, and sex uses up Kidney energy, the problem will only worsen over time. In order to reverse these issues, you must increase Kidney energy.
Many common health issues facing modern men can be addressed holistically with acupuncture, herbs, and Qigong practice, in combination with healthy lifestyle choices, diet, and stress reduction.
1. Eat for healing! Food is the body’s primary source of acquired Qi. Incorporate seafood (salmon, oysters, clams, shrimp, lobster), black beans, nuts (walnuts, cashews, pine nuts), and black sesame seeds into your diet. Also try bee pollen, cauliflower, seaweed, and bone broth or marrow. These foods contain a healing essence that supports your Kidney.
2. Stay warm! All too often, people push the body and wonder why they’re not feeling their best. Keep the body warm, especially in the colder months. Cover your skin (especially your head and feet!) so the body can use its Qi to rebalance instead of spending it to keep the body warm. Warming extends to the food on your plate as well. Instead of reaching for an energy bar, sit down and enjoy a warming meal. Barley with red dates or oatmeal with baked apples are great ways to start each day. Visit our recipe section for plenty of plant-based meal ideas.
3. Reduce stress and practice Qigong! Chronic stress continually forces the Kidney to give extra energetic support to the Liver, the organ most affected by stress. Even 10-20 minutes of Qigong a day can significantly help your body, mind, and spirit recuperate from stress. Qigong movements help Qi flow smoothly through the body’s meridian system. But Qigong alone is not the answer. You must also live in a way that brings peace into your daily life.
Here’s a Qigong movement that directly benefits the Kidney and Bladder meridians.
- Rest your hands on your lower back with fingers pointing toward your spine. Lift your left knee.
- Kick directly behind you smoothly and slowly, fully extending your leg into a stretch. Your toes should be a few inches from the floor when your leg is fully extended.
- Repeat. Practice slow kicks with the left leg for five minutes. Then switch to the right side.
- Tips: If you have trouble keeping your balance, use a chair for support.