Another Male Health Article



Eight Things I learned to do for my Health as a Man

Cameron Bishop DAOM, L.Ac

As Seen in "Natural Awakenings" Magazine June 2012  

We men like to think of our body is like a car. It is "broken" or fixed. We drive it till we have to pull it into the shop and get it squared away. In realty our body is like an ecosystem. Everything affects it whether temporarily, cumulatively or permanently. One of the best things I learned is how sugar, caffeine, stress, exercise, alcohol, affects my system. Even if we as men were to adopt the outdated mechanical model of our health being like a car, then if we are honest with ourselves, we have to ask "Since I only have one car, (body) then I need to take care of it to make it last". One thing the ladies can teach us is regular maintenance. They know regular up-keep keeps their engines running better! We are guys and most of us don't want to shave, put on shoes or whatever else, but we know that along the way up-keep is a good idea. The hard reality is that the rules of the game keep changing and we have to keep playing by them to get the most out of our one body we have.

While living in Japan, the first question a matriarchal woman would ask about a problem child was "How old"?  If their age was under thirty, they would say simply "They are not human yet. Why are you even concerned? Don't listen to a thing they say till after thirty". I have given this advice to many of my patients and it has reduced their suffering. The male mind does not even turn on until around 26-27 years old. That thought might not be a good idea, and may even feel alien. As I aged, I watched my friends and siblings, and it was obvious that it was better to do everything in moderation. At some point, I realized I don't make the rules, and I realized it is better to follow them.

I often have wives come in telling me of their husband's health history. I listen to their story for months - sometimes for years - till the husband crashes and then they decide to come in to give acupuncture a try. Then, they try it once, and despite my telling them they need a month of Acupuncture treatments, change of diet, and some movement they often never give it a try and simply continue to decline. Sometimes they start doctor shopping looking for someone to tell them what they want to hear. Meanwhile their problems see-saw, or worsen. There is an old saying: If you have yourself as your doctor, then you have a fool for a patient. I can tell you countless stories of health care providers themselves not listening or ignoring their health, sometimes resulting in premature death or disability. Listen to your health care provider. I do. Even if I disagree and I do my own thing, I keep them in the loop. There are many of times I tried herbs over medication but had regular evaluation to insure I was going in the right direction.

Moving water does not get stagnant. We are mostly fluid. Move, shake, and exercise it. Believe me as a young man I jumped barefoot on wood dojo floors doing full sword cuts in Japan. But, moderation is better too. Save your knees you will miss them when they are gone. I use the Pace Express system, swim, some yoga and martial arts. You have to pick something you will continue to do. We were made to keep moving but over training is even worse.

I supplement with CoQ10, B complex, Fiber, Choline, and flax seed oil. I skip it regularly so that my body does not habituate to it. Eliminate as processed foods as possible. If you killed with a stick, or dug it up with one then you can eat it. Nothing man-made, or processed, will be as good for your body. Studies keep telling us this. It will be another decade or more for the public to catch up with what the studies are telling us and even longer for Floridians.

People who floss live three years longer on average. I brush my teeth with coconut oil. Try it. You will be surprised. Use a sinus pot too.

Sympathetic system stress has over a hundred affects on the body. Sometimes I have stressed out patients come in and tell me they that they tried meditation or something relaxing and it did not work. Of course not. We need to do it while we are not stressed so we have it there when we are. It is like going to the gym the day before you move to get muscles and then wonder why you are not strong. Learn, cultivate, start something that allows you to chill regularly and preferably daily. This is one of the most important things you can do for your health. My most stressed patients often do not think they are.

Be personally honest with one self. I don't make the rules. It is better to follow them. If I don't want to follow them, how do I get help? A great book to read is Robert Bly's Iron John. Simply observing my self from the outside over the years has been tremendous. Having a couple friends or men's group to be truly real with is instrumental in total health. Our society worships youth, beauty and perfection. A good book to help deal with this is Still Here by Ram Das.