I would like to cover some areas of men’s health and alternative ways to bring balance and harmony to male energy. In today's society, it is often men who bear the brunt of stress-related illnesses. Women often turn to friends and family, or a health professional, when they sense things are getting out of hand. But sadly, men are socially conditioned to ignore signs of stress and to carry on with a misguided kind of heroism, fulfilling duties and responsibilities.
This is reflected in the prevalence of heart problems and depression in men, when their bodies take control and insist upon a break. Heart disease is one of the biggest problems of our western world, with 40% of men who die in the 45 to 64 age group doing so as a result of a heart-attack. The causes range from hereditary conditions, increasing age, smoking, high blood pressure and a diet high in cholesterol and the solutions are often invasive surgery when the problem reaches crisis point. Preventative heart care is key to healthy, happy men and something we should all be aware of. Good diet, aerobic exercise and relaxation techniques all enable the heart to function well, as does giving up smoking, stressing and eating junk. There are also schools of thought who are arguing that the prevalence in heart disease correlates with men not being able to express their emotions and bottling feelings up. Chakra healer Cyndi Dale presents a new approach to heart disease in her book Advanced Chakra Healing: Heart Disease The Four Pathways Approach, treating it as an opportunity to love the ailing heart and to allow the heart to love. We are all pretty familiar now with mind/body medicine and it is increasingly being investigated and accepted by previously sceptical medical practitioners. Holistic therapies work on this principle, aiming to heal on all levels; physical, psychological and spiritual. A holistic practitioner will take the time to find out all about you as an individual, to get a clear picture of your heart problem. They will treat you as a whole – you’re more than just an ill heart!
Part of any regime for healing from or preventing heart disease would benefit from regular reflexology, during which reflex areas on the soles of the feet are stimulated, releasing energy blocks and activating the body’s healing response, and massage treatments. Incorporating aromatherapy into your life will also help you to release stress and tension. Try this blend of essential oils in 20ml base (vegetable) oil; 1 drop each of the following oils: Black pepper, Ginger, Rosemary, Bergamot. Add it to a bath or get your partner to massage your chest, arms, neck and upper back with it.
Part of healing hearts is to be aware of our emotions and finding ways of expressing them that don’t involve aggression. It is a sad truth that men often have difficulty talking about or identifying their problems, having not learnt from their male relations how to do so successfully. But this is a time of change – a time when men are finding ways to articulate themselves emotionally and not being afraid that it might signify weakness. With the dramatic rise in self-help literature in the last decade, there is a recognisable dialogue which men are finding easier to relate to and to use. Barry Durdant Hollamby’s book The Male Agenda is a good place to start.
An important aspect of parenting sons is enabling them to express their emotions in exactly the same way as we would our daughters. Validating emotional expression from a young age is a vital part of facilitating positive, healthy male energy. For a long time, boys and men have repressed feelings of sadness, failure, pressure and fear, giving vent to them via means such as fighting. I don’t mind betting that if men talking about and expressing their feelings were something the whole world held in high esteem, there would be considerably less war. It is especially shocking when a young man turns that anger upon himself. Suicide is the second major killer of young men after accidents, with 3000 deaths a year. This is clearly an area which we all need to consciously think about healing. Why are young men finding it hard to cope with life? External pressures, expectations, responsibilities and a lack of support? Creating a safe environment in which young men feel able to talk about their feelings is key to good health, as is praising and supporting them on their journey into manhood. They need to feel respected and listened to, even if your better judgement knows they are making a mistake. Let them make it, they’ll emerge all the wiser.
Good body health is vital for navigating through the tumultuous teen years and this can again be achieved through good diet, exercise and relaxation techniques. Teach your teenage boy meditation, enrol him in a yoga class, break down those barriers that say relaxation is for girls. Boys suffer bad body image just as much as girls so find ways to support him if he wants to change. Sensible eating will tackle weight problems and erratic skin as well as mood swings and depression. Finally, holistic therapies can really come into their own again here. Sometimes a teenager is grateful for a listening ear without an agenda and just values time to relax. Essential oils can be used to boost self-esteem, relax and promote general good health. Try this, add 1 drop each of the following oils to a base oil: Bergamot, Sweet orange, Sandalwood. Use in a bath or as a massage oil. The woody aroma will appeal to men.
More men are recognising that going to the doctor and getting some pills to treat stress has no longevity and are turning to what has often been seen as a woman’s domain. Let’s celebrate that and enable people, whatever gender, to take control of their physical, psychological and spiritual health.