Men's Health - Not the Magazine
Written by: Dr. Mehran Tabrizi, Chiropractor, Cambridge Club
My many years of clinical experience in a variety of manual therapies have given me a unique perspective through the lens of touch into the broader notion of what it means to be healthy and what people struggle with. When we talk about self-care and self-treatment, these are vital to our wellbeing, but it is important to understand the health of the tissue before you do anything. Yet, in saying that, your training should also facilitate other aspects of wellness.
There are the usual metrics of health to consider: sleep, nutrition, movement, stress. They say that you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet. Sleep and nutrition should not be inflammatory if they are to be part of recovery. Your training load and intensity is proportional to your recovery, so, if you notice your sleep is affected, try to titrate the other things you are doing to bring down the level of overall stress on the body. Having that broader dashboard from which to calibrate the total load on the system will help you optimize your results.
But, what else are we looking at? Your training should look at your health in the traditional sense, but also beyond all of that. Resilience, adaptability, kindness, openness. These are all things that impact our ability to manage our lives and deal with the struggles and hardships that we inevitably face. As the complexity of life goes up, expanding our idea of health and being able to adapt accordingly is key.
If we circle back to the state of the tissue, we see a correlation. When tissue is too stiff or tight, it decreases blood flow and affects lymphatic drainage. The system becomes out of balance and is less adaptable.
As we find ourselves in another Movember, all of this applies to men's health. While I typically think that the general issues of health do not have gender boundaries, when we specifically address prostate health, erectile dysfunction, and the difficult topics that this month brings to light, tissue health and holistic approaches are both important features.
Just sitting on a firm medicine ball and slowly rolling back and forth can give you an idea of tissue health – if the tissue is tight, this move will likely be uncomfortable.
But this may be the least of the discomfort that we encounter when we start looking at this area of health. As men, we are taught that enduring pain is somehow a sign of toughness, but having the uncomfortable conversations requires a level of vulnerability that we may not value as much.
When we take the holistic view, though, we understand that physical, emotional, and societal-relational health are all part of, not just a happy life, but a healthy body – and we know we are doing something right when all three of those aspects are flourishing.
It is the nature of the brain that we have concern about what happened and always want to be prepared. As men, in particular, we like to solve problems and have the answers, but it takes courage to ask the difficult questions and it is the uncertainty of life that makes us feel alive.
To have a conversation and see if I can be of any help, feel free to reach out.