Many men are opposed to pharmaceutical medications such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. For these men, a variety of alternative treatments are available.
Hypnosis is the induction of a trance-like state in which the conscious mind becomes passive and suggestions can be introduced to the unconscious mind more readily. Most practitioners agree that hypnosis is most successful when erectile dysfunction is caused by mental pressure or anticipatory anxiety. In general, the hypnotist attempts to reprogram the subconscious mind so that the anxiety, guilt, or fear associated with sexual performance is replaced with new patterns of thinking and feeling.
Most practitioners think that erectile dysfunction can be successfully treated in 2-4 sessions. However, the length of therapy can vary considerably depending on the severity of the condition.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice in which a practitioner inserts tiny needles into specific sites along the body’s channels or “meridians.” According to traditional Chinese theory, illnesses and diseases occur because the body’s energy flow (or Qi) becomes disrupted or depleted. Acupuncture, by stimulating specific acupoints, will restore the optimal flow of energy.
Acupuncture sessions for erectile dysfunction are typically 30-50 minutes in duration and involve 6-10 needles. Treatment generally occurs once per week for 10-20 weeks. For most patients, the sensation during insertion is minimal – similar to the plucking of a hair.
Meditation is a technique of training the mind to focus on the present. It is a way of reducing stress and achieving a sense of inner peace that can benefit both emotional health and overall physical condition. Types of meditation include deep breathing, visualized breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.
In the case of erectile dysfunction, meditation is usually most effective when the condition is not caused by a physical issue that restricts the flow of blood to the penis. Meditation can help to condition the mind so that the anxiety, guilt, or distress associated with sexual performance is replaced with positive patterns of thinking and feeling. Meditation is often a life-long process that takes a long time to master.
Red ginseng (or Panax ginseng) is sometimes referred to as “herbal Viagra”. The root of the ginseng plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Red ginseng contains natural antioxidants which are known to reduce inflammation, boost energy levels, and help the body deal with fatigue. These antioxidants may also improve blood flow through the body, including blood flow to the penis.
Ginseng supplements come in several different forms, including liquid extracts, powders, capsules, and creams. Some health food stores also sell the raw dried root, which can be added to boiling water to make a tea.
DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is the most common circulating steroid hormone in the human body. Men with erectile dysfunction often have low levels of DHEA, so it is logical to think that taking DHEA supplements might protect against erectile dysfunction. Some people even believe that DHEA is a “fountain of youth” and can slow down the aging process.
Although DHEA supplements appear to be safe at low doses, consumers should be aware that these supplements are not regulated by the FDA and that there have been quality control issues in the past. DHEA supplements are banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the NBA, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (which manages drug testing for the Olympics).
Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts taken from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of plants. Each oil contains a unique mix of active ingredients. For men experiencing erectile dysfunction, essential oils seem to be most beneficial when the condition is triggered by emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, guilt, or depression.
Some of the essential oils that have been explored for erectile dysfunction include basil,
cardamom, cedarwood, clary sage, ginger, rose, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang. These oils can be used in aromatherapy massages, inhaled directly, or diffused to scent an entire room.
The decision to use alternative treatments for erectile dysfunction is an important one. Because alternative treatments are generally safe, men who are interested in non-medicinal treatments are certainly free to give them a chance. However, keep in mind that some treatments can be very time consuming and expensive. In addition, most alternative treatments are not covered by insurance. Finally, erectile dysfunction may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so a complete physical examination by your doctor or healthcare provider may be warranted.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Source: American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
Source: NYU Langone Medical Center
Source: University of Maryland Medical Center