If you’ve noticed an unusual amount of mustaches, beards, and other partially formed facial hair this month, you’re not alone. That’s because, once again, Movember is upon us. Coined from combining the words “moustache” and “November” - and also called no-shave November - it’s the month that focuses on awareness for men’s health issues. I encourage chiropractors to take advantage of the visibility and momentum of Movember to promote their unique and vital contributions to health and wellness, too.
The main focus of this month-long charity and awareness push is to curb prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental illness, and other health problems common to men, with a stated goal of “Changing the face of men’s health.” Just like October has widely been accepted as Breast Cancer Awareness month with a pink ribbon as its symbol, Movember is all about mustaches and facial hair.
However, unlike the American origins of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the inspiration for Movember started down under in Australia. In 1999 a news story aired about a group of young men who were growing their mustaches during the month of November to raise money for charity, an idea they came up with one night in a pub (where most good ideas are hatched.) The Movember crew started with 80 men that year and grew every year, soon organizing as the Movember Foundation in 2003.
By 2007 the movement expanded to Ireland, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Spain, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, Taiwan, and even these United States. The Movember Foundation has gone on to raise $174 million all over the world for health causes. In 2012 alone, 1.1 million people signed up to participate, raising over $95 million dollars, a lot of cash for the ‘stache!
No-Shave November is an all together different event and organization, encouraging people to donate what they would otherwise spend on hair grooming to the American Cancer Society. Instead of promoting wild mustaches, No-Shave November encourages men to go au natural and let their beards grow wild. It also encourages women to skip shaving their legs for the cause. No-Shave November was founded as a Facebook group in 2009 but just started partnering with the American Cancer Society last year.
Aside from the money, Movember is all about on promoting cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, ultimately reducing preventable deaths. In addition to getting an annual check-up, the Movember Foundation wants men to be aware of any family history of cancer and to adopt healthier lifestyles.
The month-long celebration for health even hosts a search for the “International Man of Movember,” there own facial hair Miss Universe, though instead of a swimsuit competition it’s all about the crazy facial hair creations – and how involved you are with those charities. Contests are held all over the world to select 21 national winners, who are voted on by judges and fans so one International Man of Movember can be coronated.
Supporters are called “Mo Bros,” and in the U.S. have included notables like Matt Leinart, Snoop Dog, George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks, UFC Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, and others. Mo Bros host teams, events, concerts, social media connections, style guides, and even have Mo Sisters to help support them!
While it may seem like a lot of fun, monies raised during Movember actually add up to the largest non-governmental investor in men’s health programs in the entire world.
Just like we encourage chiropractors to utilize holidays and special days focusing on health to promote chiropractic, Movember is an opportunity to educate the public about what we do and how important it is to living a long, healthy, disease-free life.
So grow your mustache, beard or other unruly facial hair during November for the cause, and use these facts and history of Movember to promote chiropractic care!