A Californian based cardiologist, Dr. Anthony Reid, is heading a research panel analysing the effects of blood-pressure checks and basic health education promoted by barbers. Early results have shown a positive impact and more studies are underway. If successful, the US program will train barbers in traditionally African American communities how to take their customer’s blood pressure (along with a shave and a haircut) and they will refer those with elevated readings to a doctor.

It is an interesting idea to get men to focus on their health somewhere they go regularly and feel comfortable but it isn’t a new one. It was barbers, not physicians, in the Middle Ages who performed basic surgeries such as teeth extractions and bloodletting.

There is a long history of barbershops in the US. Pre-civil rights era the barbershop was an unofficial men’s club and at the time was one of the few professional options available to African American men. In this fascinating Ted talk American physician and men’s health advocate Joseph Ravenell proposes that barber shops are a great place for men to discuss tough topics about health. What’s your opinion?

Joseph explains how barbershops can keep men healthy

A survey of almost 8,000 Australians aged over 50 in March by MevCorp on behalf of WYZA®, finds that health is their number one concern. However, there is a major disconnect between the health concerns of men 50+ and their desire to do anything about it, particularly when it comes to weight management.

Men may be just as concerned as women about health (49 per cent versus 51 per cent), but they are generally less likely to seek information on topics that affect them — particularly when it comes to information on weight management, tiredness and vitamins, minerals and supplements.

What are your thoughts on barber shops becoming an Australian safe haven for men to discuss difficult health topics and get basic health check ups such as blood pressure checks? We want to know what you think! Email us at

How can we encourage the men we love to seek health advice earlier? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.