Happy Valentines Day, a day of sharing heartfelt sentiments and wishes, through many means: hugs, kisses, words, flowers, champers, chocolates, or balloons! It gave me the idea of devoting this newsletter to the Heart.
The Heart Qi is the key to one’s overall well-being and disposition. In the words of a 6th century philosopher Liu Zhou:
“If the spirit is at peace, the heart is in harmony; when the heart is in harmony, the body is whole. If the spirit becomes aggravated, the heart wavers, and when the heart wavers the body becomes injured; if one seeks to heal the physical body, therefore one needs to regulate the spirit first”.*
Ever considered the wonder of this organ that starts beating in the womb and doesn’t let up till our very last breath? Is this not remarkable? The ancient Chinese physicians were impressed enough to designate the heart as the Emperor organ, inferring a key influence over the body’s entire organic process.
The heart is also the only organ we describe as ‘having an attack’, when it is in deep crisis. Such terminology gives a sense of vulnerability, and who would not agree with this? Only someone who has never loved, never felt heartache, never risked being intimate, never felt the heavy weight of grief or loss, never trodden the slow path back from a broken heart.
No wonder we hesitate to ‘wear our hearts on our sleeves’.
It is a central tenet of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that mind (spirit) and body mutually influence each other. If we take this idea and the emphasis on the Qi of the Heart, then we have many reasons to ensure healthy heart status. This pertains to both the emotional and the physical functions therein. It may also interest you to know that peaceful sleep ensues from the harmonious state of the Heart Qi. At night the consciousness shifts down from the head and is housed inside the ‘lotus flower of the heart’.
I recently read an article by a cardiologist, regarding his referring clients for acupuncture therapy to treat conditions of the heart and nervous system, notably, some types of arrythmias, angina, congestive heart failure, hypertension and for smoking cessation. For those of you who are interested, here is the link:
So both TCM and modern medicine have a vital role to play in the sustained health of the heart. One of the most common conditions I treat these days is anxiety. Anxiety almost invariably involves a disturbance to the Heart Qi, in that people often report experiencing palpitations during an anxiety episode (sometimes referred to as a panic attack). This is a disconcerting experience as many people can attest to.
Evidence-based research validating the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of anxiety states is ongoing and very positive. **
I combine the three disciplines of Acupuncture, Counselling and Chinese herbal medicines to treat anxiety and other matters of the heart. This integrated approach is an ‘heuristic’ one, in that healing comes through ‘problem solving’. This equates to defining and unfolding each individual’s unique experience of anxiety.
Life as Therapy
The heart is nourished also by joy. It is essential we find ways and means of welcoming joy into everyday life, as one avenue of ‘heart care’. How about making this your Valentine’s Day resolution? Think about some new or different ways in which you might engender joy and try them out. Its even more fun if a friend is involved but not essential.
On a nutritional note, here is a link to an article describing the advantages of drinking green tea for heart health:
Contact me on 0411 537 394 or call Bardon Centre on 3368 1300 to book session times. Lets work together to ‘set your heart at ease’ and bring more peace, wellbeing and equanimity to your daily life.
* Fruehauf, H.,(2006). “All Disease comes from the Heart: the pivotal role of the Emotions in Classical Chinese Medicine”. Taken from ‘A Complete Collection of Works by the One Hundred Masters’.
** Pilkington, K., Kirkwood,G., Rampes, H., Cummings, M., & Richardson J., “Acupuncture for Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders” – A systematic literature review.
** Pilkington,K., “Anxiety, Depression and Acupuncture” – A review of the clinical research. Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical, 157 (2010) p. 91-95.
** Acar, H., Cuvas, O., Ceyhan, A., Dikmen, B. Acupuncture on Yintang point decreases Preoperative Anxiety: 1AP 6-7. European Journal of Anaesthesiology, June, 2011, Volume 28.