Acupuncture and herbs can bring extraordinary benefits to the cardiovascular system, usually before any structural damage can occur. One of the reasons acupuncture is so effective is because of how it moves the blood. he heart and the cardiovascular system are vital whether you are male or female; however, we tend to associate cardiovascular disease with men, particularly between the ages of 50-60 years old. The factors that steer men toward the path of heart disease are lifestyle related. We also see this happening in younger people. Now, it is common to start medication around age 40, especially if symptoms are related to stress. This is where the beta-blocker is used.
First, a little more background on healthy heart functioning and why that goes awry. The heart governs the vessels. It houses the Shen, or main spirit essence, and has electrical and hormonal regulation. It is strongly affected by stress level and nutrition status, which directly correlate to the spleen/stomach and liver organs. In addition, the heart is stressed by anxiety, too much speaking and sweating. Joy, the emotion, is strongly associated with the heart. It is the antidote to all other negative emotions, which is important for us to remember.
Chinese medicine emphasizes the movement of the blood to alleviate pain, improve organ function and improve body condition. The quality and movement of the blood are very important to the health and vitality of the person. Blood constructs, nourishes, enriches and moistens the tissues and organs of the entire body. Blood is the chief material basis of a human being’s mental and emotional activities.
When the heart is nourished by blood, the spirit becomes clear and orientation becomes acute. One’s sensations will be quick and nimble and one can move as he likes. If blood loses its rhythm, there are heart palpitations and forgetfulness at the beginning, senility and decline later on. It is important to gently invigorate blood often, and acupuncture is the most dependable way to do this. Even exercise, which surely gets the blood moving, can be too taxing, especially in times of liver stress.
Unfortunately for us, the liver is stressed and depressed all the time in modern adult living. Liver depression with qi stagnation is the most common pattern diagnosis I personally see in people. This presents first as a general level of muscular and mental tension. In the body, this feels like holding stress in the neck and shoulders and having a mind that does not stop thinking. It can progress to digestive upset, depression, sharper pain sensations, and can contribute to the heart not receiving proper blood nourishment.
Liver has the function of smoothly moving the qi in the body; as qi moves, blood moves. Smoothly moving, uninhibited blood flow prevents pain, anxiety, atherosclerosis and blood clots from forming. This directly relates to cardiovascular health.
The other organ system that directly affects cardiovascular health, qi status and every other system in the body is that of the spleen/stomach and digestive systems. This is because the condition of the body is extremely dependent upon the food products that are put in. When we nourish ourselves with vibrant foods that are balanced in temperature, flavors, amounts and times of the day, the system works efficiently. There is no inflammation, no reaction and zero to very minimal dampness or mucus left over. All the nourishment can go directly to the cells that need it, as they need it.
The majority of people I work with have never tried a food plan like this. These patients have been eating devitalized food for decades, weakening their digestive qi and accumulating more and more mucus, dampness or inflammation. The accumulated dampness settles where it can, typically in places where qi, blood and lymph flow are stuck. If that is in the blood vessels, then we have atherosclerosis. If it is in the abdominal area, the waist circumference expands, and there is extra tissue and weight, which cause the blood pressure to rise.
Weakening of the system makes it more difficult to correct. Acupuncture, herbs and a specific eating plan help tremendously to bring the various systems back into alignment. Take action now to correct imbalances and prevent serious disease by contacting a qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and incorporating these modalities into a healthy living plan. QCBN
By Katie Borchert, NMD, LAc
Dr. Borchert has office hours daily at Partners in Health Care Naturally in downtown Prescott, 343 S. Montezuma St. She is also available for home visits, a great way to help the whole family. The clinic website is prescottnaturopathicdoctors.com and Dr. Borchert has Facebook and Instagram accounts featuring naturopathic living.