When it comes to health my approach will always be a mixture of Western and traditional techniques. Traditional Chinese Medicine is always based on the philosophy of finding the root of the problem and help prevent health issues altogether before a ‘cure’ is needed.
The heart is one of the most important organs in our body, in fact, Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the heart to be the “king” of all organs. So it’s incredibly important important to keep it healthy - something we’re all aware of!
But how do we take care of our hearts? There is so much information out there sometimes it can be confusing.
One area that both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on is stress reduction.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine this can be linked to the ‘Shen’. The Shen is often translated as your ‘mind’ or even ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’. The Shen is said to be housed in the heart - for example returning to the heart at night whilst you sleep.
When we are stressed we can think of the Shen being out of balance or ‘wandering’. This TCM condition draws interesting comparisons with some of the symptoms of stress we experience and how it can affect the heart.
Stress tends to raise your blood pressure and has been known to produce blood clots that increase your chances of a heart attack. If you suffer from high blood pressure acupuncture could be a great solution for you to help relax the body and mind and provide a place of stillness and relaxation - helping you to overcome stress.
Some hints according to Traditional Chinese medicine that you may have an imbalance with the ‘Shen’:
- Excessive perspiration
- Over active mind
- Mood swings
Regular exercise is a great stress reducer as well as thinking about what you eat. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the stomach is the hearts “child” if the stomach is well balanced then the heart works properly and will help ‘rehouse’ the Shen. So as with Western medicine, what you eat is really important.
So what are the best things to eat for your heart?
Basil - neutralises stomach. (happy stomach happy heart!)
Brown rice - traditionally helps with indigestion. Modern medicine has found more than 70 antioxidants and the high levels of magnesium in brown rice haven proven to help heart function.
Cayenne - said to be fantastic for heart health.
Fresh Ginger - promote digestion.
Lemon - balances stomach and aids digestion.
Lettuce - protects you from cardiovascular diseases.
Mushrooms - brings oxygen into the system.
As always prevention is better than cure so if we look at the stressors in our life and if you can’t change them, perhaps we can change our attitudes towards them to keep ourselves and our hearts healthy.
“Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”