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How to Use Acupuncture for Your Heart Health

Use Chinese Medicine principles to treat imbalances related to the function of your heart organ system.
Heart hand shape in sun

If you go to see an acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner, you will find that we are often treating imbalances related to “organ systems.”

Western Medicine practitioners tend to place intense focus on the inner workings of specific organs – cardiologists, nephrologists and pulmonologists spend most of their careers focused on the intricacies of their chosen organ.

Conversely, Chinese Medicine practitioners make diagnoses based on symptoms that occur when an organ and the tissue, nerves and fascia connected to it are not functioning well. This makes up an “organ system” and is why Chinese Medicine practitioners can often connect seemingly disparate symptoms into one diagnosis.

Chinese and Western medicine agree that the heart organ is responsible for pumping blood. But Chinese medicine will diagnose a heart organ system imbalance if we see downstream effects of the heart not pumping blood efficiently.

To that point, here are some common symptoms that are seen in heart organ system imbalances:

  • Psycho-emotional: the brain relies on continuous blood flow to meet it’s incredible energy demands (roughly 20% of your total energy!), and will be impacted if it is not getting the blood it needs. Problems with emotional regulation, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses are commonly associated with heart organ system disfunction.
  • Sleep: Getting to sleep and staying asleep start with the brain, so again Chinese medicine tends to view sleep disorders as being related to the heart organ system. Specifically trouble staying asleep, mind racing and feeling hot at night tend to be most related to the heart organ system.
  • Dryness: Blood travels through the body providing oxygen and nourishment to all of our tissues. If the heart organ system is not effective at sending that nourishing blood, we will see dryness in the hair, skin or throat, or potentially brittle nails.
  • Chest tightness: Palpitations, anxiety with chest tightness, or heaviness in the chest are indicative of issues in the fascia and tissue around the heart, so they are also typical of heart organ system imbalances.

Taking this broad view of the functionality of the entire organ system allows us to start treating imbalances and eliminate minor symptoms before they become more serious issues.

Now that you can start to see some symptoms and sensations related to the health of your heart organ system, here are some things you can do to maintain and increase it’s health:

  • Embrace Joy: “Joy is the emotion of the heart” is a saying in Chinese Medicine. Finding activities that bring genuine joy, engaging in hobbies, and spending time with loved ones all nourish the heart.
  • Mindful Nutrition: “Like treats like” is another useful saying from Chinese medicine. In this case, it can be used to understand why dark red-colored foods (heart/blood colored) are useful dietary therapies for the heart. Try to eat more red beans, goji berries, beets, red peppers, and red berries to support your heart.
  • Balanced Lifestyle: The Heart is sensitive to overwork and particularly too much screen time. Maintain a balance between work, rest, and play and prioritize adequate sleep and exercise.
  • Acupuncture and Herbal Support: Individualized care based on your specific needs can make an enormous difference in treating your symptoms and the imbalances that are creating them.

If you are having symptoms, they are not random and are likely indicative of an imbalance that can be worked on and improved. Seek out an acupuncturist in your area to discuss your symptoms and see what can be done to help.

Chris Goddin, owner and acupuncture of Balance Wellness

Why choose Balance?

I have made it my mission to be an advocate for you, my patients, and determine what steps you need to take to improve your health and get to the root of your health issues. My background in Integrative Medicine gives me the opportunity to understand the various mechanisms that are causing your health issues and the tools we can use to fix them.

I feel extremely fortunate to have found this medicine and I look forward to the opportunity to share it with you!

—Chris Goddin, L.Ac.


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