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A Healthier Heart = A Healthier You

February is all about giving and receiving LOVE. Learn to share the LOVE with one of the most vital organs in the body – your heart!

By Whitney Anne

Your heart is the organ of joy. It is strong and mighty, representing the element of fire. Yet heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. One person dies every 36 seconds due to cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scary, right? These facts are daunting and tragic. However, with this bad news, comes better news. There are lots of ways to practice self-care and to keep your heart resiliently beating on.

“Preventative medicine is very important to reduce risks of heart disease and stay healthy,” says Dr. Sarah Anzola, lead practitioner and founder of Acushen Clinic. “Scheduling regular health checkups is important. Here in our clinic, we recommend our patients to schedule their health “tune-up” appointments every 3-4 weeks.”

Of course, diet and exercise play a crucial factor in overall heart health. Think of your health as a puzzle – there are lots of pieces working in tandem. One missing piece and the big picture is incomplete. Dr. Anzola explains how acupuncture can be used as one major piece of the puzzle to ensure that your heart remains strong and functioning. More importantly, she says working with a holistic doctor will allow you as the patient to address any underlying causes that might contribute to unhealthy choices, therefore impacting your heart health.

“We treat every individual based on his/her unique conditions and address the root cause of illness. By doing this, we improve blood circulation and maintain a strong and healthy heart. If you have a family medical history of heart-related issues, active prevention is the best way to keep your heart healthy,” advises Dr. Anzola.

It is fascinating to note how the entire body is connected. The nervous system helps to regulate the heart and several studies show that acupuncture can improve chest pain or tightness and reduce high blood pressure. Science is even proving that acupuncture and alternative medicine can prevent heart tissue damage and potentially even stop a heart attack.

Dr. Anzola tells us the nervous system plays a huge role in targeting heart health. She says it is necessary to help her clients manage stress and help activate the parasympathetic nervous system (AKA: the PNS activates your ability to rest and digest!).

“Acupuncture stimulates the PNS which helps decrease the pressure that the heart undergoes and therefore maintains normal blood pressure. Acupuncture also improves blood circulation throughout the body and specifically within the heart. A healthy blood flow decreases the risks of blood stagnation and blockages within the vessels, which are precursors to heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. The heart is also in charge of regulating the blood within our body. We can assess the heart health by checking the quality of rhythmic beating, rate of the pulse, and blood flow.”

Dr. Anzola describes the heart as the emperor of the body. It makes sense, as this organ oversees the most important elements of our being, the Shen (mind).

“Like an emperor - a symbol of the state, the heart is a symbol of one’s mental state. In Eastern Medicine, disorders of the heart are related to anxiety, sleep disorders, and mental illness. To treat any of these conditions, we must first address the heart and related meridian channels such as the small intestine and pericardium.”

During a visit to Acushen Clinic, Dr. Anzola would of course add other acupuncture points as needed. Treatments related to hypertension for example often include acupuncture points along the liver meridian which is associated with stress and overwork.

As the doctor says – less stress is best! If only it were so easy…. So it is great news that there are actions we can take starting now! Restful sleep, hydration, self-care routines, regular exercise, breathing techniques/yoga (hint: check out Acushen’s updated schedule for some options!), preventative medical check-ups, healthy and clean nutrition, and striving to find meaningful moments of joy are among some of the ways to help reduce your stress.

TIP FOR SUCCESS: Set a goal for 1-2 De-Stress strategies to focus on per week. Write it down somewhere where you can see it and set clear and measurable goals for each day to help meet your weekly mark. You will end your week feeling stronger, healthier, and more energized!

As we finish out the month of February – remember that your heart is the most powerful organ! It is an organ of fire. One that breaks, heals, and becomes stronger again. It is both fragile and sturdy at once, with beautiful complexities that need your attention. Keep on giving love and remember to first consider the heart of the matter.



This month’s Acu-point: PC6!

PC 6 is an acupuncture point along the pericardium meridian located on the inner side of the wrist about two inches towards the elbow from the wrist crease. The pericardium is a membrane, or sac, that surrounds the heart. This point is commonly used for treating nausea, anxiety, heart palpitations, chest pain, cardiac pain, chest congestion, and depression. Be sure to ask Dr. Anzola about the Acushen point of the month during your next visit!

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