Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Health Solutions: Heart Health

Health Solutions: Heart Health

By: Dr Arien van der Merwe

We often say: my heart’s not in it anymore; my heart is sore; my heart is breaking. This is much more literal than we thought! In all cultures and religions, the experience of peace, love, healing and harmony are seated in the heart and thymus (responsible for immunity) region in the chest. Feelings of love also have a positive influence on the immune system, hormones and cognitive brain function.

Healing ideas for your heart

Ø Opening your heart to healing your physical body to release cell memories, optimise physical health and use the body to connect you to your mind, emotions and soul essence

• Identify body signals of severe stress: feel the pain, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, depression
• Breathing exercises to open the chest area, expand the lungs, increase oxygenation of cells: belly or diaphragmatic breathing, bellows breathing, alternate nostril breathing
• Progressive deep muscle relaxation
• Specific yoga exercises: head, neck and shoulder stretches and rotations; cobra pose; half locust pose; head-to-knee pose; forward bending pose; shoulder stand, even if you simply lift your feet onto the seat of a chair; chest extension or fish pose; spinal twist; sun salutation; dead man’s pose to end
• Work with arms – reaching out, drawing in with dance movements such as Nia technique, and slow, mindful movement like Tai ‘chi.
• Following a heart health eating plan
• Using heart health food supplements and herbal remedies

Ø Opening your heart to healing your emotions or feelings towards yourself and others

• Work on releasing past emotional injuries and hurts
• Forgiveness of self and others
• Work on relationships, release of sorrow, guilt, acceptance of self and others
• Anger management: learn how to acknowledge the intense energy of anger and allow it proper expression

Ø Opening your heart to healing your thoughts

• Use heart centered positive affirmations and directed visualisations to sense feelings of love, joy, peace and happiness within the heart. Also using the image of the sun, placing it in the heart and then allowing the moon to place itself over the heart. This allows for a balance of male and female energies within the heart.
• Go on a journey of self discovery: deeply ingrained unconscious patterns of behaviour that do not serve you any longer, through journaling, psychotherapy, free hand writing

Ø Opening your heart to connect to your soul

• Meditate regularly: mindfulness, witnessing, visualization meditations work well for the heart
• Releasing the shadow deep inside the unconscious mind through transpersonal and soul based psychotherapy
• Quiet time, soul reflection and contemplation

The most important nutrients and herbal remedies for heart health
• An antioxidant combination with enough vitamins A, E, C and minerals zinc, selenium, chromium
• High dosages (50-100mg each) of the B-complex vitamins B1, 3, 5, 6, choline, inositol; 50 microgram of B12 & biotin; 400 microgram of folic acid
• Magnesium and calcium in therapeutic quantities
• Co-enzyme Q10 in therapeutic quantities
• Hawthorn (Crateagus oxyacantha) berry in therapeutic quantities
• Essential fatty acids, especially omega 3 found in cold water fish
• Ginkgo biloba in therapeutic quantities
• Garlic – eat crushed garlic in your food – at least 3 cloves a day, with parsley for the smell, or take garlic capsules
• Phyto (plant) estrogens, e.g. soybeans, chick peas, lentils, linseed

- Have your homocystein (a sulphur containing amino acid) risk measured together with your regular lipid profile tests
- High levels mean high risk: accumulated homocystein damage the inner lining of the arteries, and encourages the formation of atherosclerosis
- A study done at Ohio State University in the USA, showed a link between high homocystein levels and an attitude of hostility and anger – finally science has caught up with the mind-soul-body link! The stress associated with hostility and anger may elevate homocystein levels, accelerating damage to the inside of the arterial walls (atherosclerosis)
- The treatment is cheap, simple and extremely effective:
i. 400 IU’s vitamin E
ii. 50mg vitamin B6
iii. 50 microgram B12
iv. 400 microgram folic acid
- These nutrients ensure the conversion of homocystein into beneficial antioxidants. People with a genetic tendency for high homocystein levels, often have a deficiency of these nutrients.

The heart’s language and Mediterranean countries

The countries around the Mediterranean Sea have a daily siesta time after their phyto (=plant) nutrient, fish and olive oil rich lunch as part of their cultural habit – this lowers stress levels by allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to re-balance the sympathetic or stress nervous system response. Soy based food forms the staple in Japan.

Heart centred meditation

Sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair, in a quiet place, with soft pink candle light, rose quartz crystal and soothing music if you prefer. Hold your back straight, chin parallel to the floor, hands relaxed in your lap, eyes closed. Breathe deeply and slowly and feel yourself relaxing with each exhalation. Do this until you’re completely relaxed. In your mind’s eye, imagine a bright, healing light shining into your heart. The light becomes softer, changing to hues of pink or green, associated with feelings of love, peace, reassurance, forgiveness and acceptance. The light dissolves all tension from your heart and chest. Feel all heaviness, sadness, regret, pain and seriousness lift and release, leaving you light hearted and joyful. Feel your heart developing its own radiance as though an inner flame is being rekindled. Allow this light from inside your heart to spread to every part of you, into the far reaches of every cell, molecule, thought and emotion. Imagine yourself filled with this light’s purity and wonder; your body, mind, emotions and soul healed by the radiance inside your own heart. Sense this light spreading into your feet and eyes to illuminate your path with love. Repeat the positive affirmations: my heart is light and free; I am always being guided in love; my life is filled with love, laughter and infinite wisdom; my heart opens with love, peace and forgiveness. Bathe in love’s feelings and light for as long as you can. Then slowly become aware of your body, move your limbs, notice your breathing, experience the calm and peace inside. Gently come back to normal awareness.

Heart centred wellness is an example of energy medicine and science combining in a healing dance where fact, mystery, imagination and soul exploration create an aspect of wholeness

By: Dr Arien van der Merwe

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