The heart is one of our most important organs, though a delicate one. Chinese Medicine refers to it as the Emperor of the body and believes that the health of the heart directly relates to the health of the body. So how do we keep it healthy? Here are 10 tips to help!
1) Limit your Stimulation
When our heart is overstimulated, our thoughts race, our sleep disappears, and our entire being is out of balance. To keep our hearts peaceful, it's important to limit how much we stimulate ourselves- whether through caffeine or through our media consumption.⠀
2) Support your Circulatory System
Our poor hearts do an amazing job pushing our blood through our entire bodies so every cell can be nourished and protected. But it's a big job and if our capillaries (the smallest of our blood vessels) are stagnant, which is often the case with our sedentary lifestyle, the heart has to work that much harder. ⠀ ⠀
Exercises helps move the blood through contracting the muscles, but acupuncture, massage, and cupping can also help find specific areas of stagnation and break them up! ⠀ ⠀
3) Show Love Everyday
One of the functions of our heart is to act as the center of connection in our lives. It thrives in a well connected and loving support system. The more we express our love and gratitude, the more we nourish our hearts!
4) Eat Red Foods
Chinese Medicine has a connection between the color of a food and what system it nourishes. The heart's color is red, so any red foods will therefore nourish our heart and circulatory system. Cherries, raspberries, strawberries, beets, etc are all good additions to our plates when we want to give our heart a boost!
5) Relax Your Calves
Our heart relies on the contractions of our muscles during movement to help with the circulation, especially with the veins as they fight gravity to return our deoxygenated blood to the heart. Our gastrocnemius muscles (the muscles in our calves) are incredibly important for this function!
However, for many people due to posture and tight muscles, their calves are chronically tight. When a muscle is tight, it can not contract as forcefully as when it is initially. Without the strong contractions from our calves, our heart has a harder job pushing the blood back up through our veins to the heart. So give your calves a stretch and a massage- try to relax them- so that when you take a step your heart gets the full benefit of each contraction.
6) Cultivate Connection⠀ ⠀
Our hearts thrive with connection. The more connected our world, whether it be with people, places or even our things, the happier we are. Cultivating connection with friends, family, or even the items in your house can help the heart relax and calm.
7) Eat Bitter Food⠀ ⠀
Our society is awash in sweet foods- especially after the holidays- and very few people, whether adults or children, enjoy the taste of bitter foods. But the bitter taste in Chinese Medicine is excellent for draining heat, especially from the heart. ⠀ ⠀
Dark, leafy greens and many vegetables have a bitter flavor so eating those are excellent for calming the heart. Coffee, dark chocolate, and some red wines are also slightly bitter- but eat these in moderation!⠀ ⠀
8) Hold your Breath after Exhaling⠀ ⠀
Slow breaths in general are good for the nervous system. But the space after we exhale, when there is little air in our lungs, is an excellent way to calm down an overactive heart.⠀ ⠀
9) Get Plenty of Sleep
Yes, good sleep is practically a cliche, but for a good reason. Sleep rests the body and refreshes the mind. According to Chinese Medicine, during the night, the qi which circulates through the outside of our body, returns inwards to nourish and repair the organs. When we can not sleep, the heart is often a cause- especially if you have racing thoughts!
10) Cultivate Joy
The emotion of the heart is joy. While an excess of joy (mania) can damage the heart, lack of joy is far more common. Our society isn't built to cultivate joy or connection, so it is up to us to find what sets our hearts singing and cherish it. What brings you joy?
Even though changing our lifestyles can result in tremendous changes to our lives, sometimes you need an extra boost. If you struggle with racing thoughts, poor sleep, an agitated mind, or a lack of joy in your life, Acupuncture can help!
Book an appointment today!