racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
slow heart beat (brachycardia)
excessive pounding of the heart (palpitation)
tightness in the chest (angina)
hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis)
The symptoms of heart disease arise from failure of the arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle itself, to deliver oxygen to the heart muscle. The result can be angina pectoris, which is a deep, aching, crushing or viselike pain in the chest, radiating perhaps to the arm, or the neck and jaw. It is fairly common in men in their forties and older whose arteries have been seriously narrowed by atherosclerosis (hardening in the arteries). A complete blockage of the artery causes a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Reasons for heart disease have been investigated all around the world. The highest incidence is in Finland, where both blood fat levels and blood pressures are unusually high. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, lack of exercise, and obesity greatly increase the risks of developing heart disease. However, dietary factors such as high fat and cholesterol consumption seem to be of greater importance. For example, the Japanese male smokes and drinks as much and is subjected to as much stress as his American counterpart, but he has much lower blood cholesterol levels, and rarely has coronary heart disease. The Japanese diet is much lower in beef, eggs, oil, and dairy products. It relies more on grains, vegetables and fish.
It is widely recognized that heart disease can result from overindulgence and can only be prevented by people themselves. There is a strong relationship between the heart, lungs, and kidneys. As blood pressure increases, breathing is affected and breath-lessness may be present. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema lessen the lung's ability to adequately exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. Under these conditions, the function of the kidneys is impaired, with retention of salt and water and an increase in blood volume. All in all, symptoms affecting the heart, lungs, and/or kidneys cause additional strain on other organs until, in severe cases, either the heart or the kidneys fail and death follows. Fortunately, however, heart disease is preventable with a combination of diet and exercise.
The principles of natural healing are based on balance. When a condition or an organ is either in excess (hyper) or in
deficiency (hypo), our treatment aim is to reestablish harmony. The body is capable of making appropriate adjustments and correcting our unbalanced conditions. Therefore for both hypertension and hypotension, our shiatsu treatment is approximately the same. If the heart is beating too fast or too slow our treatment is about the same. Our body's adjustment mechanism, following natural patterns is the source of healing.
The most effective method for any aspect of heart disease is to give a complete shiatsu treatment. In general however, attention to the heart (HT) and heart governor (HG) channels on the arms is effective.
The area on the back between the shoulder blades near the
spine(T3-T7)can be pressed.
An abdominal massage (see pages 103-105, shiatsu section for details) and shiatsu on the lower back in the kidney region is helpful (T12-L4).
Warming several acupoints help to regulate the heart rhythm as well as the kidneys. Heat each acupoint for 2-5 minutes. LI 4, U 11, LU 9, CV 12, KD 3, UB 15, UB 23, SP 9. Choose from 3-5 acupoints, alternating with each treatment. Treat every 2-3 days until symptoms subside.
Proper eating is the single most important factor in both preventing and curing heart disease and the symptoms associated with it. The standard macrobiotic diet, which is low in fats and sugars, and high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, is the best approach to a healthy heart. (See diet section for details.)
For those concerned with overall physical fitness, the ideal exercise is one which involves as many muscles as possible. Walking, jogging, running, swimming and almost any outdoor sport will meet this end.
If exercise is to have its most beneficial effect on the heart and lungs, it must work them at near their maximum capability. You can measure your capability by measuring your pulse rate. The basic guide is that the pulse should not be allowed to rise over 200 minus your age in years. Therefore a 35 year old person would have a maximum pulse rate of 165 beats/ minute (200-35=165). Someone who is totally unfit should add another 20-30 on to his/her age for the first few weeks of the training program. Taking the pulse while exercising will inform you if you should increase or decrease your effort. The pulse rate will serve as a guide to the effects of exercise in improving physical fitness. As strength is increasing, your routine of the same exercises should not force the pulse rate up as it did in the past. In other words, the same set of exercises will have a decreased pulse rate over time. In practice, most people find that 40-60 minutes a week is the minimum to maintain reasonably good fitness. This is divided into 3 sessions of 20 minutes. Regular exercise should become an enjoyable part of your lifestyle. The movement itself should be rewarding enough so that on skipped days you will feel like you have missed an indispensable part of the day.