Ancient Chinese secrets inevitably support modern traditions! In celebration of Valentine's Day, let's talk a little about the Heart meridian - which incidentally coincides with the element of fire. A little fire & passion keeps the Heart energy pumping! Naturally, the energetics related to the balanced functioning of the Heart are joy, love, peace, contentment, wisdom, courtesy, & forgiveness. When the Heart is out of balance, anxiety, insomnia, racing thoughts, excessive energy, & anger can all be present.
Most impressively in Chinese medicine, is the recognition of the psycho-emotional aspects of the Heart. Before modern scientific knowledge, the Heart was often viewed as the emotional center of the body, & truthfully, a contented Heart is the seat of the soul. Keeping some of these concepts relatively simplified, the main essence or "Spirit" of the body, is housed in the Heart. This can be somewhat of a difficult concept to grasp, as it is not necessarily the religious definition of "Spirit", though has to do with how the body & mind receive & interpret sensory information. Basically, how a person views the world, processes it, & responds, is in direct correlation to a relaxed & free-flowing inner "Spirit".
At night, the "Spirit" should return to the safety of the Heart, to rest peacefully & rejuvenate for the following day. Deficiency in this aspect can lead to restlessness, worrying, & poor or dream-disturbed sleep. It's no wonder heartbreak can cause sleepless nights.
Modern insight & research shows just how unique the Heart really is. It contains unique cells & muscle structures that ONLY exist within the Heart. It produces approximately 50 times the amount of electricity the brain does, & communicates directly with the neo-cortex via specific ganglia. Think of how your Heart functions effortlessly without your conscious effort.
Alternately, both your thoughts & breathing can alter the rate & speed with which your Heart beats & the efficiency with which it functions. And for ladies who are looking to conceive or obtain an optimal menstrual cycle, the Heart plays a direct role in the healthy flow of blood to the Uterus during menstruation. This may explain why in times of distress or excessive worrying, the period may be delayed, scanty, or missed all together.
Craving chocolate on Valentine's? The good news is, the darker the chocolate, the better it is for your Heart! And each meridian in Chinese medicine is associated with a particular flavor, in this case, bitter is the language of the Heart (in more ways than one!). Foods that are naturally red &/or bitter by nature, will support the health of your Heart:
Red wine (small amounts, please), dark chocolate, beets, red meat (organic, grass-fed is best), cherries, red beans (kidney, adzuki, etc.), radishes, strawberries, rhubarb, dates, & coffee are all excellent to indulge in when you want to give a little boost to your Heart.
Curious if your Heart meridian needs a tune-up? Or insomnia, worry, & menstrual issues got you down? Even if you're post-heartbreak & need some support, come in for a treatment to feel better & receive tailored help. Here's to your health & Heart! - Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist at Bluegrass Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky.
About the Author:
Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist, currently practicing in the gorgeous, horse capital of the world: Lexington, Kentucky.