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World Heart Day

xin - Heart.
xin - Heart - . A receptacle and three drops representing blood flowing rhythmically

Cardiovascular diseases are an important global health problem that encompasses a series of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.


They are the leading cause of death worldwide, with several risk factors associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity and a family history of heart disease.


They are a global epidemic and are not limited to developed countries - as developing nations undergo demographic and lifestyle changes, rates of heart disease increase

 

Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, significantly contribute to the development of heart disease.


Encouraging healthier lifestyles is a fundamental challenge, many people are not fully aware of the risk factors for heart disease and the importance of preventative measures.

 
mind-heart

There is a strong link between mental health and heart disease.


Conditions such as depression and chronic stress can increase your risk of heart disease and worsen your prognosis.



The Heart According to Chinese Medicine


East Asian Medicine has been used for centuries to treat various health problems, including heart disease and related conditions.


While it is important to note that East Asian medical approaches may not replace Western medical treatments, they can complement and promote overall well-being.


The main function of the Heart in Chinese Medicine is to control the flow of Blood, Blood Vessels and house the Spirit/Mind (Shen - 神).

The Heart is considered the most important of all Internal Organs.

Heart

He is referred to as the “Emperor”, governing all Organs.


 

A heart deficiency has physical and psychological effects.

Physically speaking, in the case of Heart or Blood Qi Deficiency, typical symptoms include low energy, palpitations, shortness of breath, night sweats or fainting. Psychologically, the Heart houses the Mind and has an impact on the Emotion of Joy.

Therefore, heart disease can cause the mind to behave abnormally, leading to depression, anxiety, insomnia or a high level of irritability.

 

Today, most patients suffer from a complex of symptoms generally referred to as “stress”.

Emotional stress, however, is generally considered an accessory rather than a causal factor in pathophysiology.


Although Western Medicine has an elaborate psychosomatic theory, the subtle and not easily quantifiable nature of emotions is still considered a factor little understood by science. This often leads to underestimation or mere suppression with medication of symptoms of stress, depression or anxiety.


The heart is the most important organ in the body and the rhythm that governs it is the most important. It is the equivalent of the Emperor in the constellation of biological systems in humans.

The heart is traditionally considered the organ of thought and reasoning, as well as feeling. As such, it is considered the central faculty in cognition.

This cultural conceptualization differs fundamentally from Western dualism that defends the reason-emotion dichotomy, represented by the binary contrast between mind and heart in particular, and mind and body in general. The comprehensive beliefs of ancient Chinese philosophy in the unity and correspondence between the microcosm of man and the macrocosm of the universe. The ruler, as the “heart” of the country, leads his nation while being guided by his own heart as the “ruler” of his body.

Just as a kingdom will only find harmony as long as its ruler is in place, the body can only be healthy when its heart is able to perform its function properly.


"The heart controls the speech"

Idiomatic expressions involving XIN 心 ‘Heart’:


xin-sheng (vigorous/energetic heart) - in high spirits; excited


xin-chuan (heart transmission) (Buddhism) - mind-to-mind instruction from master to disciple (without the help of scriptures); a doctrine or theory passed down from generation to generation


xin-dan (heart-gallbladder) - will and courage


xin-shen (heart-body) -body-mind


xin-li (heart strength) - mental and physical strength


duo-xin (too much heart) - hypersensitive; paranoid

 

Some ways East Asian Medicine can potentially help with heart health:


1.Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a well-known component of MLA. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the flow of Qi and promote balance. Acupuncture can help reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation, which can benefit heart health.


2. Herbal Medicine: East Asian Medicine generally employs herbal remedies, with various herbs and formulations believed to have cardiovascular benefits. Some materia medica, such as hawthorn and ginseng, have traditionally been used to support heart function and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, it is essential to consult a qualified professional, as herbal treatments can interact with medications and have side effects.


3. Diet Therapy: East Asian Medicine places a strong emphasis on nutrition and its role in health. Practitioners can recommend specific dietary changes and foods that support heart health, such as incorporating herbs and heart-healthy foods like garlic, ginger, and green tea.


4. Qi Gong and Tai Ji: These mind-body practices are part of East Asian medicine and involve gentle movements, breathing exercises and meditation. They can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and improve overall physical and mental well-being, which can contribute to heart health.


5.Stress Reduction: East Asian Medicine approaches generally target stress reduction as a means of supporting heart health. Techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, and stress-reduction exercises can help lower stress levels, which is beneficial for heart health.


6. Holistic Approach: East Asian medicine takes a holistic view of health, considering the interconnectedness of the body, mind and spirit. This approach can help individuals address lifestyle factors that affect heart health, such as sleep, emotional well-being, and overall balance.


7. Prevention: East Asian Medicine emphasizes preventative care. It can help identify imbalances or early signs of health problems before they develop into more serious conditions. Regular check-ups with East Asian medical professionals can promote early interventions and preventative strategies.


Love







Old character for “love”.



Note the word heart in the middle.





Celebrating Heart Day, whether it's a day dedicated to heart health or a special day to show love and appreciation for someone, involves focusing on what's important to maintaining a healthy heart and promoting relationships strong.


Here are some important aspects to consider:


1. Heart Health: prioritize activities that promote cardiovascular well-being. This may include exercising, eating a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, avoiding smoking, managing stress, and scheduling regular checkups with your doctor.


2. Love and Relationships: focus on the emotional and social aspects of the heart. Spend quality time with your loved ones, express your feelings and appreciation, and work on building and maintaining loving, healthy relationships.


3. Self-care: Taking care of your physical and emotional well-being is essential for a healthy heart and relationships. Practice Self-compassion and participate in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.


4. Education: Use Heart Day as an opportunity to educate yourself and others about heart health or the importance of love and kindness. Share information about healthy habits or participate in discussions about relationships and communication.


5. Gratitude: Express gratitude for your health and the people in your life. Gratitude can have a positive impact on your mental and emotional well-being, which in turn can benefit your heart health and relationships.


6. Acts of Kindness: Consider performing random acts of kindness to spread love and positivity. Small gestures like writing a sincere note, complimenting or helping someone in need can make a significant difference in someone's day.


7. Community Involvement: Get involved in community events or initiatives related to heart health or spreading love and kindness. Participating in such activities can strengthen your connections with others and contribute to a sense of purpose.


8. Awareness: Take time to learn about heart disease, share information, and support related organizations.


9. Reflection: Reflect on your own life and priorities. Consider what really matters to you in terms of your heart health and your relationships. Use this time to set goals and intentions for improvement in these areas.


Remember that the importance of Heart Day may vary from person to person, depending on individual circumstances and goals. Whether it's caring for your physical heart or nurturing your emotional connections, the key is to celebrate in a way that aligns with your values and priorities.


Happy Day!

Heart





Sources


The Heart According To Chinese Medicine

https://www.meandqi.com/tcm-education-center/basic-concepts/heart


Yu, N. (2007). Heart and Cognition in Ancient Chinese Philosophy. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 7(1-2), 27-47. https://doi.org/10.1163/156853707X171801


Fruehauf, H. (n.d.). All disease comes from the heart: The pivotal role of the emotions in... All Disease Comes From the Heart. https://classicalchinesemedicine.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/fruehauf_alldisease.pdf


Zhou Q, Qin WZ, Liu SB, Kwong JSW, Zhou J, Chen J. Shengmai (a traditional Chinese herbal medicine) for heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 4.


Wang, Y., Bao, Q., Guan, G. (2020). Heart-Mind (xin, 心). In: History of Chinese Philosophy Through Its Key Terms. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-2572-8_5


Hao P, Jiang F, Cheng J, et al. Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cardiovascular Disease. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Jun, 69 (24) 2952–2966.


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