for a Broken Heart
heart is a very fragile and strong organ. It is the
center of our being and a very vulnerable focal point.
The heart plays a role in every function of the body.
It can be "hurt", "lost" and left in San Francisco.
It can also "skip a beat" or be attacked by a stroke.
Our heart is our life force and in Chinese medicine
it is the fire element. Yet it can "fail" us, as in
heart failure. The heart has rhythm and can block,
just not in a football game. Sometime, our heart talks
to us with sounds and murmurs. There are some people
who listen to their hearts speak to them while others
have not listened and may have taken a path of least
resistance. There is time, however, that we all listen
when our heart speaks to us. That time is when there
is what is called a broken heart.
When the heart is broken, a spectrum of feelings is
manifested. These feelings consist of hurt, pain,
anger, sadness, relief and forgiveness. In the process
of living with these feelings and going through the
experience of having a broken heart, what happens
physically and emotionally to women?
In my practice, many women have scheduled an appointment
with me for an annual gynecological examination or
they were returning for their weekly obstetrical examination.
Within the first few minutes of interviewing the patient
about her medical history since the last visit, I
realize there is a strong emotional and physical component
to the visit that is not directly related to what
is considered a routine exam. In essence, the emotional
and physical components are indicative of a broken
heart. I make a holistic assessment of the patient's
medical history, emotional, spiritual, physical and
clinical findings. These cases may warrant a referral
to a specialist, depending on her status at that moment.
A follow up visit is always scheduled.
Throughout time, it has been said individuals have
died of a broken heart. For instance, a wife died
and then her husband died from natural causes within
a week or a sister died and her sibling died naturally
very soon thereafter. Were the subsequent deaths just
a coincidence or did they die from a broken heart?
Researchers have started scientifically looking at
such cases and calling it the Broken Heart Syndrome.
In health care terminology we call this condition
stress Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is heart muscle
weakness. It can occur after various emotional and
physical stressors such as fear, surprise, anger and
the death of a loved one. Stress cardiomyopathy affects
primarily women and occurs most frequently in middle
aged women and women over age sixty. Many of the women
that have been studied have no prior history of heart
disease and the majorities are postmenopausal. There
is no known reason for the increase frequency in women
in these age groups and postmenopausal women in particular.
Physical stressors can fuel a stroke or seizure and
as mentioned emotional stressors such as fear, grief
and anger can cause this condition.
Women with dis-stressed can suddenly and unexpectedly
experience a heavy feeling in the chest, shortness
of breath, abnormal rhythm of the heart, low blood
pressure, congestive heart failure and shock. It can
be life threatening. She may appear sad, express feelings
of sadness, lock of concentration and difficulty sleeping
at night. The good news is there can also be a quick
and complete recovery.
Aromatherapy is a fantastic complementary therapy.
One hundred percent essential oils are more potent
than herbs -less is better than more. They are volatile
oils which are obtained directly from the root, flower
petals, leaves or skins of fruit. The price can range
from approximately five dollars to several hundred
dollars for a half ounce. It takes 2000 pounds of
rose petals to make one pound of oil. Therefore there
is a variance in the cost of essential oils. The essential
oils widely used to restore the heart are Rose Otto,
Jasmine sambac, Neroli, Rosewood, and Lavender. Essential
oil blends can be used through inhalation and application
methods. They can be inhaled by using a diffuser,
sniffed directly from the bottle (less expensive oils)
or they can be used in the bath/shower or through
vapor and nebulizer. They can be applied by massage
or as perfume oil.
Lavender has a long history as a medicine and perfume.
In Chinese medicine it circulates heart Qi. It can
restore vitality, relieve tension and calm a person.
Dried lavender buds can be added to the bath or a
tea can be made from the dried herb. To make a single
note lavender perfume oil add three drops of 100%
Highland or Bulgarian lavender essential oil to one
tablespoon of jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is a stable carrier
oil, won't rancid and is relatively odorless. The
benefits of essential oils are numerous. However,
care must be taken in using them. Aromatherapy is
very technical. One oil can cancel out the effects
of another oil. Some oils are toxic and what may benefit
one person may have no effect on another person. One
fragrance may be pleasant to one person and offensive
to another. Determine which oil is best for you. Our
behavior is affected by the aromatic scent. They also
help the body regulate itself and come into balance.
Therefore the stressors and feelings produced by a
broken are relieved with the consistent use of aromatherapy.
Miner, NP, is the founder and President of Johnetta
Miner, NP. She is a Jin Shin Jyutsu® Physio-Philosophy
practitioner and Jin Shin Jyutsu self help instructor.
J. Miner, NP has provided primary care to adolescents
and women specializing in prenatal, obstetrical and
gynecological care. She advocates preventative health
care in an integrative manner, combining traditional
and western medicine. She can be reached at http://www.jeminer.com