Heart Responds to Alternative Medicine
A study done about a dozen years ago shocked the cardiology community by proving that advanced heart disease patients could actually shrink the fatty deposits that were blocking their coronary arteries, without taking drugs. As their arteries began to open and allow more oxygen to reach the heart, many of the patients no longer suffered from chest pains or were at risk for a heart attack. What was extraordinary was the way these patients accomplished this: by using the innate power of the body to heal itself. The patients reversed their heart disease with yoga, meditation, a very-low-fat diet, and group support over a year’s time.
The therapies incorporated into this alternative medicine treatment represent the nucleus of a concept called holistic medicine, or whole body medicine. Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole body by combining many different Eastern and Western medical specialties, such as acupuncture and acupressure, massage, nutrition, Chinese medicine, chiropractics, exercise, meditation, herbal medicine, and the like.
Yoga, for example, uses body postures and breathing to keep the spine supple, exercises the body’s major muscle groups, and increases respiration and blood flow. Yoga directly lowers heart rates and blood pressure and is an effective stress-reducer, as is biofeedback, a learned skill that teaches you to recognize and control stress. The Chinese exercise of Tai Chi, or “moving meditation,” also lowers blood pressure through slow, steady movement and concentration, Tai Chi helps you find your personal center, or “chi,” that the Chinese believe is health itself.
The particular patients in this interesting study were extremely committed to fighting their disease through natural means. They were willing to stay on a very-low-fat diet, which most people find unacceptable, and they were willing to spend many hours a week in yoga and meditation. In truth, this type of treatment program does not appeal to the average heart disease patient, who would rather take drugs or even undergo angioplasty than drastically change his or her lifestyle. However, taking advantage of these alternative approaches, to any degree, will yield benefits to body and soul.
“Alternative” or “complementary” medicine is becoming more and more a part of traditional therapy, and physicians no longer dismiss these approaches as useless. In fact, the Health Alliance offers many opportunities for you to incorporate natural healing methods into your life; try a visit to the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine. They not only help stimulate the body’s own defenses to fight disease–they also make you feel good!
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