Aside from foo foo flowers and candy, Valentine’s Day has an interesting history that you can read more about, click here. What other holiday is symbolized by an organ? Our heart’s physical and energetic health is crucial for our overall well being.
In Chinese medicine the heart is considered the emperor of all of the other organs. It is associated with the color red, bitter flavor, summer heat, and blood vessels that nourish our complexion. The emotion associated with the heart is a sense of joyfulness. When all is in balance we feel a sense of peace. However when we have excessive qi in the heart it can manifest as physical symptoms such as palpitations, tremors, speech disorders, chest pain, and insomnia. Emotionally we may feel a sense of anxiety and nervousness.
Our heart inspires curiosity and is responsible for a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Our spleen energy is related to our intellect and our ability to carry out our purpose, and our lungs help to create order and enable us to let things go. All of these organ aspects work together to crease a sense of calm within us. When we encounter a stressful situation our heart allows a sense of forgiveness for ourselves or another, the lungs help us to accept the situation as it is to let it go, and our spleen gives us the ability to move on to new opportunities. Only when we let a stressful situation go can we stop ruminating, relax, and be open to new possibilities.
Imagine a stressful situation. Notice if your heart rate increases as well as tension in your body. When you start to take long, deep, even breaths your body will relax and you’ll be able to think more clearly. This is empowering and important to keep in mind. Stressful situations don’t have to impact our heath.
It’s important to take care of your cardiovascular health physically and energetically.
Diet and Exercise: Eat a diet full of fresh cooked vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and reduce intake of sugar and processed foods. Your heart is a muscle that needs exercise especially if you primarily work at a desk. Find an activity that you enjoy and do it! If you have a family history of heart disease pay extra attention to your stress levels and physical symptoms. Check out the American Heart Association for more information.
Acupuncture and Mindfulness: Acupuncture treatments are excellent at eliciting a sense of calm and relaxation. Treatments help your body and mind adapt to stress more easily for all of the reasons above. There are specific points that can be used to relax muscles, calm the mind, and improve deep breathing. Meditation is a self-care activity that you can do on your own to take care of your heart health, not only in the moment but also for preventative care.
This Valentine’s Day take some time to think about your heart and how to keep it healthy!