It has been said, “if cancer is the disease of the nice people, then heart disease must be the disease of the angry people”. Makes sense, right? Not necessarily so. Take a closer look at the big burly guy next to you who recently experienced a heart attack and you might find a teddy bear craving a big bear hug.
Most of my thirty-three years as a nurse have been spent working extensively with the cardiac client. I have experienced the trends of medicine and watched the pendulum swing regarding current theories and practice of treating heart disease. Eat this, don’t eat that. Do this exercise, don’t do that exercise. For the most part, except for a mere mention of stress management, only the physical side is addressed and treated.
Today, medical experts are looking at what the ancients knew all along; that the heart is the seat of the soul. We’re learning how emotions can influence heart health. Dr. Erminia M. Guarneri, founder and medical director of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, observed that there was more to heart disease than just a clogged artery. With Dr. Dean Ornish she studied lifestyles and family dynamics, diet and stress management. While attending cardiac retreats with Ornish she made the observation that “it was like watching a full mind-body-spirit detoxification.” In her book The Wisdom of Menopause, Dr. Christiane Northrup states that “difficulty in handling negative emotions, especially hostility, are linked to sudden death from heart attack.” The Harvard School of Public Health recently completed a study that looked at anxiety, depression and anger as risk factors for heart disease.
So, what does all this mean? It means that emotions contribute to our state of health.
Hermetic Science applies the theory that we are energy first and matter second. Each organ has its own unique energy. Each organ is related to an endocrine gland that is related to an energy center. Some people refer to these energy centers as Chakras (Sanskrit word for energy center.) Hermetic Science adheres to the philosophy “treat the cause and the symptoms will take care of themselves; treat the symptoms and the cause remains.”
The heart is believed to have the energy, or emotion of love, primarily self-love, but also love for others and love for god. Feelings of self-worth, or of being worthy are associated with self-love and are linked to the heart. When feelings of unworthiness become habitual the body’s immune system weakens and health is compromised beginning at the cellular level. Emotions that have a positive effect on health are; love, joy, compassion, optimism and hope. Emotions that weaken our immune system are fear, anxiety, anger, rage, terror grief, sadness and pain.
The four chambers of the heart can further be described energetically offering insight into prevention and recovery of heart disease. An Energy Medicine practitioner can help the client evaluate their emotions for a healthier lifestyle. Clients have told me “the heart attack actually saved my life” as it provided them the opportunity to make changes, both physical and emotional. We can choose our attitudes that affect our emotions that affect our health. We can choose to heal.
Melynda Ruckels, RN Ph.D., is a Holistic Nurse with a private practice in Nevada City. She works part-time in Cardiac Rehabilitation and Emergency Room at Sierra Nevada Hospital and transports Critical Care Patients for a private ambulance company in Sacramento.