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Weakness at the front of the shoulders can cause tight or tense muscles in the back.

Weakness at the front of the shoulders can cause tight or tense muscles in the back.

The Scapular muscle diagram is compliments of http://www.ehealthstar.com/anatomy/shoulder-blade-scapula

Metaphysical cause of Shoulder Pain

Pain or tightness in the shoulder area often reflects a person’s overall emotional and physical state. A stressful lifestyle, emotional strain, physical injuries, and fatigue can contribute to constriction and pain in the shoulders. When we experience people’s actions and behaviors toward us as aggressive or controlling, it makes us feel powerless, angry, resentful or out of control. If negative emotions are not released, they can become toxic to the entire system, leading to all sorts of complications.

“Stiffness in the area of the shoulder blades usually reveals you are going in the wrong direction in life, or you are doing something in life that isn’t serving your highest purpose. This is actually a positive and predictive pain, showing that you either need to make an adjustment in your life direction or that an important change is about to come into your life and you will have to adjust to align yourself to this new change or direction. This may involve letting go of some old ways of thinking and behaving and adapting to newer, higher ways of thinking and behaving. The change will take place when you become aligned, at which point the energy between the spleen and small intestine meridians will flow freely, removing the blockage between the two. It is the blockage of energy between the two meridians, found in the area of the shoulder blades, that causes the feeling of resistance and lack of mobility.” Emotion and Healing in the Energy Body ~ Robert Henderson

Shoulder pain is quite a complex multifaceted pain as there are six meridians moving through this area. The six *meridians are: the lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small intestine, and heart meridian. These six different types contain a mixture of emotional, mental, and behavioural energies, which manifest as different types of physical pain. These energies cause rigidness, and a sense of heaviness and stagnation in the muscles surrounding the lines of these meridians. This stagnated energy is like a wall protecting hurtful feelings, but can also force us into isolation and separation. Separation from life causes depression, anger, and the inability to forgive a painful past—this could cause hardness and tightness in the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles.

(*The meridians are pathways or networks in which the Chi and blood of the human body are circulated, nourishing skin, muscles, tendons and bones. The meridians pertain to the internal organs of the body, forming a lattice network and linking the tissues and organs into a whole. Externally the twelve meridians connect with the skin, joints, limbs and other superficial tissues of the body. Normal functioning of the various organs ensures a form of balance can be maintained.)

When we feel run down from the way we’re living, we often underestimate our ability to cope with so many responsibilities; we overburden ourselves.  This results in feeling anxious, stress and tired, taking a toll on our upper back and shoulders. Shoulder pain can also be caused by being too set in our ways, rebelling against change and resisting new possibilities and perspectives.  When we resist, we tense our upper body as a means of trying to maintain control. Wanting to control things, people, and events, often results in chronic tension of the hands, arms, and shoulders. Also, negative self-talk and berating oneself causes tightness in the body, especially the shoulders, trapezius, sides of the neck, below the rib cage and the solar plexus.

Stiffness in the shoulders can also mean we are unable to see our options clearly, we are frustrated by our personal limitations and tormented by either indecision or of making the wrong decision.  This creates a tremendous feeling of stiffness and pressure and the desire to escape from deciding.

Pain at the bottom edge of the scapula is caused by taking on, but not releasing the woes of others. In relationships it is the pain of giving yourself to someone who doesn’t love or care about you. It can symbolize emotional sadness from living a life that shouldn’t have turned out the way it did. You cringe at problems and love to complain how others are making your life difficult but rarely take personal responsibility or do anything to change it. On a spiritual level, There is a tendency to ignore the callings of your own spirit due to a lack of trust.

With frozen shoulder, you may literally feel frozen and trapped in your current circumstances. This can make you feel helpless and disempowered especially with authority figures.

“It is time to establish your limitations and personal needs and take on your shoulders only what corresponds to what you want for yourself. Take care of yourself as if you were someone you cared about. Understand that you alone put pressure on yourself; others will respect your needs when you learn to respect them yourself. Allow yourself to be flexible, embrace anyone or anything you want, and let go of your belief to the heart. The consequences will be harsh.” YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU: LOVE YOURSELF ~ Lise Bourbeau

UPPER ARM PAIN

Your upper arm is composed of the humerus, a thick bone surrounded by dense layers of muscle that enable you to life heavy objects.  Your forearm is composed of the radius and ulna. The hands and arms are pathways for many nerves and meridian channels.

“In general, the upper arms, along with the elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands, are energetic extensions of the heart. Their condition is mirrored in the condition of the heart. If the heart is weak or closed, they will be weak or closed to. Similarly, the condition of the energy in the arms, reflects back to the heart. Thus if there are blocks in energy in the arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands the heart becomes blocked too. For the heart to be free, the upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands need to be free. Pain in the upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, and hands reveal a blockage in the energy flowing from the heart. This is the root of all arm pain. Arm pain indicates your heart is in pain.” Emotion and Healing in the Energy Body ~ Robert Henderson

Shoulder Meridians

SI = Small Intestine; St = Stomach; LI = Liver; GB = Gall Bladder; TH = Triple Warmer

Four meridians run through the arms and are attributed to the heart (heart, small intestine, triple heater and pericardium meridian) This is why the arms, in general, are intimately connected to our emotions and actively express our inner feelings.

Our upper arms are used to express strength, power and confidence. Powerful upper arms express strength and power; they help us to defend and block; and to protect our heart and our inner organs from being hurt.

Sometimes it is necessary to exert ourselves with assertion and aggression but many people are afraid of asserting themselves because to do so allows powerful feelings to surge through them. Thus, out of fear, many of us withdraw from letting this energy flow forward, repressing our powerful feelings. We have dissociated ourselves from ourselves and from actively reaching out and grasping hold of life. The problem with this is it causes anger at others for not seeing our needs and anger at ourselves for our inability to assert our desires.

Long-held resentments, anger, bitterness, fear, guilt, etc., all play a role in debilitating our energy in the upper arms. Instead of letting our heart energy flow forward, we withdraw and hold it back. Also, some men and women overdevelop these muscles, which metaphysically can symbolize, resistance of expressing their heartfelt energy.

Upper arm pain, metaphysically, means our personal power, and self-esteem is somehow being restricted.  These issues could involve feelings of inadequacy, lack of ‘emotional intimacy’, and difficulty expressing/releasing emotions. People with painful upper arms could suffer from passive-aggressive tendencies, indicating that whatever they try to suppress and control due to fear, shame, guilt, etc., will eventually find their way to the surface.

THORACIC/SHOULDER AREA

The 12 vertebrae of the thoracic spine curve outward, strategically placed between the two inward curves of the neck and back. Together, the upper and lower ends of the thoracic spine are subject to stress as is the center of this curving area. The thoracic spine is an intrinsic part of the rib ‘cage’ aptly named as the housing for the lungs and heart, both as protection and for deep breathing in and out.

Just above the thoracic spine is the cervical vertebrae C6 and C7.  Metaphysically these also apply to a stiff neck, shoulder pain, frozen shoulder and elbow issues….

“C6 – Feeling overwhelmed by worries, anxieties and stresses. Rather than dealing with your own issues, meddling in other people’s lives to fix their problems and take attention away from yours. Resisting life, feeling stuck, afraid to let go of old fears and change…

C7 – Feeling tired, uninspired, drained, emotionally wound up, mentally unclear. Immobilized by negativity, lack and fear of the future. Feeling numb and disconnected from your own truth and sense of power. On the physical level: thyroid problems, colds, shoulder pain…” The Secret Language of Your Body ~Inna Segal

Many occupations are known to create and reinforce shoulder tensions. Typing, working at a desk, or working at a machine or computer can cause shoulder tension. When you slump your breathing gets shallow and tensions develop. The shoulders are the repository for much of our tension and stress. Eventually the tension becomes chronic, contributing to fatigue, and this also affects other parts of the body. Chronic shoulder tension can inhibit the circulation to the arms and legs, causing cold hands and feet.

The thoracic spine is an integral part of shoulder function. This is the part of the back that stresses from spinal posture and movement and neurological tension felt in the heart and lungs. Long periods of working bent over and poor posture add even more to the problem. Besides severe shoulder and rib strains the thoracic spine tends towards rigidity, with a loss of flexibility and the development of excess forward or sideways curves (scoliosis) The upper back is a frequent area for muscular spasm and nagging pain; it often radiates to front of the body mimicking heart or lung conditions.  Ribs are attached, via cartilage to the breastbone, these attachments are subject to stiffness, soreness or inflammation (costochondritis).

“Upper back: This area is behind the heart, so expresses the back side of the heart energy: anger, resentment, resistance, to loving expression, fear or rejection of love. This can be seen in the dowager’s hump an accumulated mass of tissue that can be formed by repressed and frustrated mind states. This part of the back is also a part of the shoulders, so the energy expressed here is connected to our confusion and inability to be doing what we really want to. This is the first stage after conception, so here lies our uncertain purpose, our thwarted ambition, our unfulfilled longing to do or be something different. Pain here is to do with the load we are carrying but not acknowledging openly, the hidden load of repressed and negative feelings. Acne in this area is repressed anger or irritation trying to find release. Often this is because we have become separated from who we really are and what our deeper feelings are. Here also we will experience resentment towards someone who is a ‘pain in the back’; or we will want to turn our back on someone, thereby turning our heart away from them.” The Bodymind Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro

The shoulders are quite resourceful in willingly moving and overcoming obstacles, even in the face of adversity. Their appearance appears ‘broad enough’ to carry the whole body confidently; it’s just when things become too overwhelming, from too many responsibilities that the shoulders hunch in defiance and start to complain. When the shoulders become defiant, the thoracic muscles contract from shouldering too much. The upper back is where memories of hurt feelings, along with those of fear, guilt, shame and emotional confusion are stored; it’s also where lost desires are deeply buried.

The more we keep our feelings and struggles to ourselves, the more tense and rigid the shoulders will become. How many of you with shoulder pain are doing what you really want to do in your lives? Are you really free to express yourself; are you coming from a space of loving and caring? Are you with someone who you’d love to hug with all your might? Do you really want to participate in life, or is fear holding you back and causing you to procrastinate? Are you afraid to be yourself, to act freely, to do what you want? Do you pull back, withdrawing or holding back personal ideas as a way of avoiding a confrontation? Are you worried about what others may think?  All this mental tension and/or guilt and fear cause inflammation to your shoulders. The muscles then change, twist and turn to accommodate these misshapen emotions. With hunched shoulders, you may feel overburdened by the weight of life’s problems, or from the guilt from past actions. Or do your shoulders immediately become rigid with fear and anxiety; made worse by uncertainty and insecurity.

Shoulders held back, pushing the chest out front tend to stiffen from determined stance. So does leaning forward, frantically trying to get a point across and even sticking ones’ neck out in another’s face. You have to stop belittling yourself and trying to control your world.  The more you do this, the more your thinking will become distorted and jumbled .. when this happens you’ll have trouble making decisions or taking action.

“From the spine across the shoulders and down to the hands is our doing centre: how we feel about what we are doing, about what is being done to us, about our capability to handle our lives. This area also represents our desire to express ourselves: through the use of our hands we can express our innermost artistic and creative energies; through our arms and hands we can share our love and giving energy from the heart; through caressing, touching and holding we can reach out, pull in or push away.

The shoulders express this on the inner levels – specifically our deeply personal feelings about what we are doing, or what is being done to us. How many of us are really doing what we want to done? And how often are we in real conflict about what we should be doing. It is here that we carry our burdens, begrudgingly doing something even if we don’t really want to, or holding on to guilt and negative emotions from the past to do something we have already done.  A ‘cold shoulder’ can be an emotional cold we are experiencing within ourselves towards someone or something, or it may be a cold shoulder being directed towards us from someone else.

The arms move this doing energy outwards, from our inner feelings and desires to their expression in the world. The elbows give flexibility and grace to this flow of energy, adding the necessary effort to ensure manifestation. The wrists move it out further. A conflict in the wrist can indicate there is something we should be or want to be doing but are not; for some reason, we are holding back from that final expression” Deb Shapiro ~The BodyMind Workbook

Pain specifically indicates the pain of not opening your heart.  We accumulate everything that has happened to us or things we have done that have prevented or blocked our hearts from opening.  For example, blaming others-usually our parents-for our own condition in life. By blaming our parents, we are not forgiving them. By not forgiving them, we are not loving them. Which means we don’t love us, which prevents our hearts from opening.

Upper arm pain is often complex, multilayered intense pain, as the energy that is causing the discomfort runs through six meridians in the upper arm. The lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small in test time, and heart meridians. The types of subtle mental energy running through these meridians can be a mixture of the emotional, mental, and behavioural energies, and could manifest as different types of physical pain emotional energies running through these meridians are usually whole energies, such as loneliness, sadness about life, or the experience of having to live in a loveless marriage. These energies cause contraction, coldness, and heaviness in the muscles surrounding the running of these meridians. Other emotional energies such as hatred for life or anger and apparent or spouse who has never loved you, cause hardness and tightness in the muscles. When the pain of life hurts you to the core of your very being, the accumulated energies can work themselves into these humorous bone itself can be quite intense. Mental and behavioural energies running through the six meridians that blocked the heart from opening the energies of on forgiving this, the need to inflict pain on someone who has hurts you, the need to build a wall of protection around yourself against an unloving parent or spouse, or blaming others for your own circumstances. These energies cause hardness and tightness in the muscles surrounding the running of these meridians. One specific behavioural energy, the one you use it in the holding on to your painful past, causes compression, pain, and weakness in the triceps, to which runs the large in test time Meridian, the energetic function of which is to let go of the past. Impression in the triceps causes the arm to weaken when you try to raise it above your head.

Opening the heart, whether through Reiki (and other forms of healing), yoga, myofascial release, therapeutic massage, etc., will help the meridians in the upper arm to open. If you felt unloved as child and struggle with love now, opening the meridians may cause intense pain at first but will then trigger a release of pain from other areas of the body. Where you’ll notice most of your pain is attached to might be: the deltoid muscles, the rotator cuff, the bottom of the scapula, between the shoulder blades, fronts of the fourth chakra, the back of the fourth chakra. If you are at stage of beginning spiritual counselling, massage or yoga practice you may find that you are not only releasing hurtful energies from your own past but also from the past of your parents.

Meridians and Heart Center

Emotionally, the heart will only open after the lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small intestine, and heart meridians have opened energetically. This process takes time, patience, understanding, and forgiveness. When the heart meridian opens, it releases an enormous amount of heat and warmth running along the inside of the upper and lower arm, through the wrist, and out through the centre of the hand. It is a wonderful energy.

DIAPHRAGM BREATHING

When we’re stressed, our muscles contract causing the blood in our system to stop flowing properly, disconnecting our upper and lower energies of the body. The muscle responsible for connecting our upper and lower chakras is a large dome shaped muscle called the diaphragm, which is directly under the lungs. When we take a deep breath, the diaphragm stretches out to allow air into the lungs. As you exhale, the diaphragm curves inwards and upwards to help force all the unwanted air out of the lungs. The diaphragm is one of the most under-used muscles of the body, reason being, most of us breathe from the upper part of the chest, instead of letting the diaphragm do its work.

Many of us when stressed become chest breathers.  What happens when we do this, we tighten our abdominal muscles creating a mild form of hyperventilation (discharging too much carbon dioxide from the blood).  This causes the heart to work harder.

Many of the restrictions in your breath come from muscles tightened in a holding pattern.  Our old tensions and pains cause us to move our muscles less.  They become taut when we feel disappointed or disillusioned or betrayed, deflated or defeated. Diaphragmatic breathing eases the process of letting go, of releasing unnecessary emotional attachments so life can flow more easily.

If you can do 15 minutes of conscious breathing each day, in just a few weeks your breathing will shift permanently into your lower abdomen.  The deeper you breathe into the center of your body, the more you’re whole body will participate in the process, restoring balance to your whole system.   You’ll feel calm and energized as this new energy breaks up old habits and patterns and flows freely, through your body.

SHOULDER ROLLS

  • stand with your feet slightly apart and your arms at your sides.
  • breathe in and draw both shoulders back and upward toward your ears as high as you can without forcing or straining.
  • as you exhale, roll your shoulders down and forward to the starting position.
  • as you do this gentle movement slowly and smoothly, relax your shoulders, feeling the tension being released from the muscles.
  • repeat up to 10 times, 3 – 5 times a day (from the excellent book HEALING BACK PAIN NATURALLY by Art Brownstein M.D.)

SHOULDER SHRUG AND DROP

 

 

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

 

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“This is a good example of factors coming together and combining to create a difficulty.  Stomach ulcers are often physically due to a specific virus but invariably occur at the same time when you are very stressed and the reality you are dealing with is becoming corrosive, wearing away at your coping mechanism.  You may be taking in too much acidity from others, or your feelings are eating away at you. 

Aggravated by digestive juices, ulcers arise when you are under too much pressure, worried by financial or work situations, relationships, guilt or shame.  Worry is the key word here—it is almost as if the worry itself is eating you.  All of this creates the perfect environment for the virus.  The ulcer creates a feeling of being raw and exposed, as if there is nowhere to hide.  There may also be repressed aggression, a desire to get revenge or to lash out at someone.  There is a deep need to be soothed and nurtured, to return to the safety of being cared for—as seen in having to eat baby foods as a form of treatment.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro 

Most of us are unaware of the many forces that can interfere with our physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental lives.  When these four areas of responsibility are ignored or dismissed, our body/mind/spirit is forced to change through some kind of crisis.  Usually our early experiences, especially our childhood are the ones that teach us our greatest lessons and reflect back to us our weaknesses and strengths and desires and potentials. 

When I was just in my young teens, (thirteen/fourteen) an ultrasound revealed I had a stomach ulcer (peptic).  You’d think the anxiety of high school would do this but it wasn’t school that caused it.  In fact, I couldn’t wait to get to school, it was my get-away, a place of freedom, where like a wild horse I galloped free.  School was my place of escape, a place to run from myself and from my family.  

The radical shifts of emotion and extreme inner tension came from my home—it was a literal war-zone!    There were times I was scared out of my wits, especially when a shouting match between my mom and dad had dishes and pots being thrown across the room or my brothers emotional yelling turned into fist-fights and black-eyes and bloody noses.  I was the youngest of four, my oldest brother 10 years older and younger brother 8 years older.  My father fought with my brothers, especially Len, my second brother.  I remember when we moved from our house in Montreal to Toronto, the walls in that home still held the image of human imprints from people being pushed into them.  

During that time I was on Zantac, Librium and an antacid, but the burning searing pain that tore through my body never subsided until I quit school and left home at 18 years of age (I failed a grade and was put back a grade when we moved).  Through the many years that followed I learned that the present is not the past and that I wasn’t in any kind of danger when people around me critically raised their voices.   But, I have learnt to keep my inner antennae on….an extremely helpful, instinctive/intuitive tool and a natural gift from the stomach/solar plexus area.   

 

THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM 

“ULCERS are no more than fear—tremendous fear of “not being good enough.” We fear not being good enough for a parent, we fear not being good enough for a boss.  We can’t stomach who we are.  We rip our guts apart trying to please others.  No matter how important our job is, our inner self-esteem is very low.  We are afraid they will find out about us. “ Louise Hay You Can Heal Your Life  

When I left home I had trouble expressing myself  (personal power) to friends and associates because I was afraid of how they’d react.  I was very shy and sensitive, taking any form of criticism really badly.  We (stomach people) clam up or won’t stand up for ourselves, out of the fear of being hurt, judged, humiliated, misunderstood and/or misinterpreted.  We’re scared others are going to react and rationalize our feelings, or our own fear of being wrong.  Another thing we’re afraid of, is being, either emotionally overwhelmed or ignored—we’ve all experienced that feeling when someone just isn’t all there—either there’s a glazed look in their eyes and a restlessness in their body or they look at their watch, spring to their feet and interrupt us.    

On the other hand, many of us look to others to boost our self-esteem, hoping they will fill us up with good thoughts and feelings.  Unfortunately, looking to others for our happiness and emotional well-being severely limits our freedom and expression.  It creates a miscommunication with ourselves (our lack of ability to understand what is really going on inside us). As we seek others approval, we begin to wear masks, to disguise our true feelings and to protect ourselves from being criticized, put down or humiliated by others.  We even try to deceive ourselves into thinking we can control, manipulate or alter our future—but the stomach area, the solar plexus/3rd chakra will not accept lies – if we don’t speak our truth our solar plexus tightens by the words we haven’t spoken.  

“People have known for ages that many different emotions are related to ulcers.  Feeling threatened, for example, causes the brain to signal the stomach to secrete more acid while reducing the blood flow to the lining, thus setting the stage for ulcers.  Some scientists have theorized that ulcers are caused by an overgrowth of a bacterium known as Heliobacteria pylori in the stomach.  Since, however, all of us have Heliobacteria pylori in our stomachs—just as we all have E.coli in our intestines, and all women have yeast in their vaginas—there must be something about the environment in some people’s stomachs that makes them more susceptible to the bacteria’s overgrowing.  Scientists believe that stressful life changes, feelings of threat, and being trapped or restrained can alter some people’s immunity and cause the bacteria to overgrow, setting the stage for ulcers.  It’s as if H. pylori is the bearer of bad tidings, but not necessarily the bad news itself.” Mona Lisa Schulz   

The stomach area contains bundles of sensitive nerve endings, which also connect and join with, thousands and thousands of nerve endings close to the heart—this explains why hate, passion, fear, anger and many other emotions are felt ‘instantly’, ‘emotionally’ and extremely in this highly nerve center.   As we learn and become aware of our emotional sensitivities, the solar plexus and heart area form a bridge connecting us to our higher and lower centers.  We discover we can become the conductor/controller of our own emotions and desires without becoming overly involved.   

This abdominal area has also been called the seat of your subconscious mind and the subconscious mind holds many memories of the past—some of them painful, bitter and unjust. Sometimes we can get swamped with painful emotions in reaction to something we’re doing at the moment that suddenly reminds us of a past abuse. One minute we’re feeling fine, the next minute we’ve got a knot of fear/shame in the pit of our stomach. Often, these kinds of emotional reactions are amplified by psychic residue dumped on us from our childhood or recent past.  Then comes the fear—fear blocks our senses and numbs our perceptions…we can’t feel or read our environment and we can’t read ourselves. We look for hidden meanings of people’s actions—if someone looks at us the wrong way, our energy takes a nosedive.  If someone praises us, our energy hits an all time high. 

“Third chakra energy is logical rather than artistic, sophisticated rather than child-like, doctrinaire rather than organic, cunning rather than innocent, suspicious rather than trusting, and responsibility-bound rather than flowing. If the second chakra holds the natural child, the third chakra holds the controlling parent. Where the second chakra is more like the right-brain side of identity, the third chakra “thinks” more like the brain’s left hemisphere. Third chakra thought also differs from sixth chakra thought. Sixth chakra thought, though it may be profound, is more detached and cerebral. Third chakra thought is entwined with your identity, your fears, and the needs of your ego. 

The energy of the second chakra can be cut off from that of the third chakra, as well as the others above it. There is an energy system between the second and third chakras called the belt flow…the belt flow, which goes around the waist, can become like a huge wall above the second chakra that cuts off the second chakras natural spontaneity, trust, and faith. When this happens, as it frequently does in modern Western cultures, the person may be tormented by merciless self-hatred, a desecration that often originates in the third chakra’s attempts to shape an identity that differs vastly from the natural child of the second chakra. Once the connection between the second and third chakra is opened, energy rises; knowledge about a truer, kinder, gentler self can filter up; and self-condemnation and self-hatred begin to dissolve in that knowledge.” Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body’s Energies For Optimal Health, Joy and Vitality ~ Donna Eden 

REDEFINING STRESS 

The Amygdala

 Rich connections also exist between the amygdala in the temporal lob of the brain and the stomach. These connections allow our intense emotions—fear, anxiety, anger and rage, threat, intimidation—to be felt in the stomach and abdomen.  Since the amygdala plays an important role in memory, it can also moderate the degree to which adverse or traumatic experiences can produce changes in the GI system.  In animals the amygdala controls whether the animals feel resilient (powerful) or vulnerable in stress situations.  The more helpless the feeling in the face of threat, restraint, and aggression, the greater the individual’s likelihood of developing ulcers”.   AWAKENING INTUITION Mona Lisa Schulz  

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts which are located in what’s called the primitive brain or amygdala which in the fight/flight response showers the body and brain with chemicals, quickly turning the stress button ON.  When we sense danger, the autonomic (instinctual) nervous system signals the body to release the hormone adrenaline into the blood stream, providing instant energy to the hearts, lungs, and muscles.  We are pumped up and ready to fight or run. 

“A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux 

From Stress To Tension

 What I’m trying to prove is that our bodies are still responding to this ancient fear mechanism that rushes intense energy into us, preparing us for the fight or flight response.  But even though our lives have changed regarding the word stress, we are still reacting to the old instinctual unconscious reactions.  As a result we aren’t coping so much with stress as we are with ‘tension’.  Stress as you’ve read is a natural response, necessary for life.  ‘Tension’, is the not-so-good physical and mental repercussions we experience when we haven’t been able to process our stress effectively. 

Stress becomes tension when we perceive something unexpected as threatening, when in reality, it is not.  We should be living in a society of trust, cooperation, and interacting well with others, yet in our minds we still remember the ‘survival of the fittest’ that still sits in our unconscious.  Watch out for those dinosaurs!

 When we are criticized for something that we’ve done, we immediately respond with fear and anger as if it were a threat to our very life—our old programming says ‘defend yourself or you’ll die—rather than taking the time to step back and understand what just happened.  Instead our hearts start thumping, we become restless and either express ourselves angrily—physically defend ourselves—or repress all that unexpressed energy which then develops as physical tension.  We haven’t understood that we’ve set ourselves up to experience ‘tension’ from our own lack of awareness.

Another cause of tension is when we fight something with our mental thoughts that we cannot physically control or change—traffic jams come to mind—very frustrating indeed.  How many times have you fumed with rage at not getting home in time or to that all-important meeting and then brought all that fuelled anger home, or to the office with you?  When you are really stressed out, you radiate that stressed energy to the people around you through your chakras and auras.  Consciously or sub-consciously, these people then transfer a great bulk of this stress energy by being nasty and rude to others.  It’s like a merry-go-round.

“Most illness begins with stress-producing thinking as the mind imposes tension on the body.  Every thought has a corresponding effect on the body.  Recent studies in the growing field of psychosomatic medicine demonstrate that our body’s finely tuned immune system responds also immediately to both positive and negative thoughts and attitudes. 

 Resistance is like a stone dropped into a calm pond; the emotions are the ripples.  Chronic stress begun in the mind, creates emotional turbulence and imposes itself upon the body as stored tension.  The tension translates to painful symptoms: headaches or pain in the stomach, lower back or elsewhere.  We have all experienced these symptoms with no apparent physical cause”. NO ORDINARY MOMENTS ~ Dan Millman

 It does seem that most of our problems come from a lack of wisdom and understanding.  Instead of being blinded or tied into our own person viewpoint, we can learn to dissolve tension by changing the way we perceive someone or something.  Balancing our emotions with reason sounds easy, but it isn’t.  It takes time to learn to control our impulses our instinctive way of responding to life.  Instead of being raw and blunt we need to step back and take a higher view of a situation, instead of reigning supreme over others.  The solar plexus chakra is the centre of positive and negative emotions—ambition, courage, violence, cruelty–are just some of the many.  When a person is very angry, the solar plexus chakra pulsates erratically.  This causes the diaphragm to move erratically, resulting in shallow breathing.

 “In the early nineteenth century a man named Alexis St. Martin accidentally shot himself in the abdomen.  The wound was large, and it never healed.  Through a small hole in St. Martin’s abdominal wall, you could clearly see his stomach lining.  The famous surgeon William Baumont undertook a study of Martin, to determine what effect the man’s moods would have on his stomach.  He observed the lining changing color as a given emotion caused the release of more or less acid in the stomach.  Whenever anger caused St. Martin’s face to go red, the stomach lining would also turn red.  This was the essence of mind-body (or in this case mind-stomach) medicine.  Every emotion St. Martin felt—anxiety, resentment, frustration, anger, happiness—was literally revealed on the video screen of his stomach wall.” Awakening Intuition Mona Lisa Schulz

 MORE ENERGETICS OF THE STOMACH/SOLAR PLEXUS

 The solar plexus, stomach area, is the place where every memory you’ve ever had of being criticized is registered.  No organ of your body is more quickly affected by your moods than your stomach! 

 “The stomach is the primary organ for storing, diluting, and digesting food.  It is our reservoir.  It is a symbol of the thoughts, ideas, and inspirations that we learn to digest and assimilate.  It is the reservoir from which we can draw to experience the new and open worlds. 

 Stomach problems often reflect outer problems in digesting life’s experiences.  Are we afraid of digesting or experiencing the new?  Are we holding on to that which is no longer beneficial or nourishing to us?  Do we have fears of not being good enough just as we are?  Do we not approve of ourselves?  Are we having difficulty assimilating new ideas, concepts, and perspectives, and putting them in motion in our life?  The Healer’s Manual ~ Ted Andrews

 Your abdomen and pelvis contain many important organs that are critical for your survival.  The abdomen consists of the digestive system/gastrointestinal system that is made up of approximately thirty-three feet of plumbing that starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum.  (The digestive tract needs that much length to help break down the food’s nutrients and distribute them throughout the body by way of the bloodstream). This system consists of the mouth, pharynx or throat, esophagus, stomach and the small and large intestines.  Digestion begins when food or drink enters the mouth; churning, mixing, breaking down, emulsifying and absorbing the nutrients; and, finally, circulating the nutrients through the blood until they reach their final destination.  Your tissues and organs are the final-destination where the digested fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins are released, helping to keep your body healthy and working properly. 

 The solar plexus, located at the center of the body (stomach area) is one of the most important chakras because it controls, energizes and affects so many surrounding vital organs; no other organ of the body is so easily disturbed or affected by our emotions than the stomach!  This part of your body is also the most important center of the sympathetic nervous system because it is the nerve center that stimulates and reflects your most deepest feelings.  Fear, anger, shame, guilt and pain often get stored in the memory cells of the stomach, sitting there for days/months/years until someone, or some outside force awakens them.  This area is easily disturbed or imbalanced by negative thoughts and emotions—when these strong impulses are released, they’re sent through the nerves to every part of the body.  When strong emotions are released, we have a ‘body flashback’, the cells and muscles of our body temporarily control and produce all kinds of fears and symptoms that we can’t at the time stop. 

 The brain and the digestive system work together.  Scientists have long known that the brain stimulates the digestive organs through parasympathetic activities such as sight, smell, and taste, which stimulate hunger. Psychological factors also impact hunger and digestion, influencing the movements of the intestine, secretion of digestive enzymes, and other digestive functions.  Intense sadness or anger, for example, will set off a chain reaction that stimulates or reduces hunger, perhaps causing weight and digestive problems, and sometimes intestinal illnesses.

 On the other hand, the digestive system also influences the brain.  For example, long-standing or recurring diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) ulcerative colitis, and other painful diseases affect emotions, behaviors, and daily functioning.  This two-way association has been called the brain-gut axis.” The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia Of Your Energetic Anatomy ~ Cyndi Dale

 When studying the healing arts, I became fascinated with the many teachings and how the teachers/healers/authors spoke of the depth and complexity of our emotional lives, and, what we could do to heal them.  I studied the endocrine system, the body’s nervous system and the chakras.  In studying ulcers and other stomach ailments, I’ve learned that virtually every chakra is somehow affected.   Why?  Because your self esteem, your ego and your personality sits in the 3rd chakra.  This is the place of how you feel about yourself and how secure and stable you are in the outside world.

 “At the top chakra of the lower triangle of chakras, the third chakra is vitally important in enabling us to survive and succeed in the material world. Even though it sits atop the foundation of the chakra system (the lower three chakras), the third chakra is also in close communication with the higher chakras—particularly the fourth chakra or heart chakra, and the sixth chakra, or third eye”. MEDITATION AS MEDICINE, Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force, by Dharma Singh, M.D. Khalsa, Cameron Stauth

 I fell in love with Mona Lisa Schulz and her incredible knowledge of the body/mind/spirit dynamics and its intimate connection with the brain….

 “A large network of fibers of the autonomic nervous system—which fires the brain without being consciously aware of it—runs from the brain down to the gut, where the nerves actually wrap around the tubelike intestines like a radial belt on a tire and cause them to contract.  When you describe something as “gut-wrenching,” that’s exactly what you mean: when you feel an emotion, the fire from the nerves branches down, wraps around your gut, and clenches it.” Awakening Intuition ~ Mona Lisa Schulz

 HEALING THE STOMACH/SOLAR PLEXUS/3rd CHAKRA

 “I don’t have to be afraid any more.  My fear used to be overwhelming, but the things that overwhelmed me are the past.  I don’t have to yell.  I can be heard when I whisper, if I quietly speak my truth.  Love is the opposite of fear; the more I can let go of my fear, the more I can love and be loved”. Daphne Rose Kingma

 One of the first things we have to learn in order to heal is to be aware of what we are doing to our body.  Most of us are so busy with our lives, we rarely take the time to connect with ourselves and get a sense of what we’re feeling/sensing/being.  Healing involves acting consistently to ensure that you are doing everything that you need to do for a healthy life.  It’s a time to take responsibility for yourself and let go of others responsibilities that are interfering with your own needs.  Realize, this may look to others as a form of selfishness as you get rest, exercise and the good food you need.  Stepping back and doing your own self-healing work as well as possibly receiving care from someone else, produces the best overall healing.  This healing process literally opens up your body’s energetic channels, your blood flow, digestive system, your breathing, your nervous system and your muscle and joint function.  It means learning about yourself, your deep-seated needs and your ‘individuality’. 

 Putting out the Fire 

We all have fears that frightens us—after all that’s fears job—and when we experience its grip, we feel it in the form of butterflies, stomach cramps, heartburn and spasms—we lose power and—we lose our ability to think things through and reason.  When we are out of power, we can become stuck, rigid and very critical of the things we don’t understand. 

Fear seems to be, as Louise Hay and others have quoted, the main cause for stomach ulcers and stomach ailments.  But what is fear anyways?  Where does it come from? Well, from what I know of my own fears and from hearing the fears of others, fear has many different faces…..showing up as, anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, stress and phobias.  We could even say that All negative emotions are a derivative of fear.  These emotions can express themselves as anger, frustration, embarrassment, denial, grief, shame, jealousy, insecurity, rage, guilt, resentment, stress and worry. 

 Now all fear isn’t bad.  Some fears are useful emotions, protecting us from harm, offering us guidance and forcing us to move quickly into action….e.g., the primitive fight/flight response that signals, protects and saves our lives. 

 But when we delay in taking action or refuse to face the fear, it depletes our passion for living.  It is one of the biggest obstacles we humans have to face and which, if ignored, intensify in strength. 

 All of us have hurtful memories from the past. Most fears stem from our belief system instilled in us as a child by our parents, teachers, siblings, friends, etc..  In order to protect ourselves from repeating these painful experiences again, we build up our defenses—very often we cling to old habits and patterns because breaking free of old habits can actually feel like we’re dying.  Nothing stops us from letting go of these useless patterns but it can take some of us years before we can actually let the old self-die.  Symptoms of fear can cause ulcers, nausea, tightness in the chest and back and neck, an uneasy mind, sweating and a rapid heartbeat. 

 To master our fear we must take it in hand and resist succumbing to its panic—if we give away our power to fear, we become its puppet.

  

TRANSFORMING FEAR INTO UNDERSTANDING

 Meditation can gently steer us away from our thoughts and emotions and put us back in charge of our lives—it helps to restore our relationship with ourselves and put us back on the ground.  This is a wonderful awareness/relaxation exercise I received from a wonderful friend many years ago.  It teaches you to transform the stresses in your life by changing the way you look at them.  

 Begin to observe yourself day to day so that you are able to see when fear is approaching from a distance or catch it happening.  Then accept it!  If you fight it or try to suppress it or get angry at yourself for reacting to it, you’ll get more tense and lose more energy.  Just recognize and allow yourself to feel the symptoms in your body.

 Fear causes us to tense up, when you feel this happening, consciously begin to relax by breathing more slowly and deeply.  Your emotions are intimately connected to your breathing patterns—by changing your pattern, you will quickly be able to change any train of thought, even a stressful one.  A change in breathing also changes the physical responses that go with emotional or mental tensions, such as tightness in the abdomen or shoulders.

 The beauty of it is that deep breathing can be practiced anywhere without anyone even noticing—at work, while traveling, or in a situation of confrontation.  So when you feel your body beginning to experience fear, immediately begin to take long, deep, regular breaths.

 The natural way of breathing when relaxed is deeply and steadily—just watch a sleeping child or an animal at rest.  As you breath more deeply you will feel refreshing because you are taking in more energy/oxygen/prana.  You will also feel calmer and more objective and able to deal with the situation more efficiently.

 Recognize whether you are experiencing a fight response or a flight response, and see if you can change your thinking/attitude about the situation.

 Recognize what you want from the situation and are not getting, and see if you can drop that desire.  Accept what is actually happening, rather than trying to fight mentally and emotionally for what you want to have happen.

 Examine your daily routine to see if you are creating physical situations that predispose you to experience fear, stress or tension.  For example, you will be more likely to feel tension if any of the following are true:  you are overtired from lack of sleep; *you have overeaten or eaten the wrong kinds of food or too late at night; you have taken too many stimulants, such as coffee, alcohol, or cigarettes; you habitually overwork; you don’t get enough play and recreation; or you don’t get enough fresh air and exercise.

 (*Try not to eat when you’re angry, excited, tense, depressed, upset, on the run or tired.  Wait until your mind becomes calm and your ‘natural’ hunger returns.  When your tense the hunger you feel isn’t true hunger…it’s mentally induced hunger, designed as an outlet for your nervousness and anxieties.  True hunger arises only when you are relaxed.)

 See where you can make changes—small ones, one at a time.  Don’t take on too much!  Just regulate your sleep, for instance, or try walking instead of driving once in a while to get more fresh air and exercise.

 Incorporate some specific physical and mental techniques into your daily schedule, such as walking, meditation, or sports.  Also take time out to lie down and relax deeply once a day for fifteen to twenty minutes.

HEALING FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS

 “Not only does your food consist of “energy, frequency, and vibration,” but its energy is also always in motion. Beneath the surface of that red apple on your kitchen counter or the buttered toast on your breakfast table exists a river of energy force fields that swirl into form, dissolve, and coalesce once again. All life is energy, and in every moment, we’re immersed in a great ocean of it. It’s constantly ebbing and flowing in constant, ever-changing currents that pulsate through time and space. In every morsel of food you eat, there’s an infinite, yet patterned, timeless cosmic order of waves of pulsating electrons that spiral in and out of existence, which have a profound impact on your body and on your life.” The Mystic Cookbook – Eat for Enlightenment ~ By Denise Linn and Meadow Linn

 The Mystic Cookbook video – how to create a chakra meal and so many more http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOjEccORdW4&feature=youtu.be

More Mystic Cookbook Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMysticCookbook

 Peptic Ulcer  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peptic-ulcer/DS00242/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

 Glutamine for stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/article/487930-glutamine-for-stomach-ulcers/

 Stomach ulcers and probiotics http://www.livestrong.com/article/475443-stomach-ulcers-probiotics/

Fenugreek for stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/article/471095-fenugreek-for-stomach-ulcers/

Tumeric for stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/article/467947-turmeric-for-stomach-ulcers/

All kinds of links re: stomach ulcers http://www.livestrong.com/stomach-ulcers/

 

Stay tuned for the next upcoming article – Metaphysical Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) where we continue to discuss more metaphysical information on the stomach/solar plexus area.

“The stomach and esophagus come together at the bottom end of our ribcage, beneath our heart…..that’s why when it hurts, we call it heartburn. Heartburn can happen from an attack on our self esteem, a feeling of being trapped, competitiveness, a hostile environment, or anxious and overwhelmed by responsibilities.  Chronic anxiety and worry is closely associated with ulcers and is associated with perfectionism.  Perfectionists are very hard on themselves and others, demanding the best at all times.  They find fault in almost everything they do—they’re appearance, their homes, relationships, children, clothes, cars—they can frustrate us to no end with their constant bickering and never-ending insistence that everything has to be perfect.

Perfectionists suffer from a lack of safety,never letting their guard down because if not, all hell will break loose. Their insecurities come from (to be continued………”)

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

 

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Food isn’t the only cholesterol source……we produce about 60% of it in our bodies!! The more cholesterol we eat, the less we produce. Reducing or increasing our cholesterol intake will alter the cholesterol levels in our blood by only about 15%. Cholesterol in the body doesn’t cause heart attacks…..the problem is when it sticks to the arterial walls.

From the April 5th issue of this blog….

“According to Dr. Paul Ridker, a Harvard University medical professor, those of us who express a highly tuned immune system – and therefore a faster and more intense inflammatory response – may be at greater risk for a heart attack than those who have higher levels of cholesterol but lower levels of inflammation. This may answer the question: why do some people with advanced heart disease (i.e., badly blocked arteries) survive years, while others, whose levels of cholesterol and arterial congestion is relatively low, had heart attacks? Further it drives home how important it is to your health to control excess inflammation.”Alive Magazine, February 2007, No. 292

Cholesterol is a steriod substance (Steroids include such well known compounds as cholesterol, sex hormones, birth control pills, cortisone, and anabolic steroids) present in the blood, the brain, and all other tissues throughout the body and as we know, in foods. Pure cholesterol looks like white crystals, something like sugar, but dissolves in fat not in water. It is manufactured and regulated mostly in the liver and adrenal glands, formed into an alkaline digestive fluid called Bile and then taken to the Gall Bladder which stores this Bile, until it is required for the break down of Lipids (foods that contain fats and oils) Bile also assists the digestive action of the pancreas gland which produces three essential digestive enzymes…Lipase, Amylase and Trypsin. The amount of cholesterol is minute…..Bile consists of mostly water. Understanding this, we can see the possibility of how gallstones (too much cholesterol) could be formed. It is undoubtedly one the key ingredients in the metabolism of the body as well as keeping fluids fluids in the body from leaking out and from external fluids from seeping in. In other words, we need it! The question is…..how much??

(The Solar Plexus (ruler of the stomach, liver, pancreas, etc.) is one of the most important chakras because it controls and energizes and affects so many vital organs…especially the Heart!. Although it’s been deemed yellow, the 3rd chakra also contains red, yellow, green and blue energies……more on this in the next segment)

“Metabolism refers to the physical and chemical processes that occur inside the cells of the body and that maintain life. Metabolism consists of anabolism (the constructive phase) and catabolism (the destructive phase, in which complex materials are broken down). The transformation of the macronutrients carbohydrates, fats and proteins in food to energy and other physiological processes are parts of the metabolic process. ATP (adinosene triphosphate is the major form of energy used for cellular metabolism.”
http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Met-Obe/Metabolism.html

The Good and Bad Cholesterol/HDL/LDL

Most of the fats that travel around the body are in the form of lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are basically water and fat-like lipids that are so tiny, they float around in the liquid portion (plasma) of our blood. Three important lipoproteins are cholesterol, phospholipids (polyunsaturated fats/lecithin) and triglycerides (fatty acids/coconut oil) .

Lipoproteins are produced mainly in the liver as VLDLs (very-low-density lipoprotein). Our muscles use Triglycerides immediately to generate energy; fat cells store them for future use…when we really really need them. If we take away triglycerdes out of the VLDL package….we are left with smaller particles called LDL also known as ‘bad cholesterol’ or ‘cholesterol litter bugs’ that think nothing of dropping excess cholesterol via the bloodstream, along the busiest pipelines/arteries of our body. This excess litter/buildup is known as plaque.

HDL is known as the ‘good cholesterol’. They are the clean up crew that pick up the excess cholesterol and take it back to the liver to be reprocessed or excreted. So LDL distributes cholesterol and trigylcerides and HDL picks up what was left behind and takes it back.

What have we learned from this? Cholesterol does not cause heart attacks…..it is the excess sticking to the arterial walls that does it! What we want is our HDL count to be high and our LDL count low.

When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, the blood gets thicker. And when blood gets thicker it doesn’t circulate as well through the body…..it makes the heart pump harder. Over time, the cholesterol (fat) gathers in the nooks and crannies of the the arteries causing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis happens when fat and calcium build up in the arterial walls. So why and how does calcium start building up in the arteries in the first place?

THE PARATHYROID GLANDS
In the April 24th issue of this blog, I quote from http://www.parathyroid.com/parathyroid-function.htm

“The sole purpose of the parathyroid glands is to control calcium within the blood in a very tight range between 8.8 and 10.2. In doing so, parathyroids also control how much calcium is in the bones, and therefore, how strong and dense the bones are. Although the parathyroid glands are located next to (and sometimes inside) the thyroid gland, they have no related function. The thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism and has no effect on calcium levels while parathyroid glands regulate calcium levels and have no effect on metabolism. Calcium is the element that allows the normal conduction of electrical currents along nerves–its how our nervous system works and how one nerve ‘talks’ to the next. Our entire brain works by fluxes of calcium into and out of the nerve cells. Calcium is also the primary element which causes muscles to contract.”

The reason I repeated this information on the parathyroids is because so many of us as we reach our middle years, start taking vitamins, especially calcium to supplement our diet. Men and women alike are prone to bone loss and possibily osteoporosis. Osteoporosis means porous bones. And what is the primary mineral of bone……calcium. So we eagerly add calcium to our diets but if our parathryoids aren’t working as they should…..or if we can’t utilize large quantities in the body….where does it go?

This leads us back to the original question….why and how does calcium build up in the arteries.

From CTV.ca http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080116/calcium_study_080116/20080116/

“Calcium supplementation in healthy postmenopausal women is associated with upward trends in cardiovascular event rates,” reads the study, published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.

Overall, 1,471 healthy older women — with an average age of 74 — participated in the five-year study led by Ian Reid of the University of Auckland………

Researchers confirmed 36 heart attacks in 31 women who took the calcium supplements, compared with 22 heart attacks in 21 women who took the placebo………

The study suggests that calcium supplements accelerate the formation of deposits in the arteries that could lead to a heart attack because the supplement increases blood calcium levels….

and……

Vieth contends that postmenopausal women should simply take vitamin D to counteract any potential risk of heart attack associated with calcium supplements.
“Take the straightforward calcium carbonate, incorporate vitamin D with it, because that is associated with protection against cardiovascular disease,” he said.”

More links on Calcium supplementation and heart disease (most are related to the study above)

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=86453http://www.abc.net/ audio http://www.abc.net.au/health/minutes/stories/2008/01/29/2148719.htm

Calcium Citrate and Calcium Carbonate…..lots of info here http://www.mongabay.com/health/medications/Calcium_Citrate.html

Coral Calcium http://www.abc.net.au/health/minutes/stories/2008/01/29/2148719.htm

Interesting links on Cholesterol
http://www.answers.com/topic/cholesterol
http://www.answers.com/topic/phospholipid
http://www.answers.com/topic/triglyceride

UNCONTROLLED INFLAMMATION vs. HIGH LDL CHOLESTEROL

From Active Magazine – February 2007 http://www.alive.com/5860a15a2.php

“Most of us know the effects of being overweight where the heart is concerned. Unfortunately, what is less well known is the effect of excess inflammation on the heart. You may associate inflammation with the redness, swelling, or heat you see or feel when you get a cut, bite, or minor infection, or with the pain you feel in a swollen joint (as in arthritis). But uncontrolled inflammation is also at the root of heart disease…….

Because modern practitioners believe that a high LDL cholesterol level (the “bad” kind) is the main cause of heart disease, they prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) to people who are at risk for heart disease. However, ongoing studies have revealed that more than half of the individuals who experience heart attacks have LDL cholesterol levels within normal range. It turns out that uncontrolled inflammation has been linked to heart disease since 1985, yet we are only now beginning to accept this realization.

It is important to understand that inflammation is normally a controlled reaction initiated by the immune system to help correct or repair a problem. Inflammation can begin with a small tear in an arterial wall, causing the immune system to send specialized cells and cholesterol to repair the damage by covering it with plaque. However, over time, the plaque builds up, causing a narrowing of the arterial space (atherosclerosis). Excess inflammation can cause plaque to break free, which may result in the formation of a blood clot that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Numerous researchers believe that excess inflammation may be the trigger for a heart attack.”

This informative article suggests asking your doctor to check for C-reactive protein in your blood as well as increasing omega 3 fatty acids such as flax seed, hempseed and fish oils. It also says to avoid excessive consumption of meats, egg yolks and dairy products. It also advices taking supplements that can reduce inflammation such as tumeric, ginger, rosemary and thyme.

More interesting links from Alive Magazine

Coronary heart disease http://www.alive.com/5861a15a2.php

Atherosclerosis http://www.healthmad.com/tags/atherosclerosis

10 tips for a healthy heart http://www.alive.com/5864a15a2.php

After reading all this you decide you’ll increase your milk intake……think again! Milk is high in calcium, unfortunately when it is pasteurized the bonds that hold the minerals in it are altered and the calcium cannot be assimilated as well in our bodies. There have been many tests done to this point. Twin calves for example were used in a study where one suckled from its mother and the other drank pasteurized milk. The calf that drank pasteurized milk died within sixty days. Why? It is believed an important enzyme (phosphatase) which helps assimilate minerals in milk was destroyed during pasteurization.

Interesting link on Pasteurization http://www.1800naturalhealing.com/pasteurization.html

And another http://www.realmilk.com/whichchoose.html

I don’t want to get off the topic of this blog – Cholesterol….but hopefully you can see that before we start supplementing our diets with anything, we have to do our homework! There are some really great health stores out there, however they also want to sell, sell, sell! What may be beneficial to one customer may be detrimental to another.

“The key to all learning, all balance in all areas of our life, lies within that precept, “Know thyself’ –a simple enough azium–and yet it is one that creates tremendous difficulty with many. Most people are unwilling to take the time to know themselves and thus they give that responsibility and power over to others. They hire others to know for them…..Theoretically, it sounds good, but ultimately it cannot be done.” Ted Andrews, The Healer’s Manual

If you are due a blood test or considering have one, ask your doctor to include the parathyroids and C-reactive proteins in the list……also have him/her check your vitamin D levels.

We’ll be covering the topic of Osteoporosis, calcium supplements,minerals, protein and more soon.
to be continued….

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GIVING AND RECEIVING

The other day a friend asked me an astrological question regarding the North Node or True Node. As I attempted to answer her question, explaining the energies of both the North and South Node an interesting parallel to my last post came into focus. The Nodes are not planets but points where the Moon’s orbit intersect the Earth’s orbit. They signify the balance between receiving (North) and giving (South) in a person’s energy.

The North Node is connected to challenges, growth and moving beyond one’s boundaries…..it shows where we need to draw on other people’s support in order to reach our full potential. The South ‘on the other hand’ represents past achievements and shows us what we are already familiar with and can easily accomplish in this lifetime.

If these two energies are not in balance, there won’t be a link between our consciousness and unconscious, between mind and body, between spirit and psyche. Without this balance our heartfelt desires are deprived of bringing what we love into existence. We become stressed, frustrated, restricting the flow of energy to the heart, the most important central organ/muscle in the body. The fiery enthusiasm of the soul’s quest becomes depleted, losing its tremendous sense of pride and will. Instead of flowing outward from our center (self-worth), we find ourselves looking to others to help us decide our fate in the world. Our energy shrinks rather than expands affecting the heart and every organ, muscle, tissue, cell in the body. We lose contact with our vitality and our soul.

The adrenal glands, crucial in focusing our force of will, becomes exhausted causing wear and tear on the body. Instead of producing endorphins (happy heartfelt emotions) it produces an excess of cortisol, depressing the immune system, increasing blood pressure and cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can cause calcium deposits to harden in our veins and arteries (cardiovascular system)…..our digestive system slows down, causing stomach ulcers, brittle bones, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, cancer, etc.

From http://www.worldwidehealthcenter.net/articles-415.html

Chronically excess cortisol may contribute to many diseases, including cancer, ulcers, heart attacks, diabetes, infections, alcoholism, strokes, skin diseases, psychosis, and possibly Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.5 Cortisol excess may contribute to obesity not only because of the metabolic derangements (including insulin resistance) that it promotes, but also because it induces “stress overeating,”

The above site helps us to understand how cortisol when balanced, can enhance our system…..and too much, can deplete it.

This proves that giving and receiving, loving another and loving ourselves is crucial and vital to the health of our heart and soul.

In this section we’re going to look at several different methods of stimulating, transforming and implementing a change of heart. We’ll look at nutrition, stretching exercises, yoga, breathing exercises, relaxation, music, dance, etc. that will help us recharge our batteries, let go of tension, strengthen our will, our self-worth and our ability to give/receive and lovingly connect with others.

NUTRITION

FRUITS

The winter holidays wouldn’t be complete without the addition of cranberries. Hmm, cranberry juice, sauces and jellies are a delight with stuffing and turkey. In fact cranberries are considered a potent source of antioxidants which help to cleanse and purify the body and a protector of heart disease and even cancer. But wait a minute you say, cranberries are known to treat urinary tract infections……and now you’re saying the heart too? Absolutely!!

“Three glasses of cranberry juice just might keep the cardiologist at bay.
That’s the suggestion of a small new study presented March 24 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. Researchers from the University of Scranton suggested that nutrients found in cranberry juice can effectively reduce the risk of heart disease — in some cases, up to 40 percent — mostly by increasing levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. The juice was also shown to increase blood levels of antioxidant nutrients by up to 121 percent.”

http://preventdisease.com/news/articles/cranberry_juice_reduce_heart_disease.shtml

Also,

http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_health_benefits_of_cranberries
“Cranberries and Heart DiseaseBecause they contain flavonoids, studies reported by WebMD Medical News suggest that cranberries can be a weapon in the war against atherosclerosis, or what they used to call “hardening of the arteries”. Flavonoids help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol clogging the walls of your arteries while increasing the level of good cholesterol in your system.”

In fact if you google (cranberries) heart, you’ll learn a great deal about this fruit and its incredible source of nutrition, vitamins, antioxidants and as mentioned above, flavonoids.

Cranberries aren’t the only fruit that helps to heal the heart. Dark colored juices of grapes, beets and blueberries help to increase the production of red blood cells, supply the blood and tissues with potassiusm as well as eliminate accumulated salt from the tissues…..lowering blood pressure. Other fruits that drain out pounds of fluid (natural diuretics) are watermelon, watercress, pears, peaches and nectarines (to name a few). Citrus, black currants and grapes also helps in lowering blood pressure. Papaya contains an enzyme called carpain which has been seen helpful for the heart.

Potassium also helps in regulating the heartbeat and in combination with natural mineral Sodium (not table salt) helps to prevent hardening of the arteries. Pomegranates and its juice contains polyphenols (antioxidants) also combacts this disease as well as prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Fruits are the best cleansers of the body and 20-30% of our daily food supply should be fresh fruits. All fresh fruits are alkaline and vital for body development and repair….fruits store one of the greastest natural sources of energy on our planet….the Sun/Solar Energy.

Winter is a hard time to find fresh fruit…..frozen fruits work just as well.

VEGETABLES

We all heard the healing power of garlics and onions. Both of these are powerful in dissolving cholesterol and the gooey sludge that causes hardening of the arteries. Garlic also helps to increase the absorption of thiamine (B1)….without B1, or a deficiency of, we can suffer from shortness of breath and irregular heart beat.

B1 is found in many vegetables, some examples are artichokes, asparagus, avocado, brussel sprouts, dandelion, parsley, watercress as well as in rice bran, wheat germ, nuts and beans, etc..

Celery is a rich source of the important ‘natural’ mineral Sodium. Sodium is known to keep other mineral elements soluble in the bloodstream which helps to prevent a buildup of solid deposits. It also supplies the body with calcium, phospohorous, magnesium and vitamins A & C…..all of these help in the absorption and metabolism of calcium in the body. This vegetable and its cleansing action of the bloodstream is also helpful to those who struggle with weight problems.

Cucumbers improve circulation of the blood. Cucumbers contain an excellent source of vitamin E – the muscle vitamin. A lack of vitamin E slows down the effectiveness of muscles, especially the heart muscle. Vitamin E has recently been under alot of controversy…..

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138184,00.html

“Vitamin E hasn’t proven to be good for the heart, and now a study suggests that too much vitamin E — daily doses of 400 IU or more — actually increases the risk of dying, according to new findings.”

Is the above statement true? I’m not sure….but food naturally containing vitamin E are safe! They help to improve circulation of the blood by dilating the blood vessels, even the smaller ones and also helps to nourish the cells, strengthen capillary walls and help in healing skin tissue that has been damaged. Vitamin E also helps to detoxify harmful pollutants we breathe in from our environment suc as industrial pollutants, exhaust fumes from cars, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and even preservatives.

I tried to find an intense list of vitamin E foods and couldn’t find them all in one place and decided to complile a list of my own….

Foods Rich In Vitamin E (not in alphabetical order)

Alfala Sprouts, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Avocado, Carrots, Lettuce, Grapefruit, Corn, Peas, Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Chestnuts, Pumpin Seed, Wheat germ and wheat germ oil, Sesame seeds, Almonds, Hazel huts, Rice, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Walnuts, Sunflowers Seeds, Oats, Pecan Nuts, Barley, Beans, Potatoes,

and I’m sure the list would go on……in fact a great resource for all vitamins and minerals can be found at this site http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/focus/nutrition/facts/vitamins_minerals/vitamin.htm

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of antioxidant cartenoids (beta-carotene) that help protect our bodies from heart disease and cancer by boosting our immune system. They also help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Broccoli as well is an excellent antioxidant http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/broccoli.php

From http://www.alive.com/285a1a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=489
“The brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, is one of your most powerful weapons in warding off many common diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

All fruits and vegetables are valuable sources of nutrients that fight disease. They are naturally low in fat, cholesterol, calories and sodium; but rich in potassium, fibre, folic acid, beta-carotene and vitamins C and K. In fact, it is estimated that cancer rates would drop 20 per cent if Canadians ate five to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. And it is the brassica family that contains the highest level of disease-fighting substances per serving. “

JUICING

I bought a juicer years ago and used it faithfully for about 3 months. It had been sitting in my laundry room and recently was resurrected and moved back to the kitchen. Juicing is making a comeback…..in my life anyways. As I’ve learned more and more about raw fruits and vegetables and their potent healing powers of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, the more I am eating and drinking them.

There are loads of recipes on the net to start juicing your way to health. Below, are a couple to get you started. It is recommended if you’re going to buy a juicer to get the masticating juicer that chews up the plant pulp and extracts the juice. Electric centrifugal juicers are good too. Just make sure the blades are stainless steel and not aluminum…..aluminum can react with the fruit acids.

Cholesterol fighting juice and more http://www.healthmad.com/Fitness/10-Exotic-and-Healthy-Juice-Recipes.82062

http://www.healingdaily.com/juicing-for-health/juicing-recipes.htm

MEATS AND POULTRY

Another controversial topic! Are meats good for us? An excellent and rich site regarding the pros and cons of meat is here…

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/is-meat-good-or-bad-for-us-425192.html

It’s heading states…..”It’s the best natural source of iron and protein – but it has also been linked to cancer. Maxine Frith investigates the pros and cons”

This site also talks of meat being the best source of zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. It talks of high protein diets and their advantages to weight loss.

It also talks of the different meats…..”The three official red meats are pork, lamb and beef. Pork is the leanest, lamb the fattiest and beef the most nutritious.”

Definitely an interesting read!

Too much meat can affect our bodies and our thoughts. Meat is said to have a contractive effect, making the body to focus inward and ‘tighten down’. Vegetables and fruits are alkaline in nature as is our bodies….meat is very acidic. Our cells live in an alkaline environment….as they work to keep you healthy, they naturally produce an acid that our body’s in turn eliminate through the lungs. It’s your body’s way of getting rid of the acid created and generated from your hard working cells.

Our goal is not to add to this acidity by over-eating acid producing foods such as meats, poultry, nuts and even too much fish. A balance of all essential food groups is necessary for optinum growth and health.

The best foods to combine with meats and poulty are steamed or cooked vegetables with leafy green vegetables.

My father suffered health problems, especially heart related most of his adult life. His will to live led him to discover what combination of foods were best to enjoy life and have better health. He eliminated certain foods in his diet, reduced the intake of salt, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, processed foods and snacks high in fats. He ate a diet rich in cooked fruits and vegetables as well as raw (used a juicer)…..and less in the meat and poultry department. About 25% of his diet consisted of meat and poultry, which helped him to live over the age of 80.

I do believe poultry is valuable to the diet…..Chicken and their eggs offers us a complete source of protein…….turkey (and chicken) contains Tryptophan, an amino acid our bodies cannot produce on its own. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan

The holiday season is upon us and many will be cooking the traditional turkey dinner with dressing with cranberries – yum! It was quite timely to find this wonderful site on eating turkey http://chemistry.about.com/od/holidaysseasons/a/tiredturkey.htm and if it makes us sleepy. It does talk of turkey containing Tryptophan and includes the influence of carbohydrates, overeating, alcohol and fats contributing to that sleepy feeling.

FISH

“A word of caution: live fishes may absorb contaminants found in the waters. Methyl mercury and PolyChlorinated Biphenyls that fish absorb by fishes may cause harm.
Research says that pregnant women and children should limit their intake of high-mercury species like swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, among others. Farmed fish like salmon have little mercury, but they may have PCBs.
Health Watch recommends peeling the skin and fat of the fish before cooking to minimise harm. They also suggest limiting the consumption of farmed and wild salmon. ” http://www.rediff.com/getahead/2005/apr/13fish.htm

Geez, everything we eat has a caution of some kind or another. With meat, we have Mad Cow Disease, with poultry the Bird Flu. However, adding fish to your weekly diet is still probably good for you, but I’d keep your protein intake at about 25% and the other 75% vegetables and fruits with a side of rice or potato.

Fish contains a high amount of the Omega 3 fatty acids and studies have shown it helps to lower cholesterol, prevents hardened arteries, decrease heart attacks and promotes a healthy circulatory system.

For seafood lovers, remember that crayfish, caviar, oysters, lobsters, crabs are very high in cholesterol.

“There are two fatty acids that are critical. They are ones deemed “essential” because we need them for our survival but our bodies cannot make them. We have to get them from food. They are linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) [polyunsaturates]. Without these essential fatty acids we perish. With enough of them (and in the presence of adequate vitamins and minerals), the body can manufacture all of the other fatty acids it needs –into arachidonic, gamma-linolenic, and many others……….

Our primitive ancestors had an answer. They were unable to extract oils from plants. They got all of the essential fatty acids they needed from the natural whole foods they ate, including poultry fat, animal fat, fish, avocado, egg yolk, olives, buter, nuts, and seeds and the like. There is wisdom in consuming our polunsaturates as part of the whole nut or seed, where nature’s package protects them from deterioration. It is risky to consume them as extracted and refined oils, in unnatural and potentially dangerous proportions……

Fish body oils contain unique polyunsaturates. The principal one of these is E.P.A. (eicosapentaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid that has been demonstrated to improve the flow characteristics of the blood. It prevents blood cells from sticking together to form clots that might otherwise prematurely plug up the arteries. E.P.A. also tends (a) to reduce serum triglycerides and total serum cholesterol and (b) to increase H.D.L. cholesterol (the “good” kind). E.P.A. is nature’s “antifreeze”, to keep the fish’s body from stiffening up from cold temperatures. Therefore, the colder the water the fish lives in, the higher its E.P.A. content. Almost any fish will do, but the best sources are salmon, mackerel, cod, herring, haddock, trout, whitefish, oysters and squid.” David W. Rowland, The Nutritional Bypass

SUMMARY

It seems that more and more we are somehow being pushed away from the ‘processed’ food industry. Recently, in Canada, we suffered a Listeria scare (bacteria) with processed meats that became a nationwide problem. We are discovering if we want to be and stay healthy, the body needs ‘whole foods’ not processed foods that considerably reduce the nutritional value of its content….they are also very high in salt, additives and chemicals. The more chemicals we injest, the harder our bodies have to work to eliminate these harmful substances….what can’t be eliminated begins to buildup and create havoc in our system. And the body’s health and energy becomes more and more depleted.

Is Mother Nature trying to give us a hint that we were designed to eats food grown naturally from the earth and not processed by man? Indeed I think She is! The Earth provides us with fresh ready-made whole foods in the form of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts. Fresh meat, not processed, is beneficial as well, although too much of it is hard to digest on the body.

As I have looked to eat healthier, I’ve noticed my tendency to eat foods given to me as a child as well as those common to my culture. As my knowledge of the different food groups and what they have to offer has changed, so have my eating habits. Some foods tried didn’t have such an appeal, but many others did. Learning the nutrient content of vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. and eating them has helped to improve my health.

Do I still eat processed and quick fix foods? Oh yes, but not as much as I used too! I still treat myself to my favorite foods, pizza, chocolate cake and apple pie, yum…..just not as often!

Fast foods are so convenient with our busy schedules, we throw it into the oven and literally scarf it down. Something I have done with my meals is add celery sticks, cucumbers and other raw vegetables and fruits to the meal. Also, the Crock Pot has made a comeback in many homes. There are hundreds of recipes on the net that taste great and easy and simple to prepare.

Although supplements weren’t discussed in this blog, we do need to look at why we find ourselves taking them to feel better. The more I’ve learned about the different food groups and the gifts they offer, the more I have reduced my visits to the health store. We need to seriously look at why we take something to physically ‘feel better’….obviously something is amiss within our diet. Supplements definitely do help, don’t get me wrong, especially with the deterioration of nutrients in our soil caused by chemicals, pollutants and bug sprays.

The next section on this blog turns our attention on triglycerides, carbohydrates and fats.  Triglycerides are produced in the liver from carbohydrates.  They are also the fatty substance (lipids) in the blood.  Too much fat can clog our arteries as well as protein and carbohydrates.

to be continued….

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“Louise Hay urges us to think of the heart as the center of joy and the seat of emotions in our lives. How well your life’s blood flows through your heart, arteries, and veins is linked to the degree which joy flows through your life. Cholesterol-blocked arteries symbolize a blocking of the flow of joy, or a suppression of emotion. Heart attacks, Hay says, happens when all the joy has been squeezed out of your heart………..moreover, we know that unresolved and unexpressed anger, sadness, and fear actually cause vasoconstriction, a tightening of the blood vessels connected to the heart. When you feel anger or fear, these blood vessels contrict in response to an outpouring of chemicals from the sympathetic nervous system……Joy and love stimulate the parasympatheic nervous system, which opens the blood vessels and creates more blood to flow to your heart…….Feeling and expressing all emotions, in a balanced way, is essential to health in the fourth emotional center [4th chakra].”
Mona Lisa Schulz

Physically, the Heart Chakra is the heart, circulatory system, lungs, respiriatory system, immune system and the arms and hands. This is the centre through which we love and there are many different kinds of love….selfish, demanding, possessive, contricting, tender and caring. When this chakra is balanced, we experience a ‘spiritual love’ in human beings and discover a greater sensitiviy and not so great a concern for material objects.

When this chakra is out of balance, it can lead to heart attacks, stomach ulcers, emotional rollercoasters, fear, bitterness and resentment.

There are six meridians in the arms and hands which we will go into great detail soon. First we need to get to the heart of matter.

GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

Suppressed Emotions And Attitudes

It has been said that suppressed emotions are the major cause of dis-ease in our society. Regrets, sorrow, guilt, shame, tear down the cells of he body while thoughts of hate generate a deadly poison. Resentment and anger have been known to create sickness and sorrow. Also, parents who dominate and control their children or fear for them…….their thoughts and anxieties are transferred to the child. The child acts out the parents feelings, producing behavioral and health problems for them both. In fact, parents can smother their children so much, the child’s soul is driven out of his/her body. These children lose their effectiveness to see the ‘Truth’ and their ‘diseased thought patterns’, ‘hardened attitudes’ begin building up as plague in their arteries.

In fact, Low blood pressure could be the result of feeling ineffectual or trapped. It portrays a feeling of weakness in certain life situations and unable to change one’s situation.

Psychologists and researchers have discovered that people who are able to express ‘love’ are healthier, tend to sick less and if they do, regain their health more quickly. Also they age more slowly, have better color, great skin, good posture and a healthy circulation. It is believed that thinking back to a ‘love’ moment creates interesting chemical changes in the body that balances the life flow in the body and brings peace to body and mind.

Of course let’s not forget processed foods, fatty acids, fast foods and years of dietary abuse. If you just tuned in, check out the archives for September and October in this blog for more information.

HARD-DRIVEN, HOT-HEADED TYPE A PERSONALITIES

When quoting Mona Lisa Scultz in this section, I purposely left out her comment on Type A personalities so we could discuss this at greater length later. She said “a vast number of heart attack victims are so-called type A personalities, often driven men whose passion derives exclusively from money, power, and position and who aren’t really much of a joy to have around.” And what of the women? Statistics are showing more and more women are suffering heart attacks too.

The heart, the mighty pump never stops working as long as you are living. But an overload of stress, anxiety and tension have been proven to erode vital blood vessels, the heart muscle itself and the physical body. People who are angry, competitive and always racing the clock can’t seem to relax even when the body is on automatic pilot or sleeping. Researchers and scientists named this type of behavior “Type A”, and also noted it was a common characteristic type for heart attack victms.

Type A people when in a ‘destructive mode’ are more likely to get angered and stressed over little frustrations, e.g., traffic jams, ticket and shopping lines, and little irritants that make their blood ‘boil’ regularly which acts upon the victim they least intend – themselves! The heart has to work harder, the blood pressure goes up and the liver, sensing a possilibity of injury, increases its cholesterol output. Put this all together and we get what is called Hypertension….the most probable cause of Heart Attacks.

But what is the major contributor to all this? I’m sure we could all say we have behaved from the extremes of Type A to the more laid back Type B behavior. Are Type A’s so gongho they don’t hear or ignore signals from their body? Most of us have pushed our bodies and minds to the max, which we know leads to physical tension, mental restlessness and strain. What we did was deplete our bodies energy, which also suffered wear and tear. Type B’s would respond to the body’s call but what of Type A? Would they continue to neglect the warning signs sent to the mind via the nervous system because their too busy negotiating deals, making money, working 24/7?

When we feel tired or fatiqued, it is a warning signal from the body to slow down and rest. But neglecting these messages the body will intensify these warnings with a headach, backache, eyestrain or irritability. If we still ignore the warnings or try to suppress them with medication, the body will continue to deteriorate. The signals will become so strong, they will force us to see medical help…..by then the body is in need of urgent attention.

High blood pressure can develop into angina, a narrowing of the arteries which happens when we are under great mental and physical stress. Mental and physical stress reduces our ability to give as well as to receive…..Type A’s have a strong need or are preoccupied with staying in control. They want to do everything themselves. This depletes their inner resources which is not continuously filled from learning or receiving from others. or receiving intuitive insights.

With high blood pressure, one has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, which leads a person to believe that he or she will have to do everything on their own. they are pushed from a position of fear, without trusting in the universe to support them.

When we withdraw or repress our feelings Artheriosclerosis, a thickening or hardening of the arteries can develop. Energetically it means we are out of balance, especially of giving and receiving.

ARTERIOSCLEROSIS, by Dep Shapiro

“In bodymind language, the arteries and veins represent the distribution and expression of love throughout your being. A restriction of these vessels implies a restriction in your ability to express yourself, perhaps a withdrawal or repression of feeling, and in particular a narrowing of your emotinal perspectives.
 
* Are you limiting or denying yourself love or support?

* Is this because you are trying to do much and not recognizing your own needs, not seeing where you need to ask for help?
…………
*Are you holding yourself back from involvement”


I found this interesting site Effects of an Angry Temperament on Coronary Heart Disease
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/154/3/230

and this…..How to control Anger http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/How_To_Control_Anger

The Spielberger Temper Test

Dr. Spielberger developed an anger test that measures our general tendency to get angry and the intensity of anger at a given moment. High scores have been related to Hypertension which is one the major contributors to heart attacks. Apparently the test compares your anger level to that of the average man or woman. But what is average?

I did finally find the test after quite a bit of searching, it’s here http://www.yourhealthconnection.com/topic/angerassess but when I tried it and submitted my answer it came back as ‘not answered’.

If you do want to try the test, and would like to score yourself, here’s where your answers place you with the ‘average ranks’. If you are a man and scored 17, or a woman who scored 18, than you are considered in the ‘average’ category. If you scored below 13, then others don’t tend to provoke a response from you. But if you scored 23 or higher, you are highly stress prone and considered in the ranks of the hotheads. It means you have a tendency to feel anger and rage when frustrated which is considered a potentially lethal to your health.

Emotional stress not only affects the heart but also the lungs which are an extension of the heart. In fact the movment of the heart and lungs affect all the organs of the body through the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system. (discussed in the September 21st issue of this blog)

Here’s a snip

“Blood pressure is controlled by the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system which works similar to a plane on ‘autopilot’. It ensures that your organs, such as your lungs or heart work without you thinking about it. Your awareness of this system is triggered when your body is threatened or needs (cries out) for your undivided attention. It is your nerves that carry these messages to the Thalamus also known as the ‘brains inner room’ . The Thalamus relays these nerve impulses to the cerebrum (responsible for our ability to speak, read and write) and helps you to realize ohh I’m in pain! Other areas of the brain tell you exactly where the hurt is coming from. The hypothalamus controls the movement of the heart, gut and bladder; makes us feel hungry, thirsty; feel angry or aggressive; and stops us from falling alseep during the day.”

Here’s a great site on the autonomic nervous system, which included the sympathetic… http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/auto.html

And wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sympathetic_nervous_system

Before looking at the heart chakra, let’s look at what happens when stress, anger, anxiety, etc. build up in our system…..a mixture of hormones are released by our adrenal glands (fight/flight response) which flows through the bloodstream and/or directly through the nerves. When this happens it suppresses our immune system. When the immune system is suppressed, it can’t work efficiently to protect the body which subsequently lowers our resistance to disease.

“We don’t yet understand all the ways in which brain chemicals are related to emotions and thoughts, but the salient point is that our state of mind has an immediate and direct effect on our state of body. We can change the body by dealing with how we feel. If we ignore our despair, the body receives a “die” message. If we deal with our pain and seek help, then the message is “Living is difficult but desirable”, and the immune systems works to keep us alive.” Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.

THE HEART CHAKRA

“Since the heart chakra is the middle point in a system of seven centers, balance is an essential principle at this level of integration. This implies both the internal balance between various aspects of ourselves (mind and body, persona and shadow, male and female), as well as balance between ourselves and the world around us (work and play, giving and receiving, socializing and being alone). Find this equilibrium supports the basic issues of love and relationship, for without balance with ourselves it is difficult, if not impossible to achieve healthy and long lasting love relationships…………..

The most common block in the heart chakra is the absence of self-love. How can we have intimacy with others if we are distanced from our own self? How can we reach out to others when we are drowning in shame and criticism? How can we maitain balance between ourselves and others if we have no blance within. How can we treat another with respect if we treat our selves abusively.” Anodea Judith, Eastern Body Western Mind

When the heart or 4th chakra is open, all the other chakras come into alignment with it. It is the “bridge” that connects the lower and upper chakras…and, the central powerhouse of the human energy system. The three lower chakras govern self-consciousness, survival and will. These chakras work together, and when balanced, create a receptacle for spiritual, universal messages as well as answers which are channeled through the physical body. So, the heart chakra connects our physical awareness to the spiritual……its sense is Touch. When we are born, we touch the earth and the earth touches us, physically, emotionally and symbolically. And, it is through touch we form relationships and create our existence. We touch each other physically but we are also touched by each other emotionally.

“On a mental level, the heart chakra functions on an emotional basis, our feelings and how we express them towards ourselves and to others. How we think gets turned into how we behave with our feelings on this level. When someone has acted badly towards us, the mind processes these actions and then sends these waves of information to our heart centre, who then in turns, sends them out as feelings of anger, fear or betrayal. When someone tells us that we are beautiful, our mind does the same. It sends these messages to the mind and the brain sends them to our heart centre and we experience feelings of love, joy and happiness, in return we emanate this energy out into our aura toward others. When we smile and radiate love outwards the whole world smiles back at us. It is the same when we are in a negative mood. The same energy comes outwards and lashes onto those around us. We have to learn just how powerful our feelings are, not only to ourselves, but to everyone we encounter. ” Terrific site on the chakras http://www.pharrah13.com/Chakra.html

Emotional neglect can also cause a person to become bitter, insensitive and perhaps even cruel. Abusive emotional behaviour is acted out not only with other people…..emotional neglect can lead to the abuse of animals, for instance, or a deep insensitivity to the needs of other forms of life including, the earth itself.

Without a strong foundation of Love, fear, anger, resentment and regret can develop in its place. All these as well as loneliness, attachment, possessiveness, a broken heart etc., can all lead to heart problems.

The heart is a pump! It freely circulates the blood through our veins. and does not like anyting restricting or limiting its function. This is why this chakra above all the others represents the saying, ‘Let go and let God’. The heart needs a sense of freedom or it will ‘act up’ trying to release itself from the grasp of its captor(s).

I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t had an emotional history of abandonment and betrayal. Overtime we try or succeed in letting some of these go. The ones that aren’t resolved, (grief. anger, etc.) affect our cholesterol levels, which not only begins to rise but also becomes inflamed and literally turns to stone. Your veins become hardened with calcium.

“When the heart is open and we feel the love of the universe percolating through our being, we feel the greatest security and self confidence. We learn to love without any attachment or feelings of possessiveness. When we truly realize who and what we are, fears and doubts vanish.” Alex Jones

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“The heart is the center of the cardiovascular system, with a network of vessels taking blood around the body. Oxygen and other essential nutrients are taken to every cell via the arteries, while de-oxygenated blood is carried back in the veins. The heart is the center of this system, and its symbolic relationship to love is deeply entrenched in our collective psyche. That the heart represents love is the one part of the bodymind we all, univerally agreed upon. The blood represents the circulation of that love, the giving and receiving seen in the constant flow to and from the heart.”
Deb Shapiro
 
HOW THE HEART WORKS
 
The heart is no bigger than your fist but powerful enough to squeeze itself at about 75 times each minute. It works like a pair of pumps……each having its own chamber. The lower chamber called the ventricles, does most of the pumping. Above each one is an atrium which works to temporarily store the blood. There are also one-way valves at the exit from each atrium and ventricle which stops the blood from flowing backward. Amazing!
 
The heart is covered by bags of protection called the pericardium. It is a multilayered sac filled with slippery pericardial fluid which prevents the heart from bursting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pericardium
 
The muscle wall of the heart is called the myocardium. There is no other muscle like it in the body. If it was left to beat on its own without the input of our brain it would beat at about a 100 beats a minute! It is our nerve impulses which actually slows it down to about 75 beats a minute or speeds it up depending on our emotional state at the time.
 
At the start of every cycle of the heartbeat, the muscles relax momentarily……blood pours into the right atrium. As the atrium contracts the valve known as the tricuspid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricuspid_valve opens and blood surges into the right ventricle. Blood vessels channel the blood around….the arteries carry blood out from the heart and it is our veins that return the blood to the heart.
 
It takes about 6 heartbeats for the blood to go all around the lungs and return to the heart. When the heart muscles relax, blood, rich in oxygen from the lungs whooshes into the left atrium. Blood gushes down from the atrium through the mitral (bisuspid) valve and into the left ventricle. While all this is going on the right atrium squeezes a bit before its partner on the left. When both atria squeeze they force blood down into both ventricles….the mitral valve closes and the left ventricle contracts. This forces blood up and out through the aortic valve into the aorta.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aortic_valve The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. As blood enters the aorta from the heart, it starts a pressure wave along the arteries. This wave is seen as a pulse and travels faster then the blood……arriving at the wrist in about a 10th of a second!!! It is the arterial pulse a doctor or nurse feels at the wrist and can also be felt in other areas of the body too…eg., the neck, the the pelvis, the knee, etc.
 
YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
 
‘Normal blood pressure’ is about 120/80. Blood presses against the walls of the blood vessels and reaches a maximum at the aorta but is lower in the arteries and lower still in capillaries and veins. To check your blood pressure, a physician inflates a cuff around your upper arm and slowly releases the compression until he/she can hear the blood pumping through the blood vessel. When the sound is first heard, it is recorded as systolic pressure. As the cuff continues to deflate the sound fades away until it is no longer heard. The reading at this point is called the diastolic pressure. The systolic reflects the greatest amount of pressure in the blood vessel and the distolic represents the least amount of pressure which happens during the resting phase of the heartbeat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_pressure
 
So, the pumping action of the heart is one of contraction (systole) and relaxation (diastole) and as we have learnt is followed by a brief interval. It thrives on motion and demands stimulation. That’s why it is important to exercise, walk, swim, dance, etc. We need to have enough physical activity every day to increase our rate above its normal 68-75 beats per minute. Many have told that a good exercise routine that raises our pulse rate to above 120 beats per minute is important to keep the heart muscle strong and keep fat from from building up into the heart muscle and hindering its operation. When we don’t exercise our heart loses its ‘tone’. A normal heart rhythm also requires the balance of calcium, sodium and potassium in the blood and tissues.
***
WHAT FOLLOWS
***
This is one of several topics related to the heart and how it is affected by our emotions, anxieties, stress, weight gain and diet and exercise. In this section we will learn how this muscular organ continually beats and circulates blood around and through our bodies. The chapters following will focus on the heart chakra, the thymus gland, the astrological sign associated to it, the psychological causes of heart disease, high blood pressure and much much more.

It is truly a miracle how a bunch of cells somehow come together and start the first organ of the body, the heart to start beating. I still remember the ultrasound with my first child and watching in awe the pulsing light on the computer screen. I am sure this experience was one of the many motivations that lead and connected me to the path of healing.

Also, my first child was born with a hole in his heart which prompted me to seek out, comprehend and understand why this happened. My father as well suffered heart problems which started in 1941; he not only suffered a heart attack in the armed forces but while in a military hospital contracted scarlett/rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever damaged the valves of his heart, affected his nervous and immune system as well as causing arthritis in his joints. (When the heart valve becomes deformed by inflammations as in rheumatic fever, the blood may leak through them in the wrong direction!) Through all this and much more, he lived to the age of 83. My dad believed commitment and responsibility are the first steps in taking control of one’s life. The 2nd step is being optimistic and confident that we can beat back any disease and live a normal life.

The Heart chakra is where you begin the journey of converting your raw emotions from the 2nd chakra……self awareness from the the 3rd chakra and converting these gut-level emotions, tenderly and vulnerably into ‘how I truly feel’. So easy to say, so hard to do. (more on this later)

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