Oriental medicine (OM) has a unique perspective on high blood pressure. In OM, it is believed that the body desires balance. A healthy body is our natural state and any illness or health issue is attributed to something in the body being out of balance. Oriental medicine strives to bring each patient back into balance in order to achieve health. High blood pressure can be deadly if not managed, but a more positive outlook is that high blood pressure is a warning sign that something in a person’s lifestyle needs to change.
In a recent Morbidity and Mortality Report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it’s cited that nearly 1 in 3 Americans suffer from high blood pressure—and more than half don’t have it under control. Perhaps what’s more surprising is that most people with uncontrolled blood pressure are aware of it but their status remains the same. The CDC reported that the majority of people who were studied with high blood pressure (HBP) had actually seen their doctor twice over the past year, yet their condition remained unmanaged.
High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. A healthy blood pressure reading is usually somewhere around 120/80 mm Hg. Also known as hypertension, blood pressure translates simply to the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure stays high or rises over time, it can cause damage to organs. High blood pressure is also an indicator that a person has a high risk for heart disease, stroke, or heart attacks.
Women, in particular, should pay close attention to moderating blood pressure, as heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. According to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, hypertensive people are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease than people with normal pressure. That is huge! The silver lining of these morbid statistics is that a patient’s blood pressure is something within the patient’s control.
The exact cause of hypertension is unknown, but there are several factors that contribute to high blood pressure. The first is stress. Diet, genetics, age, and lifestyle choices like smoking or how much exercise someone gets are also key players. The first steps to lowering blood pressure involve managing these factors. Be kind to yourself. Take time out from stressful situations, even if it’s just for five minutes of solitude or quiet time. The times of stress when it seems most impossible to take a minute to yourself are exactly the times when it’s most necessary that you do so. Invest in your health by putting yourself first.
OM in the news this week! Check it out!
- Natural Heart Disease Treatments - from AgingCare.com. Take a look at how alternative therapies can treat heart disease, featuring Angela Yvonne, LAc with Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
- Study Shows Massage Benefits Brain Cancer Patients - from Fox News. In this study, 25 brain tumor patients who were classified as “distressed” received a massage twice a week for four weeks. Check out the results!
- Acupuncture For Your Pet - from ABC News. Using acupuncture for pets is increasing in popularity. Watch this video from ABC New York.
- Massage Roller For Athletes - from Snowshoe Magazine. If you don’t have the time or money for regular massages, check out what some athletes are using to aid their muscles during winter sports season.
- You Can Do Massage For That? - from Athetico.com. Find out some of the more lesser known conditions that massage therapy can work to treat.
What do you get when you mix chia, oats, coconut, and chocolate all together??
Heart Happy Valentine’s Day Delights of course! Chia, oats, coconut, and chocolate all have rockin’ health benefits for your heart and they taste great too…mmm…
Ok, after you bake them they may not look so much like hearts anymore…
But presentation is everything right? :) Happy Valentine’s Day!
Wanna know my secret recipe? Leave us a Valentine’s Day wish and I’ll share it with you…:)
OM in the news this week! Check it out!
- 5 Cures for Sore Muscles - from Men’s Fitness. Massage and herbal remedies similar to Bengay are featured, along with Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Faculty Member Thomas Kouo.
- 5 Foods to Detoxify the Body - from MindBodyGreen.com. Detoxing is important for keeping your body in balance. Check out these foods you can work into your diet!
- How to Avoid America’s Top 5 Killers - from Max Sports and Fitness. Heart disease, cancer, COPD, strokes, and accidents are the top 5 and Pacific College Faculty Member Max Kalkstein explains using OM for prevention.
- Foods to Cure a Hangover - from Fox News. One of them - Ginger, is a popular root used in Chinese medicine to remedy an array of conditions.
We hear a lot about hearts this season. It’s the time of year that giving is on our minds. We open our hearts and homes to family and friends, and think about showing our generosity more than at any other time of year. But what about your own heart? Are you at your own personal optimal health? With the season of celebrating and giving upon us, give yourself the very best care.
The traditional heavy diet and abundant treats of winter surround us. Try supplementing your food with some of these suggestions that can boost your heart health. Lower cholesterol, increase circulation, and fend of illness with these simple herbal and supplemental suggestions:
Red Yeast Rice: Red yeast rice originated over a thousand years ago in China. It is produced when a purple-colored yeast, Monascus purpureus, is added to steamed rice and the mixture is fermented. This product has been used as a food since at least the year 800 A.D. Also known to aid digestion, red yeast rice has long been used in folk medicine. Red yeast rice contains statins, a molecule known to reduce cholesterol. The most prevalent of the statins in red yeast rice is lovastatin, which is one of the most widely prescribed drugs for lowering cholesterol levels. Red yeast rice can be used just like other forms of rice in your cooking or as a pill tablet.
Garlic: Affectionately called the stinking rose by those who love its culinary uses, most people don’t think of garlic as a medicinal herb. Still, it has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for a wide range of conditions. Some of those uses include infections, wound healing and tumors. Today, we know that garlic lovers can boast about their lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. The National Cancer Institute is now looking at garlic’s ability to fight several forms of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers.
Rosemary and Chamomile: Both these herbs can decrease cholesterol and blood pressure. Try adding some rosemary to your dishes when you cook, or drinking some chamomile tea (also wonderful to take right before bed as it’s very calming and can help with sleep).
Bilberry: A close relative to the cranberry, the fruit contains anthocyansides, which is a type of flavonoid that helps with blood flow by strengthening capillaries. In fact, research has shown that bilberry not only strengthens coronary arteries but works on the tiniest capillaries in our eyes, which results in vision improvements. Its strong antioxidant properties make it a great tonic for overall health. Bilberry can be found in supplemental pill form at any local health food store.
OM in the news this week! Check it out!
Massage therapists use acupressure points as part of their healing process, but you can too! So, if you don’t have time for a daily massage (and who really does?) try some of these self-accupressure routines to start your day relaxed and invigorated:
- To start in the morning, begin by rubbing your palms together vigorously for about 30 seconds to stimulate your qi (energy) flow. Then tap your fingertips over your scalp, like you’re drumming.
- Next, run your fingertips down your face like a rake (but not if you have long nails), and end by pinching your eyebrows between thumb and forefinger, starting at the inner edge and moving out. These actions stimulate digestive and lymphatic systems.
- Then, to stimulate qi flow to the heart and lungs, place your palms on your cheeks and rub hands up and down as fast as possible.
- To stimulate the heart, pericardium, and lung meridians, extend one arm, palm down, and make a fist with the other hand. Gently pound down the inner surface of the arm and then repeat along the back of the arm, stimulating the small and large intestine meridians.
- For neck stiffness throughout the day, you can press the tian zhu and ya men points at the back of the neck for several minutes. See the location of these points here.
These techniques and photo are taken from The Chinese Medicine Bible, by: Penelope Ody.