The 7 Most Common Things That Cause Heart Palpitations

Treating palpitations naturally with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Heart palpitations can be really scary, especially if you don’t know what they are. The first time you experience palpitations can come with the panic of thinking you’re having a heart attack or that something is seriously wrong with your heart. However, the truth is that palpitations are missed heartbeats, called arrhythmias, and are related to the electrical impulses that causes your heart to beat. The good news is that infrequent palpitations are usually not a sign of serious illness.

A rule of thumb is that if you have occasional palpitations, congratulations—you’re not alone. Most doctors will tell you that everyone misses a heartbeat now and then, but most of us don’t feel it happening. However, if you have frequent palpitations, several missed beats in a row, if it causes lightheadedness or dizziness, or if you feel like your heart is racing, you should definitely get it checked out by your doctor.

In Chinese medicine, palpitations are also related to your heart, which should come as no surprise. However, your heart organ system is more far-reaching in Chinese medicine, which can give palpitations a different and interesting dimension.

While your Chinese heart circulates blood throughout your body, it also has a very spiritual and emotional function. Considered to be the home of your Shen, or spirit, your heart is responsible for your thoughts, feelings, memories, emotions, and your spiritual self.

We instinctively know that our hearts are an emotional organ. You can have a broken heart, feel heartsick, follow your heart, and thank someone from the bottom of your heart. It follows, then that whenever you have an emotional upset, your heart is involved.

In Chinese medicine, the emotional connection to your heart is always a consideration in diagnosing palpitations. In many cases palpitations can be brought on by stress, an emotional upset, and even working too hard. Often palpitations are accompanied by anxiety, insomnia, memory issues, dizziness, and ringing in your ears. There are a number of patterns, or clusters of symptoms, that are related to palpitations, and a practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine will need to understand the nature of those symptoms in order to treat your palpitations effectively.

There are also a number of physical issues that may cause or aggravate your palpitations, including:

  1. Medications. Several prescription and over-the-counter medicines have the ability to cause palpitations. Read the information on side effects that comes with your medications, check with your doctor, or talk to your pharmacist if you suspect a medication you’re taking is causing palpitations.
  2. Take stock of your caffeine consumption. Caffeine speeds things up, including your heart, and can cause palpitations.
  3. Monitor your drinking, too. Alcohol abuse can be a source of palpitations in some people.
  4. If you smoke, quit now. You already know that smoking isn’t good for your heart or lungs, but may not know that it can cause heart arrhythmias. Clearly, quitting smoking is easier said than done, especially if you’ve smoked for a long time. However, if you decide to quit, acupuncture can help you by decreasing the intensity and frequency of cravings and managing stress.
  5. While exercise is a good thing, make sure you start slowly. Jumping into a hard workout without any warmup can be a trigger for palpitations.
  6. If you’re under a lot of stress, do whatever it takes to manage it. Stress and emotional upsets can trigger or aggravate palpitations.
  7. Avoid overeating. If you’re prone to palpitations or arrhythmias, episodes of overeating can overload your heart and trigger an episode.

Daniel Melton is a California board certified acupuncturist and herbalist. He earned a B.S. in biology, completed his Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is the founder of Melton Acupuncture in Morgan Hill, CA.

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Seven Ways Acupuncture Can Help Men’s Health

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. It combines nutrition, herbs, acupuncture and other modalities to help keep the body functioning properly, while also treating any ailments that might occur. TCM has been used to treat both men and women, regardless of their age, and TCM is frequently becoming the medical choice for those who prefer to use holistic forms of medicine to heal themselves. continue reading »

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TCM and Libido in Men

If your love life is lackluster, have you considered Traditional Chinese medicine to help a sagging libido? Acupuncture and herbal formulas may just be the ticket to improve your sex life and reignite your fire. continue reading »

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Why You Should Get Regular Acupuncture Treatments

Everybody knows you should see your family physician at least once a year and your dentist at least twice a year. But not everybody knows about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine and the many benefits it can provide for you. If you start incorporating acupuncture into your health and wellness regime, you may not have to rely on the family physician so much for those minor little issues. Let’s look at how getting regular acupuncture treatments can help you stay happy and healthy. continue reading »

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If You Suffer From Sinusitis, This May Be The Solution You’re Looking For…

Treating sinusitis naturally with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Anyone who has suffered through a sinus infection will tell you that the symptoms can be severe and may completely lay you low for weeks. Facial pain, fever, and pressure in your forehead or cheeks are the most common symptoms of a sinus infection. In addition, you may experience a runny or stuffed up nose, loss of ability to smell or taste, sensitive or sore teeth, and bad breath. And the fatigue—many patients know their sinus issues have ramped up into infection status because they feel completely run down and exhausted.

What Causes Sinusitis?

A sinus infection and acute inflammation of your sinuses are conditions that tend to linger. They can last for weeks and even a month or more, and can be acute or chronic. An acute infection of your sinuses is commonly caused from nasal congestion due to a common cold, flu, or allergies. In contrast, chronic sinusitis can last for months or longer, and is most frequently caused by a structural problem, such as a deviated septum, nasal polyps, and swollen sinuses that obstruct drainage.

In Western medicine sinus problems are commonly treated with medications, such as antihistamines, antibiotics, and steroids. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to repair a structural issue or to open your sinuses.

Natural Solutions for Sinus Pain:

In Chinese medicine, sinusitis is considered to be obstruction of phlegm, which also blocks the circulation of blood and energy in the area. Therefore, treatment for sinusitis is directed toward opening up your sinuses so they can drain, increasing circulation and flow of air, as well as controlling phlegm, which is commonly the original source of your sinus problem. A buildup of phlegm can come from a number of causes that may seem unrelated to your cranky sinuses. Poor digestion, eating too many of the wrong foods for your body constitution, an inability to metabolize fluids well, and a weak immune system may all cause accumulations of phlegm in your body.

Treatment for sinusitis or a sinus infection using Chinese medicine would include acupuncture, with needles placed in specific spots to open and drain your sinuses, as well as points on your body to deal with the phlegm and any other issues contributing to your condition. In addition, there are some very effective herbal formulas that can clear your sinuses and dry out the phlegm. Your practitioner will likely also point you to some diet modifications, such as avoiding lots of sweets, dairy, and very rich or greasy foods, as well as choosing foods specifically suited to your body.

A few at-home steps to help relieve your symptoms include:

  • Get and use a Neti pot or some other way to rinse your sinuses. Neti pots or saline nasal sprays can be found at your local drug store. To avoid burning, combine one teaspoon of salt with a pinch of baking soda into two cups of distilled water, then rinse.
  • Use a little steam to open up your sinuses. A hot shower or standing over a pan of boiling water (careful not to burn yourself!) can help open things up.
  • If you’re very uncomfortable, try moist heat. Place a moist towel or washcloth in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then place it on your face where you’re feeling pain or pressure. Again, be careful—the cloth should be comfortably warm, not scorching hot.
  • Take it easy on the decongestant nasal sprays. They may bring you relief in the short term, but are notorious for causing a rebound effect, making your nasal congestion worse than before.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated, which keeps the mucous thin and more likely to drain.
  • Give your body the rest it needs to recover and heal.

It’s not a given that you need to live with chronic sinus pain, frequent infections, or be tied to taking antihistamines, antibiotics, or steroids for the rest of your life. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be the solution you’ve been looking for in treating your sinus issues—ask your practitioner how they can help.

Daniel Melton is a California board certified acupuncturist and herbalist. He earned a B.S. in biology, completed his Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is the founder of Melton Acupuncture in Morgan Hill, CA.

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