In Chinese Medicine, Heart Palpitations Can Several Causes

The sensation of pounding, fluttering or rapid heartbeats is known as heart palpitations. Reasons that often cause palpitations include certain drugs, hormonal changes (in women) due to menses, menopause, or pregnancy, fever, nicotine, caffeine, exercise, stress, and anxiety. Heart palpitations can occasionally be a sign of an underlying health condition such as arrhythmia, (abnormal heart rhythm), or hyperthyroidism. Usually harmless, in Chinese medicine, heart palpitations are a sign of an internal imbalance that can bring about potential health problems in the future.

According to Chinese Medicine, there can be several causes of palpitations. The symptoms that accompany them usually indicate an underlying pattern of disease. The various patterns that may lead to cause heart palpitations are as follows:

1. A chronic or serious disease – This may weaken and consume yang qi resulting in the undernourishment and lack of warmth for the blood vessels and heart. Heart palpitations caused by heart yang deficiency can be accompanied by cold limbs, pale complexion, chest distress, shortness of breath, and restlessness. Kidney and spleen yang deficiency can result in the accumulation of fluid that will block heart yang and lead to heart palpitations with edema, salivation, nausea, a feeling of fullness in the chest, and dizziness.

2. Frequent childbirth, overstrain, overwork, or prolonged illness – These things can exhaust the body and cause deficiency of kidney yin and when kidney yin is deficient, it results in too much yang fire or heat that blazes up and disturbs the mind and heart causing palpitations. In this case, the palpitations may be accompanied by sweaty feet and palms, tinnitus, lower back pain, dizziness, insomnia, restlessness, and agitation.

3. Undernourishment of the heart due to blood deficiency due to loss of blood, overstrain, anxiety, and long term illness – This may also cause heart palpitations. The palpitations in this instance can come with dizziness, poor memory, insomnia, pale complexion, and fatigue.

4. Long term emotional upset such as excessive anger, fright, and timidity – This can result in kidney and liver dysfunction, or disrupt of balance of yin and yang in the body causing the energy of the gallbladder and heart to weaken and scatter the mind. The palpitations in this case may be accompanied by emotional unrest such as phobias, panic or anxiety, slow, rapid or feeble irregular pulse, excessive dreaming, insomnia, timidity, and restlessness.

Heart palpitations give Chinese medicine a chance to showcase its holistic approach to illness. This type of Eastern medicine takes into account all symptoms that an individual experiences in order to come up with a very detailed diagnosis, which in turn gives the acupuncturist the opportunity to make a customized and much more effective plan of treatment. A symptom oftentimes can have very different causes in different persons. When the overall pattern of disharmony in each patient is understood, the acupuncturist not only is able to treat the main complaint of the patient, it will also lead to an improvement in other symptoms and overall health that the patient will palpably experience.

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