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Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Be A Treatment For Coronary Artery Disease

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A medical condition arising from a buildup of plaque on the inner lining of the coronary arteries is known as coronary artery disease (CAD). This disease is also termed arteriosclerosis which is derived from the words arterio (arteries) and sclerosis (hardening). In the United States, the American Heart Association estimates that there are over 13 million Americans suffering from arteriosclerosis. Allopathic medicine treatments for coronary artery disease include medications, diet and lifestyle changes, and surgery. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments for this disease include Chinese herbal formulas, and acupuncture, and other therapies.

What is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)?

The blood vessels that carry oxygen to the heart muscle are called the coronary arteries. When a buildup of plaque (consisting of calcium, fatty materials, cholesterol, and other materials) develops on the inner lining of the coronary arteries, this can lead to coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition in which circulation of blood through the coronary arteries is weakened. The narrowing of the coronary arteries can lead to angina pectoris or chest pain which is usually the first indication of a heart attack. When blood flow to the coronary arteries is weakened, the muscle of the heart is no longer able to receive adequate amounts of oxygen for it to function normally and may start to die and this may lead to either a total blockage of circulation to the heart muscles, resulting in a heart attack or a disturbance in the normal rhythm of the heart (cardiac arrest). In certain instances, the plaque may escape a coronary artery and be carried by the bloodstream to the brain, resulting in a cerebral embolism (stroke).

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

In Traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, it is believed that the human mind and body function through the manner in which vital energy (qi) and the forces of yin and yang flow within the body. The flow and generation of qi and yin/yang are governed by organ systems such as the stomach, spleen, large intestine, lung, gallbladder, and liver. Each of these organ systems is related to one of the five TCM elements that comprise the human body: water, fire, earth, metal, and wood. When those elements are not properly distributed throughout the body or when the body produces insufficient amounts of qi and TCM elements, it starts to develop disease. The aim of TCM treatments is to activate the affected meridians, organs, and organ systems through which yin/yang and qi flow in order to restore the normal movement of sufficient amounts of these elements throughout the body.

How is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is considered by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to be a sign of a pattern of disharmony known as heart blood stasis which is marked by symptoms such as a darkened tongue, irregular heart rhythm, palpitations, and sharp pains in the chest. CAD is the result of heart fire blood, heart blood and/or heart yang deficiency, or stagnation in the heart. This pattern can be combined by phlegm accumulation, which means there is congealed dampness within the body that can combine with other conditions resulting in masses and lumps. Plaque accumulation, for example, which consists of a buildup of fatty materials, calcium, cholesterol, and other substances to form a semisolid sticky material which contribute to arteriosclerosis, would be viewed as phlegm. This accumulation causes qi (vital energy that like blood flows throughout the body) and blood to flow in insufficient quantities through and into the heart, resulting in symptoms affiliated with arteriosclerosis.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Treatment Using Acupuncture in Overland Park

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) diagnosis for CAD is heart blood stasis which can be addressed with TCM therapies such as Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, and others. The goal of acupuncture treatment is to alleviate imbalances in the coronary arteries through the use of acupuncture, a treatment designed to stimulate meridians in the body though which blood and qi circulate. In the treatment of CAD, the location of the acupuncture points required for treatment is not always anatomically located near the site where the symptom is experienced. When it comes to the treatment of arteriosclerosis and CAD, the acupuncturist rarely uses acupoints located near the heart itself. The energy channels or meridians that are associated with the pericardium and heart are mainly found along the arms. The functioning of the heart can be adjusted in the needling of the corresponding acupoints along these meridians. Also, several commonly used acupoints are located along the inside of the wrist. They include the Pc 4 or Pericardium 4 located almost at forearm’s midpoint, four finger breaths behind Pericardium 7); Pc 6 or Pericardium 6 located in line with the middle finger, three finger breadths behind the crease of the wrist; Heart 5, Ht 5, found one finger breath behind Heart 7; and Heart 7 Ht 7, in line with the pinky at the crease of the wrist. Other commonly selected acupuncture points are found at the upper back, including UB 14 & 15 (Urinary Bladder 14 and 15) which are able to energetically influence the Pericardium and Heart organs that are anatomically nearby and are needled only to a shallow depth. Centuries before, in several cardiac emergency cases acupuncture was traditional used to quickly affect the functioning of the organs. Nowadays, it is mainly used to better heart function through weekly sessions for the treatment of arrhythmias and other cardiac complications and to regulate heart rate.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Treatment through Chinese Herbal Medicine

In the treatment of CAD, various herbal formulas and single are used in Chinese Herbal Medicine.

To address one or more facets of heart blood stasis, the following herbs are used:

 Shi ke (citrus aurantium or bitter orange): This herb boosts the circulation of vital energy through the body and heart
 Niu hsi (root of achyranthes): Invigorates blood and removes blood stasis
 Dang gui (angelica.): Dispels cold, strengthens or tonifies blood, and harmonizes and invigorates blood
 Dan shen (Salvia militorrhiza or red sage): Perennial favorite of herbalists for the tonification of blood to enhance the flow of blood through the heart
 Chi shao yao (root of red peony): Invigorates blood and removes heart stasis

Arteriosclerosis sufferers are treated with a variety of herbal compounds in Chinese medicine in order to derive various benefits. A traditional herbal compound such as Stasis in the Mansion of Blood Decoction (Hsue Fu Zhu Yu Tang), for example, is derived from 11 herbs to treat angina pectoris (chest pain related to coronary heart disease) and coronary heart disease. In a small-scale study involving 30 patients over 28 days, it was seen that when Hsue Fu Zhu Yu Tang was compared to conventional pharmaceutical care, it led to a significant improvement in ECG of the patients, was highly effective for angina pectoris, and was slightly much better than the control pharmaceutical group.

When administered in tailored prescriptions by an experienced practitioner, Chinese herbal medicine is quite very effective. However, it can interact with prescription medications, so it is recommended that you inform your practitioner of any drugs you may be taking.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Using Chinese Medicine Nutrition

The importance of proper diet in treating any sorts of health conditions is very much emphasized in Chinese medicine. When it comes to the treatment of arteriosclerosis, for example, the practitioner may prescribe foods that specifically benefit the function of your heart.

These foods include:

 Tea: This can help relieve swellings that often come with coronary disease
 Honey: Proven to be helpful in fighting off several types of heart disease
 Shan Zha or Hawthorne fruit: Used to avert the development of phlegm that may result in the clotting of blood in the coronary arteries
 Dates: Can help boost qi and blood circulation in the heart and can prevent or control palpitations
 Corn: Can help strengthen the heart

Written by Valerie

June 13th, 2017 at 11:25 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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