Add as bookmark

Your Heart and You: A Holistic Guide to a Healthier Heart

by Elizabeth Wilde McCormick and

listed in heart

[Image: Your Heart and You: A Holistic Guide to a Healthier Heart]

An extract from the book

Physical heart disease may be the final manifestation of years of abuse that begins in the psyche and spirit…

Heart disease is a metaphor as well as an anatomical illness.- Dean Ornish, American cardiologist


The heart is the most potent organ in the body for most people. How we relate to our heart, whether in a physical or emotional sense, makes a difference to its care, and ultimately to its lifecycle.

This book addresses the understanding and care of the heart as a central physical organ as well as the heart of our poetic imaginations – the emotional, 'feeling' heart. It explores how the two are linked, why understanding this link is important and how we might build a bridge between the two. Coming from two different but complementary professional disciplines – psychotherapy and cardiology – we have woven our clinical knowledge and experience together in support of this bridge.

Heart disease has reached epidemic proportions in Western industrialised nations for both men and women. There are 175,000 deaths from heart disease per year in the UK, with thousands more suffering heart failure, at a cost of £1.6 billion, and it is estimated that 75 per cent of people go to their doctor with problems that are connected to stress and to feeling 'sick at heart'.

There are many world-wide research projects and studies that have concentrated upon finding causes for heart disease and this book will refer to several of them. Primarily, though, we concentrate upon helping you to help yourself.

The book explores the following areas:

* Helping you to understand the links between stress, emotions and your heart.* Empowering you to take charge of the care of your heart in the ways most suited to your personality and emotional need.* Getting across accurate medical information so that you can gain the confidence to make informed decisions.* Demystifying and detoxifying some of the powerful and unhelpful myths that surround heart problems.* Sharing stories from heart patients so that you can relate to their experiences.

The book begins by looking at emotions and your heart as this is an area that has long been neglected by both the medical profession and patients alike, but which is, we believe, absolutely crucial to maintaining health. Biomolecular scientists now suggest that all living systems are by their nature systems of energy that contain information about what they are and how they function. From psychoneuroimmunology – the psychological science that studies the relationship between the brain, the immune system and the experience of the outside world – comes the information that nothing is ever lost, that human cells have receptors, even 'wisdom' and memory, that consciousness precedes matter. Examples of this understanding come from the work of Professor Paul Pearsall in his book The Heart's Code and Dr Candace Pert in her book Molecules of Emotion and Jacques Benveniste in The Memory of Water.

These findings encourage us to take responsibility for the way in which we live in our bodies. They suggest that our attitude and beliefs can make a difference. This becomes crucial when our physical heart suffers from blocked arteries, from the demands of high blood pressure, from the pain of angina. For the heart is the most central system of all, with its ever-busy pumping action responsible for the transmission of millions of blood cells around the body all the time. The heart does enough work in terms of effort in one day to raise a ton weight to the height of a five-storey building. It is the strongest muscle in the body and the most sensitive. When it 'speaks', this may be the signal we've been unconsciously waiting for in order to open up emotionally and psychologically.

Each of us can learn to listen to our own heart. We only have to accept that our heart acts as both a central organ for the regulation of blood and oxygen, and as a wise 'feeling intelligence' that can guide us on our way.

For many people, it is the physical heart that 'speaks' first, bringing them into intimate contact with their feelings, many of which they did not realise they had. You may have had a heart attack, for example, or suffered chest pain that led to investigations for heart disease, or perhaps suffered symptoms that led to you discovering you had raised blood pressure.

When the heart speaks physically we have to learn to take care of it. This always means making changes - changes in diet, exercise, work and rest. It means an adjustment in your response to life because life can no longer be taken for granted. Mortality has beckoned. As a result you may feel fear, anger, resentment, anxiety, loss and a desire to sort out old and current life issues. You may find you have the desire to make use of the gift of time in the best possible way - what many people, including my husband John (McCormick), call 'living on borrowed time'.

Sandra Goodman PhD
Piatkus Books

top of the page