“The connection between stress and heart disease is significant,” says Kumar.
In high levels, the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, can cause coronary arteries to spasm and may create micro-tears that attract potentially-dangerous plaque deposits.
Techniques to manage stress should be considered a vital part of any alternative therapy plan for heart disease, according to Kumar. She offers some examples of alternative therapies that can help reduce stress and promote heart health:
Acupuncture—the practice of inserting and maneuvering thin needles in certain points of the body—is also sometimes used as an alternative treatment for heart disease. The main goal of acupuncture (or acupressure) is to help realign the flow of energy in a person’s body.
“Regular acupuncture calms the nervous system, and can help alleviate stress, which contributes to high blood pressure. It can also treat things like troubled sleep, which is linked to heart problems,” according to Yvonne. The National Institutes of Health has authorized acupuncture for the treatment of certain conditions.
Benefits of a holistic approach to heart health
Most people who dabble in alternative therapies do so as a complement to more traditional approaches, says the CDC.
For example, individuals with high blood pressure may take statins in addition to making dietary changes, such as reducing their sodium intake and limiting their consumption of fats, and taking up yoga to get a handle on their stress levels.
Kumar hopes that more people will adopt this integrative approach to medicine. “Our society has become so dualistic. We see it as black and white; traditional versus alternative,” she says. “Both traditional and alternative therapies have their place in medicine, but we need to shift to a more integrative model.”
Read more: Alternative Therapies, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, Heart & Vascular Disease, Mental Wellness, Natural Remedies, Stress, Vegetarian, alternative medicine, Alternative Therapies, heart disease, heart health, prevent heart disease, qigong, stress management, yoga
By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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