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Romance Needs a Healthy Heart

By Dr. Douglas R. Briggs, DC, L.Ac., EMT

During the Valentine season, many different symbols are used. One of the most popular is the heart. While the shape of the heart is used to represent love, the concept of the heart in traditional medicine has much greater meaning. When we think of the heart, we usually think of the organ that pumps the blood through the body. In Asian medicine, the heart means much more. In traditional philosophy, the heart is the root of all the emotions. The heart is associated with the element fire and is said to give warmth to the body. It is seen as the giver of life. A healthy heart is critical for an active life, a clear mind, and positive emotions. If the organ of the heart is sick, the energetic activities of the heart can not function well. Heart disease can manifest as poor circulation, sexual coldness, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, hot flushes, heart-burn, and digestive problems. It is impossible to have good, meaningful, lasting relationships without a truly healthy heart.

woman holding heart

Feeling the Love!

Happy Valentine’s Day
from the Doctors and Staff at
First State Health & Wellness

There are several easy habits to adopt that can improve your heart health. The first is to get active! Getting moving not only helps to increase the circulation, but also warms the muscles, and eases tension. This is a great excuse for a team workout at the gym or a long, romantic walk. Remember, any exercise will move you toward a healthier heart. For more ideas, check out the American Heart Associations free fitness website at JustMove.org.

Just as important as exercise is a healthy diet. Sugary sweets might seem romantic, but not if you care for that special someone’s heart. Take the time to prepare a romantic meal. Use non-stick cookware so you can cook with a minimum of oil or vegetable spray. Cut down on saturated fat in creamy dressings by mixing in some nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt. To enhance flavor, sprinkle food with vinegar or citrus juice – add it at the last minute so the flavor is at its strongest.

One of the most important parts of a healthy diet is often overlooked: drinking enough water. Most people in our society today do not get enough to drink. The body needs at least 6 to 8 large glasses of water a day to be able to function normally. Most recreational athletes do not drink enough to replace the fluids they lose during exercise. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already clinically dehydrated! Other drinks such as coffee, soda, and alcohol can actually make you even more dehydrated. A water bottle should be as much a part of every working person’s and athlete’s equipment as a hammer, tennis racquet, or golf club.

Diet and exercise are important, but don’t forget to be social. In Chinese medicine, you actually gain energy by spending time with good friends. Schedule time to visit with friends and family and have some fun. The old adage: “a merry heart is good medicine” could not be more true. Studies have shown that social interaction is good not only for the heart; but can increase vitality, mental awareness, and longevity.

Finally, don’t forget to get regular check-ups. Most heart conditions can be effectively treated if caught early. You can also pursue chiropractic care, as chiropractic has been shown to reduce stress in the back and relax tension on the muscles and nerves around the heart. Research has shown that acupuncture can help reduce stress and anxiety, and alleviate many of the symptoms of hypertension.

This Valentine’s Day, remember to care for the heart of your loved ones. Eat right, take a romantic walk, drink plenty of water, and have a good time. For more helpful tips, check out AmericanHeart.org/ChooseToMove

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Wilmington Chiropractor Dr Douglas Briggs
Dr. Douglas Briggs, Chiropractic Physician and Acupuncturist, is the senior associate of First State Health & Wellness—Wilmington, which is recognized by the American Chiropractic Association Rehabilitation Council and the Laser Spine Institute as an approved post-surgical spine rehabilitation facility. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation, call 302.654.4001 to learn how our award-winning team can support your wellness goals.

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