Part 1 of 2: Physical Indications of a Problematic Heart System
Welcome to the latest in my series to educate about the five Chinese organ systems. With this post, I will be focusing on the physical aspects of a problematic heart. The heart organ system relates to the whole cardiovascular system and the small intestine.
In the Taoist tradition, the heart is related to your shen energy. Shen is your spiritual energy, your integrity energy, your energy of perspective. It brings the wisdom of taking the long term view of things. It means you don’t get stuck in your current situation and feel overwhelmed by it. High shen means you won’t choose to do things for short term pleasure or gain that you know will hurt you or others in the longer term. You prefer to do what’s right overall, and feel good about it. You are more present and feel more confidence that what you are doing is the right thing for you. Also you won’t get carried away by circumstance or your own thoughts and emotions or by any need for the approval of others. Instead you will have be strongly centred and won’t betray your values.
Recently it has been discovered that the heart sends more messages to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. The ancient traditions teach that the heart is the seat of consciousness, and Western science is beginning to confirm that there is indeed a physiological basis for this. It’s the part of us that makes the real decisions in our lives.
Sometimes the heart can get too hot and sometimes too cold. Someone whose heart is too hot will be full of passion and enthusiasm and drive but unfortunately it’s always go, go, go. In this situation, you will eventually suffer burnout and become depleted. In energy terms, it will also mean the kidneys dry out and burn up, because the connection between heart and kidneys is close and the balance between the two must be maintained for well-being. The heart is all about fiery yang energy and the kidneys are about cool, watery yin energy. When a hot heart dries out the kidneys, that person will be exhausted no matter how much rest they get.
If the imbalance goes the other way and the heart gets too cold, then it’s said that the cool water energy of the kidneys puts out the fire in the heart. If your heart gets too cold in this way, you are likely to suffer a lack of joy and enthusiasm in your life. You may feel depressed, lonely or disconnected. You feel indifference, finding it hard to care about anything or anyone. This is not the same as apathy which is inaction rooted in despair and powerlessness, but is more a ‘ho hum, whatever’ kind of reaction. In more extreme cases, a cold heart can lead to ruthlessness. That may be a positive quality if it means not letting anything get in the way of a purpose that is truly important but of course it can be a negative quality as well if it means you don’t care how much damage results. A cold heart may not mean being cold emotionally, but may mean simply lacking vigour.
People tend not to notice heart problems until later in life. Of course there are exception like arrhythmia and hole in the heart. People certainly notice heart attacks and high blood pressure though those do tend to occur later rather than earlier. But these conditions aside, most people don’t notice heart problems especially earlier in life. Instead it’s more common for them to have problems with the small intestine such as leaky gut syndrome, food intolerances, and digestive issues like feeling heavy and bloated after a meal. Hot-hearted people tend to over-eat in an attempt to calm down an over-heated heart. This overloads the small intestine which forces the blood to divert away from the heart and towards the small intestine, cooling the heart and engaging the rest-and-digest parasympathetic nervous system. Sooner or later, the overeating will takes its toll on the small intestine which in turn will create problems with many of the other organs. For instance the liver may become irritated because it can’t dump its waste into the small intestine. Or perhaps the large intestine becomes irritated because the food it’s trying to move along isn’t properly digested.
I hope this post helps you to understand physical symptoms of a weak heart system. Please check back soon to learn about the emotional indications and how to heal a weak heart system.
Elwin is also the Founder of Complete Detox Academy, Taoist Health Academy, the Health Coaching Institute and High Energy Academy, as well as the author of 'the Easy Exhaustion Cure' and 'the 4 Step Safe and Effective Detox Action Plan'.
Elwin is highly Enthusiastic about empowering people to feel Energized, Joyful and Alive, Naturally and Sustainably, and has worked over 5 years with over 1000 clients towards this goal. Elwin is particularly passionate about working with clients who are highly committed to reaching high levels of Health, Energy and Wellbeing, by natural and sustainable means.
Elwin has always been interested in Health since childhood. With a mother who had cancer 4 times, and a father with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Elwin is determined to get to the Root Causes of what really creates Disease, and what it really takes to have Outstanding Health and Wellbeing. After suffering from Health Challenges all his life, Elwin became determined, in 2007, to 'Get his Energy back or Die Trying', and, with this level of Resolve, made rapid progress, after a few false starts, which led him naturally, organically, after many requests, to dedicate himself full time to helping others get the kind of Results that he had achieved.