How to Fight Heart Disease and Win

The doctor cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, but I have bad news.”

No one can totally prepare for what to do (or feel) after this.

When heart disease strikes, what can you do?

Advice is everywhere about how to prevent heart disease.

For example, many say that massage therapy lowers the stress and blood pressure that contributes to heart disease. And in fact, decades of research agrees.

But what if you’re already facing the challenge of heart disease?

How can you get your life back (or even close) to normal again?

Of course, you should always check with your doctor before trying anything that might help.

And there’s no medical magic bullet that cures all instantly. However…

Researchers have found a promising ally in the war against heart disease.

Studies show massage therapy reduces muscular tension, anxiety, and pain in patients awaiting invasive cardiovascular procedures.

But not just before surgery. Studies like this one show these benefits after cardiac surgery.

Surgery or not, why not talk with a trained massage professional about your situation?

You’ll learn more. And with anything related your health, knowledge is power.

And be sure to tell your massage therapist you have a heart condition.

This informs a well-trained practitioner that you need a different kind of massage.

Melanie Gillians, a registered massage therapist, says this is “one of the first things I check when I am reviewing the health history form.”

Why?

A typical massage may actually raise your blood pressure momentarily. Even to unsafe levels in someone with heart disease.

One of the benefits of massage is releasing what’s sometimes a large amount of blood, lymph, metabolites and toxins once trapped in your muscle and scar tissue.

Traditional massage focuses on moving these fluids toward your heart.

Normally, this is a good and safe way to help your body increase blood circulation and eliminate unwanted materials.

But not in people with heart disease or even with high blood pressure.

How does heart disease change the kind of massage you should get?

Here are a few ways…

  • Soothing, less vigorous techniques that encourage slow, relaxed breathing.
  • Shorter and more local strokes away from the direction of the heart.
  • And possibly positioning you on your side or semi-reclined instead of on your stomach.

Why is massage so helpful for those with heart disease?

People with heart disease often have challenges with blood circulation. Cold hands and feet, fatigue and muscle achiness.

But massage improves circulation and may just be one of the most beneficial therapies for heart disease sufferers. Says Dr. Nina Cherie Franklin’s research at the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Why?

Your massage therapist is literally and manually circulating blood and fluid through your body.

And anything that helps your circulation helps your heart do its job.

Can massage actually help more than medication?

In the U.S., only about half the people being treated for high blood pressure have actually succeeded in getting it under control. And these are the ones under a doctor’s care. So says Time Magazine and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, likely your doctor prescribed medications for you.

Although you should continue to consult with and follow your doctor’s directions, know this…

Too often, medications do very little to help, and they have a long list of undesirable side effects.

Yet in a recent scientific study, researchers examined 236 volunteers who received up to 60 minutes of massage therapy. Average blood pressure fell by more than 10 points. And heart rate decreased by 10 beats per minute. After just one treatment.

As one cardiologist explains, this is more of a benefit than you can expect from a lifetime of taking many of those prescription medications.

All the benefits. None of the nasty side effects.

Another study shows how your blood pressure and heart rate stay lower – even 72 hours after a massage.

Maybe this is why one survey showed 64% of hospitals use massage as part of outpatient care. And 44% use massage for inpatient care.

And physicians recommended massage therapy for 61% of respondents in another survey.

Here in a video, Mayo Clinic physician, Dr. Brent Bauer, explains how their hospital successfully uses massage for cardiovascular surgery patients.

What this all means…

If you’re facing heart disease and wondering what to do next, there’s good news.

Medicine and science know far more about heart disease (and massage) than they did a few short years ago.

You owe it to yourself to find out as much as you can about your condition. As well as what you can do to improve it.

How can I help you personally?

Call me at 303-920-2350 with any questions, concerns or to find out how massage can make life better for you.


by Sarah Shropshire
LMT, Essential Oil Consultant and Business Owner