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Aromatherapy for a Broken Heart

By Johnetta Miner

The heart is a very fragile and strong organ. It is the center of

our being and a very vulnerable focal point. The heart plays a

role in every function of the body. It can be "hurt", "lost and

left in San Francisco. It can also "skip a beat or be attacked

by a stroke. Our heart is our life force and in Chinese medicine

it is the fire element. Yet it can "fail us, as in heart

failure. The heart has rhythm and can block, just not in a

football game. Sometime, our heart talks to us with sounds and

murmurs. There are some people who listen to their hearts speak

to them while others have not listened and may have taken a path

of least resistance. There is time, however, that we all listen

when our heart speaks to us. That time is when there is what is

called a broken heart.

When the heart is broken, a spectrum of feelings is manifested.

These feelings consist of hurt, pain, anger, sadness, relief

and forgiveness. In the process of living with these feelings

and going through the experience of having a broken heart, what

happens physically and emotionally to women?

In my practice, many women have scheduled an appointment with me

for an annual gynecological examination or they were returning

for their weekly obstetrical examination. Within the first few

minutes of interviewing the patient about her medical history

since the last visit, I realize there is a strong emotional and

physical component to the visit that is not directly related to

what is considered a routine exam. In essence, the emotional and

physical components are indicative of a broken heart. I make a

holistic assessment of the patient's medical history, emotional,

spiritual, physical and clinical findings. These cases may

warrant a referral to a specialist, depending on her status at

that moment. A follow up visit is always scheduled.

Throughout time, it has been said individuals have died of a

broken heart. For instance, a wife died and then her husband

died from natural causes within a week or a sister died and her

sibling died naturally very soon thereafter. Were the

subsequent deaths just a coincidence or did they die from a

broken heart?

Researchers have started scientifically looking at such cases

and calling it the Broken Heart Syndrome. In health care

terminology we call this condition stress Cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is heart muscle weakness. It can occur after

various emotional and physical stressors such as fear, surprise,

anger and the death of a loved one. Stress cardiomyopathy

affects primarily women and occurs most frequently in middle

aged women and women over age sixty. Many of the women that

have been studied have no prior history of heart disease and the

majorities are postmenopausal. There is no known reason for the

increase frequency in women in these age groups and

postmenopausal women in particular. Physical stressors can fuel

a stroke or seizure and as mentioned emotional stressors such as

fear, grief and anger can cause this condition.

Women with dis-stressed can suddenly and unexpectedly experience

a heavy feeling in the chest, shortness of breath, abnormal

rhythm of the heart, low blood pressure, congestive heart

failure and shock. It can be life threatening. She may appear

sad, express feelings of sadness, lock of concentration and

difficulty sleeping at night. The good news is there can also be

a quick and complete recovery.

Aromatherapy is a fantastic complementary therapy. One hundred

percent essential oils are more potent than herbs "less is

better than more. They are volatile oils which are obtained

directly from the root, flower petals, leaves or skins of fruit.

The price can range from approximately five dollars to several

hundred dollars for a half ounce. It takes 2000 pounds of rose

petals to make one pound of oil. Therefore there is a variance

in the cost of essential oils. The essential oils widely used to

restore the heart are Rose Otto, Jasmine sambac, Neroli,

Rosewood, and Lavender. Essential oil blends can be used through

inhalation and application methods. They can be inhaled by using

a diffuser, sniffed directly from the bottle (less expensive

oils) or they can be used in the bath/shower or through vapor

and nebulizer. They can be applied by massage or as perfume oil.

Lavender has a long history as a medicine and perfume. In

Chinese medicine it circulates heart Qi. It can restore

vitality, relieve tension and calm a person. Dried lavender buds

can be added to the bath or a tea can be made from the dried

herb. To make a single note lavender perfume oil add three drops

of 100% Highland or Bulgarian lavender essential oil to one

tablespoon of jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is a stable carrier oil,

won't rancid and is relatively odorless.

The benefits of essential oils are numerous. However, care must

be taken in using them. Aromatherapy is very technical. One oil

can cancel out the effects of another oil. Some oils are toxic

and what may benefit one person may have no effect on another

person. One fragrance may be pleasant to one person and

offensive to another. Determine which oil is best for you. Our

behavior is affected by the aromatic scent. They also help the

body regulate itself and come into balance. Therefore the

stressors and feelings produced by a broken are relieved with

the consistent use of aromatherapy.

About The Author
Johnetta Miner, NP, is the founder and President of Johnetta

Miner, NP. She is a Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy

practitioner and Jin Shin Jyutsu self help instructor. J. Miner,

NP has provided primary care to adolescents and women

specializing in prenatal, obstetrical and gynecological care.

She advocates preventative health care in an integrative manner,

combining traditional and western medicine. Johnetta brings

years of experience to the company as a Registered Nurse,

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner and Public Health Consultant.

She can be reached at

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