This continues to play out in daily interactions with people when I see how changes in qi and blood flow, yin and yang status, really affect the organs and what we actually experience as “dis-ease.”
Eastern medicine views the organs as members of the kingdom, with the heart as the emperor.
The heart houses the shen, or spirit, and sends shen to other organs.
It also is the master of the blood and commands the vessels. Health and vitality happen when there is ample blood supply, easy flow and the spirit is joyful.
Shen regulates emotions, consciousness and other mental functions. This is a very yang bodily substance, so it resides in the blood as a way to be held in place. The health of the shen depends on the health of the blood and the vessels and vice versa. Healthy shen is clear thinking, feelings of peace and healthy relationships with others.
We can cultivate healthy heart qi, blood, and shen with our movement, foods, rest and joy.
Regular exercise appropriate for one’s fitness is essential for good health. A variety of pleasurable movements keeps things interesting. Foods that nourish the heart are green leafy vegetables, dates, figs, grapes, squash, fenugreek seed, raspberry and walnut. These are tonics for qi, blood and yang energy, all which fortify the heart for its constant pumping.
Because the heart never stops working, we need to be sure to get good rest. Practicing good sleep hygiene and using calming herbs can promote better quality rest. Most important is cultivating and living joyously.
Joy is the antidote to the negative emotions of anger, fear, grief and worry. It keeps us present in our lives. Finding ways to face all the stresses helps us navigate our journey with greater ease, clarity and peace.
Keeping the heart happy and healthy keeps the entire person healthy.