Ayurveda for Heart Disease

Dr. David Simon, neurologist and co-founder, Chopra Center, La Jolla, California on the use of ayurveda as an alternative treatment for heart disease:

Particularly in the early phases, there's no question that hypertension is related to perception of stress in the environment.

You know, it's a natural, built-in, evolutionary response. When we're perceiving a stressful challenge in life, that we activate the system by increasing the heart rate, by increasing the blood pressure, by increasing the breathing response, by sending out stress hormones in the body. All of which, over time, lead to increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

So, teaching people how to manage stress, both day-to-day stress and the providing underlying meditation and relaxation techniques are really key to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. All of the senses can be used.

You know, there are studies which have shown that people who have a heart attack and are in a coronary care unit, who listen to soothing music will have less irregular heartbeats. There's actually been a study that looked at men whose beds either faced the parking lot or a park. And if your visual stimulation was more soothing and natural, you'd get out of the hospital sooner than if you were looking into a congested urban scene.

And one of the other really important risk factors, which is just beginning to really be acknowledged, is whether or not a person is carrying hostility. If you look at all the risk factors, still the most important predictor of sudden cardiac death, particularly in a younger person between late 40s and 60s, is how high they're carrying hostility in their lives. And so we really focus on what people need to do to reduce that sense that the world is their enemy.

They're in a constant war zone. There's never enough time to accomplish what they want and anybody who gets in their way becomes an enemy.

Shifting that internal dialogue from one of hostility to one of increasing acceptance, creativity, playfulness, really can have a profound impact on reducing our risk for cardiovascular disease.

See more alternative therapies for heart disease.

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