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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Using HeartMath to Improve Health

Dec 02, 2015 02:11AM ● By Angela Pascopella

The use of HeartMath tools, which can be accessed on a smartphone app, is another therapy MindBodySpirit’s Kim Hai Doan uses. Gary Gruber, a naturopathic physician with offices in New Canaan and Stamford, uses it with his patients as well. HeartMath is based on the science of heart rate variability, which can become a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Patients learn how to accommodate external or internal stressors.

“If we can change the way the heart reacts to an experience then we can change the way we think about it, and the way we experience our life,” Gruber says. “If your life is too stressful, if there is too much negativity, anger or fear or guilt or grief or depression, that affects the immune system and leads to chronic conditions.”

A pulsometer computer program is used to track heart rate from moment to moment to see if the heart rate is smooth (coherent) or erratic (incoherent). Patients then think of an experience that is upsetting or sad to them; the heart rate variability will get worse by either speeding up or slowing down, depending on the thought. Then patients take a few deep breaths that can keep their heart rate on a coherent path. “That’s very empowering,” Gruber says.

SoulCentered Healing’s Danielle Joffe Hampton adds that scientific research links acupuncture to alleviating cancer symptoms, according to the National Cancer Institute. Acupuncture is effective for controlling pain, local swelling post-operatively, shortening the resolution of hematoma and tissue swelling, and minimizing using medications with their potential side effects.

Energetic acupuncture is an approach consisting of using needles with electricity and moxibustion, a form of local healing with herbs. It can impart a sense of well-being and accelerates patients’ recovery and is used in some cancer institutions, according to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

Urgyan says the science is well established, but the art to apply it to each individual is important. “We don’t want to create dependency but skills to make their own instrument,” he says.

Hai Doan adds that all healing is about the individual’s dedication to wanting to heal. “We can take pills, we can get acupuncture, we can go to a therapist but the individual has a part in this as well.”

Angela Pascopella is a 26-year veteran of journalism who resides in Danbury. She is also an editor for a national, monthly trade publication.