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Homeopathy for Atrial Fibrillation

Homeopathy for Atrial Fibrillation

“My heart flip-flops every time I lie down on my right side”; “I feel as though my heart is pounding against my rib cage”;

“My chest feels uneasy and I get so fatigued”; “My heart races and I’m gasping for air!”; “Dizziness comes first, then my heart goes crazy!”

All of the above are symptoms of atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib. Although a potentially serious condition of the heart, atrial fibrillation responds well to various natural treatments, such as lifestyle and dietary changes, weight loss, nutritional supplements, and homeopathy. Since homeopathy is a holistic modality, balancing and repairing both physical and emotional ailments, it is one powerful medicine which can  help to correct atrial fibrillation and its underlying causes.

Our steady and regular heartbeat goes unnoticed and is taken for granted. Therefore, when an attack of atrial fibrillation strikes, it can be a frightening experience. The heart beats wildly with a pulse rate as high as 200 beats per minute.

During atrial fibrillation, the electrical signalling in the heart is disrupted. The heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly – not coordinating with the two lower chambers (the ventricles). Its two primary characteristics, rapid and irregular heartbeat, result in poor blood circulation throughout the body.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) affecting many people, especially those over the age of 50. Common accompanying symptoms can include dizziness, breathlessness, headaches, fatigue, weakness, and more. Some individuals experience no symptoms at all, until the electrocardiogram (ECG) exposes their irregular heart rhythm.

Episodes of atrial fibrillation can be paroxysmal – symptoms that come and go suddenly and periodically – or permanent. Many with this condition lead normal lives, but having it can increase one’s risk of stroke.

Some common health conditions can predispose one to atrial fibrillation. These include high blood pressure, heart attack, abnormal heart valves, various heart diseases, overactive thyroid, obesity, viral infections, and more. It is also a common complication of heart surgery.  Common triggers of atrial fibrillation include exposure to stimulants (alcohol, coffee, energy drinks), drug use, and most of all emotional stress.  In some people, however, there is no underlying illness or an apparent cause.

A Case of Atrial Fibrillation

Case history: Shortly after his 62nd birthday, Ben started experiencing episodes of mild vertigo. As the vertigo incidents escalated over time, they were sometimes accompanied by heart flutters and shortness of breath. Ben was referred to a cardiologist by his GP, who  discovered that Ben had moderately high blood pressure and prescribed medication for him. Ben was also put on blood thinning drugs to keep his symptoms under control.

Although the incidents of vertigo and heart flutters subsided in the months that followed, they did not disappear. In addition, Ben started gaining weight, losing sleep, and getting tired. This prompted him to give homeopathy a try.

Ben described his vertigo as motion-related. It occurred when he moved his head suddenly, or bent down to pick something up. Travelling in the back seat of a car was another trigger. The heart palpitations, he observed, were a direct result of “too much worrying”.

Since emotions play a huge role in homeopathic prescribing, we spent a considerable amount of time discussing Ben’s emotional challenges. Despite the fact that he owned and operated a successful small business, Ben described himself as a failure. He was regretful of some decisions in his life, including his divorce years earlier. His wife had left him, ceasing all communication after discovering Ben’s decade-long affair with a co-worker.

Ben’s sleep was often disrupted with the need for frequent urination, and his dreams were punctuated with incidents of death and dying.

The combination of blue lips during vertigo, a craving for bitter foods, frequent urination, heart symptoms, his personality traits, and temperament pointed me to the homeopathic remedy Digitalis. Ben noticed a big improvement in his quality of sleep and energy level within the first two weeks of taking the remedy. Over a few months, the incidents of vertigo, heart flutters and shortness of breath disappeared. Ben felt happier and more confident. He mustered up the courage to contact his ex-wife again, and beg for her forgiveness. He felt more hopeful and was happy to report that she was receptive to negotiations.

Since his blood pressure stabilized, Ben decided to wean off his medications with his doctor’s assistance.

Homeopathy versus Allopathy

Medical doctors, aka allopaths, view diseases as localized in specific organs and systems, and use organ or system-specific drugs to suppress or control the symptoms. The homeopath, while aware of the localized pathology, believes the core problem lies in the central disturbance. The central disturbance is a mind-body disorder, caused by the disturbed vital force, the energy which organizes all living things and governs the body’s multitude of biochemical reactions.

Homeopathic remedies are energetic stimuli and aim to stimulate the vital force. Once set in motion, the vital force (our innate healing force) knows what to do to re-establish balance and health. The vital force reduces the central disturbance, which in turn allows the body to heal.

Allopaths prescribe one or more medications for each organ or system affected. As an example, a patient presenting with anxiety, high blood pressure, migraines, and sleep problems will be given tranquilizers for the anxiety, antihypertensive drugs for the high blood pressure, pain killers for the migraines, and barbiturates for the sleep disturbance.

In contrast, the classical homeopath will give the same patient one medicine at a time intended to stimulate the body’s own healing powers. Homeopaths believe all ailments, both physical and emotional, are linked. Therefore, only one remedy is needed to initiate the chain reaction and unravel the network of symptoms acquired over time.

With suppressive allopathic drugs, a long-term dependence is created. With homeopathic treatment, the organism is strengthened and health is restored.

Case history: Two years following a successful catheter abilation (a medical procedure used to regulate the heart rhythm, especially when anti-arrhythmic drugs don’t work), Katya started experiencing heart palpitations once again. Frustrated with the conventional protocol, Katya decided to explore the natural route.

Katya had been battling high blood pressure on and off for a number of years. She also took medication for type II diabetes. The episodes of atrial fibrillation were directly linked to emotional upsets – specifically feelings of anger and jealousy. Other triggers included the consumption of dairy products, red wine, and chocolate. On occasion, the flutters would start if she lay down on her left side. Katya suffered from joint pains, which were helped by natural supplements.

Katya’s passionate and expressive nature lead me to prescribe the remedy Lachesis. She had left-sided ailments, constrictive feelings in her throat and chest, drooled in her sleep, was a mouth breather, afraid of snakes, and felt worse in warmth and humidity. The remedy was administered following a two-hour discussion with the loquacious lady.

Over several months of taking the remedy, Katya’s palpitations disappeared, her anger and jealousy were tamed, and she reported feeling calmer and happier in general.

Whether your atrial fibrillation is a stand-alone condition or a complication of an underlying heart disease, homeopathy is a powerful yet gentle medicine that can heal this arrhythmia as well as the network of other symptoms connected to it.

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Tamara Der-Ohanian, DSHM, is a Homeopathic Physician practicing in Toronto. She can be reached at (416) 385-1001, or visit her web site at www.tamarader-ohanian.com

Winner! 2012 Best of Canada natural health awards