The heart lies at the centre of the cardiovascular system. Its purpose is to pump blood around the body in order deliver to our tissues and organs the oxygen and nutrients that are essential to life. Circulating blood also provides a method of transport for the various toxins and waste products that are being removed from the body. It is therefore obvious that damage to, or failure of the heart will result in a danger to life (Gray et al 2007).
The heart is a large muscular organ that is divided into four chambers. It is constantly working and never rests. Consequently the cardiac (heart) muscles require a constant supply of oxygenated blood and nutrients. The vessels providing this are known as the coronary arteries and are vital to the healthy functioning of the heart.
Factors that can affect the heart’s performance include:
- Stress and emotion
- Sedentary lifestyle
Hypnosis and the cardiovascular system
Hypnosis can play an important role in maintaining a healthy heart (Waxman 1989) as well as aiding recovery from a variety of cardiovascular diseases (Kroger 2007).
When entering trance, a shift in the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic (responsible for arousal) to parasympathetic (responsible for rest) control occurs. When the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant then heart rate decreases, thus reducing the burden on the cardiovascular system (Gray et al 2007).
Hypnotherapy can also be used to help you make the essential life-style changes needed to maintain the healthy functioning of the heart.
The UK has one of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease in the world, with one British adult dieing every three minutes as a consequence (British Heart Foundation and European Heart Network 2006). Cigarette smoking, obesity, poor life-style, and stress adversely affect all cardiovascular disease conditions (Gray et al 2007).
- Essential hypertension (high blood pressure)
The causes are unknown.
It is a silent disease sometimes without any symptoms and can only be detected when the blood pressure is measured, or when the consequences of untreated hypertension become manifest. Left untreated, essential hypertension can lead to other cardiovascular conditions.Essential hypertension responds readily to hypnosis, as the very act of guiding a patient into the trance state will lower their blood pressure (Deabler et al 1973).
Hypnotherapy for Cardiovascular Issues
Any complimentary therapy for cardiovascular issues should only be undertaken after a complete examination and diagnosis by your GP and/or other medical practitioner.
Hypnosis can :
- Teach you to relax and thereby reduce stress and strain on your cardiovascular system.
- Resolve lifestyle issues such as stress management, weight control and smoking.
- Increase motivation to exercise.
Gray H, Dawkins K, Morgan J and Simpson IA (2007) Cardiology (Lecture Note Series) Wiley Blackwell
Kroger WS (2007) Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
Waxman D (ed) (1989) Hartland’s Medical and Dental Hypnosis 3rd edition Bailliere Tindall