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Excerpt from: Stress Solutions by Dr Arien van der Merwe; Tafelberg Publishers 2004

‘The right reaction to a symptom may as well be a welcoming rather than laments and demands for remedies, for the symptom is the first herald of an awakening psyche which will not tolerate any more abuse. Through the symptom the psyche demands attention. Attention means attending to, tending, a certain tender care of, as well as waiting, pausing, listening. It takes a span of time and a tension of patience. Precisely what each symptom needs is time and tender care and attention. Just this same attitude is what the soul needs in order to be felt and heard.’

From: ‘A Blue Fire’ by James Hillman

Disease as gift and teacher

Regarding disease as teacher does not mean you cause your illness or ailment on purpose! The process happens unconsciously, often carried from generation to generation in the genes. The message of hope and healing is exactly that the process can be made conscious, allowing you to acknowledge the fear, depression and anxiety and access the deeper issues preventing healing from deep inside the marrow of your being. It is a deeply fulfilling process, even if accompanied by pain, suffering and surrender, but once used as focus for deep inner reflection, helps you grow and mature as a truly healed and whole being, whether the physical body dies in the end, or not – hence the gift of disease.

Regard ailments or illness as part of yourself, a part of being human, maybe a sacrifice or life lesson that comes with the grace to deal with it in serenity and surrender, asking ‘what is this showing me?’, ‘how can I look deep inside myself and find the soul in this process?’, ‘how will my process help others?’. We have all experienced when tending, talking to or listening to seriously ill people, especially young children with a life threatening illness, that it is often through the intense pain, sorrow and sacrifice of deep suffering that we see the soul of disease, the courage that comes from the inner light of a person with the Divine grace to be at peace with him or herself and the world, an image of health, in the true meaning of the word: wholeness.

Looking for the hidden messages in your heart
  • Issues with unconditional love
  • Heart not in it anymore: work & relationships
  • Perfectionist, driven, workaholic
  • Harshly judgmental of self and others
  • Difficulty expressing emotions or feelings
  • Denying feelings
  • Difficult relationships – cannot cope with needs of others
  • Self control issues – the inner drive to always be in control of situations
  • Fear of failure – empathy with yourself and others

All these are stressors or triggers for the stress reaction where the heart and cardiovascular system are constantly put in red alert to react in the classical stress response: fight or flight!

This does NOT imply that you CAUSE your disease on purpose! The process occurs on a deeply unconscious level in cell memories. You can however, become consciously aware of these issues and through process work, help your inner self to heal, leading to personal power and inner peace.

A positive family history and symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, unproductive chronic cough, blue or painful extremities, extreme sensitivity to cold, leg ulcers, swelling of the ankles, pain over the chest, left arm or up the neck at rest or during exertion, has to be thoroughly evaluated with a complete physical examination, basic blood tests and an exertion or stress electrocardiogram. A thorough heart evaluation should form part of everybody’s yearly preventative medical examination, whether or not you have symptoms or a positive history. The natural treatment options are aimed at improving energy metabolism inside the heart and blood supply to the heart, while releasing and surrendering blocked energy.

Major wellknown risk factors for cardiovascular disease, also linked to high stress levels:
  • Smoking
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
Other very important, lesser known risk factors:
  • Low antioxidant status
  • Low levels of essential fatty acids
  • Low levels of magnesium and potassium
  • Increased platelet aggregation (stickiness)
  • Increased fibrinogen formation
  • Elevated levels of homocystein
  • Stress associated with the type A personality, worry, anxiety
  • Hostility
The most important nutrients for heart health:
  • An antioxidant combination
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1)
  • Other B-complex vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Co-enzyme Q10 – 40mg 3 times a day
  • Hawthorn (Crateagus oxyacantha) berry 500 – 750mg / day
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Ginkgo biloba- 40mg 3x / day
  • Garlic – eat crushed garlic in your food – at least 3 cloves a day, with parsley for the smell, or take garlic capsules
  • Ginseng (all the species can be found in one adaptogenic supplement) – be careful if you have poorly controlled high blood pressure
  • Phytoestrogens, e.g. soybeans, chick peas, lentils, linseed
More links on Stress and Heart Disease:
Heart disease: The body and soul of your heart
Heart facts: energy medicine and science combined in a healing dance where fact, mystery and imagination create an image of wholeness
Healing strategies

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