In a previous article we talked about the Liver Healing Sound of “ssshhh” while visualizing the color green to cleanse the Liver. We are now in the Heart season of Summer. Hot weather creates the Fire element (red color) which creates the Bitter flavor required for a healthy vibrant Heart.
Before we get to the Taoist Healing Heart Sound, let’s see what the Ancient Taoists’ say about the Heart. Love and joy are expressed through the Heart Fire Element; the Mind dwells within the chambers of the Heart. All of our emotions and feelings come through our Heart from all the other organs. If your spleen, stomach, kidneys, liver, for example, are weak, toxic and malfunctioning, your mind working through your heart will be sad, depressed and low-spirited. Eat enough of fatty, oily, greasy, sugary fast-food, and your arteries to your heart close-up, and your heart stops beating..
Summer is the season of the Heart, where the Sun’s energy is at its Yang peak, and nature grows food abundantly. This is the time of year to eat plenty of Bitter summer food. The Bitter food taste strengthens the heart and small intestines, thins your blood and keeps you cool and healthy on hot summer days. The Bitter taste has a descending, centering energy in the body. Green foods rich in magnesium strengthen the tissues of the heart and nerves; they restrain the “anxiety peptide”—a complex of amino acids in the brain that causes anxiety. Magnesium is at the center of the chlorophyll molecule of all green plant life on earth. Here are some Bitter foods to help strengthen the heart: apricots, apricot seeds, endive, kale, chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, cucumbers, corn, califlower, millet. Herbs for high blood pressure, high pulse rate and strokes: chrysanthmum, honeysuckle, jasmine, hibiscus, alfalfa, echinacea, plantain, aloe vera, blessed thistle, chaparrel, swedish bitters, dandelion root, burdock root, peppermint, rhubarb, yarrow, chamomile, motherwort, lily flower, mulberries, schisandra berries and mandarin calms spirit, memory and concentration. Jujube seeds, chia seeds, dill, basil, catnip and valarian elderberry, lemon, dill help to reduce nerve strain; rose hips supply the body with vitamin C to soothe nerves; raw rehmannia, calamus, skullcap and lobelia are used to clear the brain to prevent strokes or after a stroke, to regain brain function.
For low blood pressure, low pulse rate and weak heart function, these herbs and supplements are recommended: ginger, valarian, calamus, hawthorne berry, vitamin E, Niacin, Flax seed capsules,cloves,etc. Eat a little more salads, steamed vegetables and fruit in hot weather–less raw food in cold damp weather. If you have low blood pressure, a cold stomach, general weakness, fatigue and a cold stomach, eating a lot of raw food in winter can weaken the heart, make your stomach colder, thin your blood, and give you cold hands and feet and general coldness throughout the bones and internal organs. Cold Central Energy (stomach,spleen, pancreas), is a major cause of poor food assimilation, indigestion, gas, bloating and depressed Heart function.
If you have heart problems avoid: Milk, ice cream, egs, meat, sugar, peanuts, white flour, red meats
For mental depression eat these foods: brown rice, apples, cabbage, wheat germ, kuzu root, apple cider vinegar, (wild blue green algae and cucumbers, in addition to the above foods, are especially good for strokes or high blood pressure (Pitta-Fire body types).
Foods to strengtrhen nerve and heart tissue: Oatstraw, oyster shell tablets, oat groat tea(tea made from whole uncut oats), cucumbers, celery, lettuce(bib, boston, leaf or romaine and horsetail herb tea or capsules. These are all high in Silica, a heart, nerve and artery mineral.
Supplements for the Heart: Pycnogenol (pine bark extract or grape seed extract capsules, CoQ10 capsules.
The Kidneys rule over the heart and these Chinese herbs strengthen the prostate and kidneys: schizandra, cuscuta, lyucium, plantago and rubus. This is called the “Five Seeds Kidney Nourishing Pill.” L-Arginine, an amino acid helps to enhance the effects of the herbs in the system.
The kidneys also rule over the urinary system and genital organs, glands and hormones. When the kidneys become diseased or worn out, the sexual fluids dry up and one ages rapidly. Abusing the kidneys with excess water sweets, juice, pop or fruit intake weakens the heart, blood, prostate, bladder and arteries. To remedy the problem, stop the cause or causes of the problem, and the effects will not come. The kidneys must be somewhat expanded (Yin), but warm—not too damp or watery, and not too dry or hot. Either extreme places pressure on the heart and arteries, i.e., low blood pressure, high blood pressure, blocked arteries from excess animal fats, oils and sweets, or prolapsed arteries and anemia from excess liquids, sweets and raw food.
The Heart rules the blood and blood vessels and contains the Mind. Chinese Medicine says that the heart produces blood, and transforms food-chi (energy) into rich red(blue) blood. Your heart keeps your blood flowing, and your blood nourishes your heart and houses your mind. Blood and heart, working in harmony make up the strength of your body and determine the strength, constitution and health of your gene pool, which determines the health of your children.
The Bitter food taste can restore your sense of taste; it is germicidal, antibacterial, detoxifying, eradicates worms, parasites, candida yeast; it aids digestion by removing damp, wet stomach congestion, removes accumulations in fatty tissue; it dries up mucous, toxins and chloresterol in the cells, tissues, arteries, veins, blood and heart. Bitter food taste is one of the three food tastes used for weightloss. We’ll cover weightloss in a future article.
However, an excess amount of bitter food, especially in cold weather can wither your skin and overwork your liver, causing a yellow-orange hue to your face, eyes and hands–carotene anemia. The Heart nourishes the blood, and the blood strengthens the stomach, so a strong heart/blood connection can help to improve your digestion, assimilation, absorption and elimination of food. An overheated Yang Heart and circulatory system can also cause tongue ulcers, reddish tongue and bitter taste in the mouth. The Heart rules over the tongue. A person full of hate in their heart lashes out at others through his or her tongue.
Heart problems can be caused by too much or not enough Bitter foods. An excess intake of Bitter foods and herbs can cause an expansive Yin condition of the brain and heart, causing spaciness, rambling talk, extravagant joy, which can further weaken the heart and blood circulation.
Excessive eye focusing, reading and close work weaken the heart and eyesight. Excess summer heat or a hot house can injure the heart and small intestines. A malfunctioning heart can cause hysteria, especially hot, humid weather.
When blood chi and heart function is weak, you may feel tired with cold hands and feet. A healthy heart imparts a clear consciousness, balanced mental activity, emotional stability, clear thinking, good memory and sound sleep. A healthy heart is exhibited by a calm disposition, sparkling eyes and a steady gaze. Excess laughter, hyperactivity, anxiety, excitability, anger, nervousness, fear, depression indicate a weak unstable heart function, in which the mind cannot ground itself in the heart properly, causing melancholy & joylessness.
A Healthy Heart Instills Joy, Love & Happiness
The heart regulates the body/mind/spirit network. In Chinese Medicine it is the Ruler or Governor of our being. The Heart houses our shen or spirit–it brings harmony to our mind, body and emotional life. The Heart/Fire Element makes us unique as individuals–gives us a strong sense of self and connection to life–a spiritual sense of destiny–you become a Spiritual Warrior. You have a powerful spiritual bond with the Universe/God/Tao/Nature, yet you are grounded solid onto the Earth to deal with your everyday activities.
How to Perform The Taoist Heart Healing Sound
Raise your arms overhead as you make a fist, inhaling a fresh breath into your heart. Squat down, hold your breath, let your arms go down to near your thighs. Next, stand up slowly, raise your arms slowly overhead, while extending your fingers and make the Healing Sound “AWE” or “OM” as you exhale. As your breath is going out, visualize toxins and bad energy (hate and arrogance) leaving your heart. Also, imagine the color red coming in to heal your heart as you breath out. As you inhale visualize Joy, Love and Happiness coming into your Heart Chamber; exhale the “AWE” Sound and repeat 5 times daily.
As you practice the Summertime Heart Cleansing Healing Sound daily, your negative emotions will change to positive life-giving joyful energy. Keep a warm smile in your heart, and throughout the day, as you feel joyfulness come into your life.
Chi Kung exercises can be practiced in the early morning or evening quietness on an empty stomach or at least two hours after any meal. Chi Kung exercises are tonic and healing, helping you to keep good health and prevent disease. Practice this powerful Heart Healing Sound daily and watch your energy skyrocket.
Chris Jarmey and Gabriel Mojay, “Shiatsu: The Complete Guide” (London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991), 158-164.