By AFEA member Katie Woolf
Elvis Presley famously sang:
Well, since my baby left me
Well, I found a new place to dwell
Well, it’s down at the end of Lonely Street
At Heartbreak Hotel
Where I’ll be–where I get so lonely, baby
Well, I’m so lonely
I get so lonely, I could die
It is said that the physical heart changes shape forever once it has experienced heartbreak. And why shouldn’t it? It is one of the most intense and painful feelings we can experience as a human being and most of us will experience it in our lifetime.
Love is possibly the most incredible and powerful emotion of all. It is the emotion weneed most to feel healthy, alive and well. It gives us the ability to feel connected and safe with the people, animals and Nature and it is at the heart (excuse the pun) of most people’s lives and the very thing that gives our lives meaning. Studies have shown that people who are partnered, whether that is with a loving partner, a great friend or with a loved and cherished pet – are more likely to live longer than those who live in isolation. Other studies have shown that having dogs and animals to love and look after decreases blood pressure and stimulates the immune system.
The loss of this love can be devastating.
Heartbreak is the outcome of circumstances beyond our control. It may be through bereavement or divorce or mental health issues that separate us from those we love against our will. The pain and devastation can be so crippling that a person can no longer cope or function in day-to-day life and can affect our physical health too. It can be so painful that all joy is taken from our normal lives and every cell in our body.
The heartbreak caused by the loss of a baby due to stillbirth, the heartbreak caused by the loss of a partner after a lifetime together and the heartbreak of being dumped by your first love. This pain is crippling and unbearable for the sufferer.
I have witnessed how Five-Element acupuncture can help lessen the pain of loss and heartbreak and help give the person the resources to cope with their situation, whatever it is and recover.
In the Five-Element acupuncture system of medicine the ancient Chinese describe 10 physical organs but also add two essential functions. One of these functions is known as the “Heart Protector”. Through an understanding of the precious nature of the heart in both its physical and emotional function – they recognised that the heart must be protected from physical and emotional blows. The ‘Heart Protector’ function acts like a buffer or a protective field around the heart that will take the blows and insults so that only the individual will only experience an appropriate amount of pain.
In all spiritual traditions ‘suffering’ is seen as an essential part of spiritual growth and this is also true of the Five-Element system. The job of the ‘Heart Protector’ is to allow for all experiences both good and bad but also limit the suffering so that experiences serve as life lessons and not devastations. When I treat a patient to support the ‘Heart Protector’ the pain will not be deadened as it might be with prescription drugs but give the fortitude to have the rich and full experience of heartbreak but with a better ability to cope with it and return to full health.