Case story: A Heart Under Pressure

By Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund Frandsen, October 2015

We often hear course participants express their appreciation for the fact, that Touchpoint’s workshops come "round about" many angles of the current topic. We aim to view the subject from as many points as possible. The latest training course for reflexologists "Round about: the Heart" is no exception. One of the things we examine is the close relationship between the heart and its surroundings in the chest. The connective tissue/fascia and space in the thorax play an important role for the well-being of the heart.

The following case story serves as an instructive example of how important it is not to overlook these connections. 

Case: Cardiac arrhythmia 
Mona is a 64-year-old woman who presents with cardiac arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation). The arrhythmia has been going on for the past eight years with varying intensity. At times, she has attacks several times a day, which can last from half a minute up to half an hour, at one occasion it continued throughout the night. Mona is being monitored by a cardiac outpatient clinic and is currently wearing an implanted ECG sensor to detect how the heart behaves during attacks. The doctors are planning to zap several nerves in her heart to try to reduce the fibrillation. After examining the effects and side effects, Mona has refused treatment with drugs.

Mona has recently taken early retirement after having a long career with a stressful job as a corporate secretary. The transition to early retirement has also been, and still is, characterized by stress and anxiety about defining her new life. She is certain there is a link between stress and the development of heart problems. Her domestic life is harmonious, with husband and good contact to her adult children and other family members.

First session
We measure heart rate variability (HRV, HeartMath) which indicates a high level of stress. Instruct her in a technique for heart meditation and after a little practice, HRV clearly becomes more coherent. With reflexology she responds most to nerve points of the autonomic nervous system, vagus, phrenicus and the chest / shoulder area, but only a little at the heart reflexes. Digestive area is ok. Recommend supplements of magnesium (as bioelectrical trace minerals), and vitamin B6. 

Session 2
By doing the heart meditation technique, Mona has had significantly fewer AF attacks. We apply fascia techniques and reflexology for the chest, back, neck and shoulders. She has lots of tension in the trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, scalenes and especially in the pectoralis minor muscle. Trigger point work and reflexology for the pectoralis minor, provides an immediate sense of opening and general relaxation of the thorax. We talk about posture and teach her how to stretch the front of the chest. Mona has spent much of her working life in front of a computer, and exhibits a collapsed position with forward-drawn shoulders (reduced space in the thorax). Reflexology of congested areas from the first treatment repeated.

Foot reflex (dorsal view) and stretching exercise for the pectoralis minor muscle 

Session 3
Mona continued practicing the heart meditation and arrhythmia attacks are getting fewer. She has noticed that she is able to stop most attacks by immediately stretching the chest muscles + massaging trigger points for pectoralis minor. We work with reflexology + talk about breathing and body rhythms. 

Session 4
After a 2 week break, Mona returns to our clinic with a big smile on her face. She has had almost no attacks since her last visit. As soon as she feels any signs of unrest in the heart, she does the stretching exercise followed by a few slow deep breaths, which immediately relaxes the heart. She has fascia treatment, and nerve and classical reflexology. We decide to continue with weekly sessions 3-4 times and then step down if the good result holds. In the time of writing this, Mona has had four sessions, and her operation was postponed. The process clearly shows how the heart can be squeezed mentally, but certainly also physically

More info about the “Round about: The Heart” workshop is here >

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