Alternative treatments can have a place for treating heart disease.
“Overall there are a few things out there that might have some benefits for cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Sabrina Akrami, a cardiologist affiliated with Ingalls Memorial Hospital. “The issue is we don’t have enough information to totally measure its impact.”
According to Akrami, Omega-3 fatty acids, which help in lowering cholesterol and antioxidants in diet or with vitamin supplements, may have advantages.
“And we definitely know that eating a healthy diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables is definitely much better than a diet high in fats. Regular exercise where you change your heart rate is definitely better. Currently there is a lot of information about yoga being helpful and also about touch therapy. Though we don’t know for sure, we definitely know that patients with strong support groups do much better.”
Karen Jensen, a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais and Anat Baniel Methods, a way of improving function and pain-free movement for infants, children and adults, offers classes called Awareness Through Movement as well as individual sessions designed to result in calming the nervous system.
“That helps to lower blood pressure along with stress,” says Jensen, whose office is located in Miller Beach.
That’s important, she goes on to say, because relaxation has a positive impact on heart health.
Renee Kimberling, a natural health practitioner who recently opened the Healing Arts Center in Valparaiso, has four other practitioners working with her each with a different specialty including acupuncture and ,clinical massage.
A practitioner of Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET), Kimberling, says describes NAET as a combination of therapies including Chinese medicine, applied kinesiology, chiropractic and allopathic medicine or allergy elimination.
“NAET uses no medicines or supplements,” says Kimberling, RN, ND. "Instead it uses energy and we find that it helps eliminate many chronic conditions including heart disease.”
According to Kimberling, undetected allergies may be the root cause of such chronic conditions as arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, eczema, autism, ADHD and acid reflux.
“This is a non-invasive and gentle way to treat them,” she says noting that identifying and eliminating these allergies allows the body to regain a state of balance and eases the symptoms of chronic diseases that negatively impact people’s health.
Healing Arts Center also has a practitioner of reflexology on staff.
“All of the organs of the body including the heart are connected with the feet and the hands through acupuncture points,” she says. “The reflexologist can stimulate those points to promote healing and decrease or increase circulation as well as de-toxify the systems.”
The center’s acupuncturist can also treat heart disease by opening the energy pathways and encouraging the body to heal itself.
“Our clinical massage also promotes relaxation and stimulates circulation,” she says. “All these ways can help heart disease.”
Akrami also notes the importance of eliminating toxins by drinking alcohol in moderation and giving up smoking.
“There’s much benefit to healthy diet and exercise,” she says. “And supplements and relaxation as well as having a good support group can also be beneficial and supportive of traditional cardiac care.”