February sees Cupid draw back his bow and shoot an arrow straight through the heart, or so the song goes. Love is intrinsically good for us and good for our hearts. It is one of the things that make us human. You could even say consciousness is love, or love is a large part of consciousness; love of sweethearts, love of family, love of friends, love of what we do, love of being alive, and of course love of the self.



In Chinese medicine joy is the emotion of the heart, and the spirit (or shen) is said to reside in the heart. This aspect of spirit refers to emotional intelligence, or the intuitive feeling part of consciousness which is stored in the heart. So often we treat the heart and pericardium channels in acupuncture to affect problems with the spirit or mind.


Problems such as depression, panic attacks, forgetfulness, anxiety, palpitations and insomnia, all show that the heart organ, or the fire element is out of balance.


Insomnia is a very common problem people seek acupuncture for and is a classic sign the heart energy is not settled. In Chinese medicine the shen is said to be anchored by the yin of the material blood. i.e. when you fall asleep there is enough blood to pull down and ground the spinning yang activity of the mind and produce that delicious moment where you fall asleep. When there is a lack of heart blood, the thoughts continue to spin around and around for hours, or one falls asleep but for an insufficient time and the shen pops awake again at 3 in the morning bright as a button. Heat can also be involved in agitating the shen or depleting the yin (fluids and blood) and contributing to insomnia.


So treating the heart is often key to insomnia and most problems where we feel too much or too little. The heart is known as the Emperor in Chinese medicine because it is where the spirit resides. It is through our spirit that we perceive ourselves and others and interact with the world around us.


So if my heart is happy, I love myself and my experience of life is better.


So more love the better right? Why not take the next 30 seconds out to complete this life changing exercise! It’s simple and free and nobody will know you are doing it so you won’t feel silly! Just close your eyes (after you`ve read this) sink your awareness down inside your chest, midway between the breast bone and spine and just become aware of your breath. Just focus on the rising and falling of the chest and relax. Then, when you’re ready, just look down with your mind’s eye and smile. Not with your mouth but just with the same feeling a smile would create. An inner smile. Smile at your heart and feel good. Now you have connected to your heart energy feel free to affirm anything you want. Don’t forget to say I Love you, it is Valentine’s Day soon after all!

Written by Jeremy Marshall, Acupuncturist