Clinical Relevance and Notes on Treatment of the Phenomena of Blocked Heart Chi in Physical Therapy
Every client presenting for treatment will be affected by "The Heart Story" to some degree. It is not ideal but most of us adapt and manage just fine. While a therapist with highly trained palpation and observation skills will detect the signs, the individual is usually not aware of the condition. There may be times of emotional crisis where the symptoms are more prominent but they eventually pass. Typically, from the therapist's perspective, it is part of the story of what is going on at the left shoulder. Pec Major will be thick, frequently having a gristle like quality. There may be tenderness or pain on palpation. By contrast the right side of the chest will be thin, loose and pain free. On the left, Pec Minor and the Scalenes in particular are affected, being subtly or not so subtly, tight compared to the right. The Trapezius at its insertion to the left Scapula at upper part of the medial border will have the same thickening as exhibited at Pec Major. The entire shoulder may exhibit rigidity and prove recalcitrant to release. Spacing between the Clavicle and Mandible will be closer on the left. Early in my practice I thought I was uncoordinated being unable to easily massage through the left side...my hand not fitting in like it did on the right...the heel of my hand being obstructed by the jaw while on the right side it glided through smoothly. It was several years before I realised it was not me being uncoordinated but they were all tight on the left side.
Owing to the far ranging nature of the restrictions on the left side from chest, through shoulder, neck, ear and side of head, physical release work commencing in Pec Major midway between the sternum and the nipple followed by a deep Shoulder Rx protocol and Craniosacral Therapy will, at the very least, have a strong relaxation affect leaving the individual with an improved state of well being and feeling as though something has shifted.
It is important to release Pec Major and clear the thickening and tightening over the heart before working neck and shoulder. Having done so you will find tightness in Pec Minor and the Scalenes receding immediately without any direct treatment necessary. The tightness and blockage in the chest over the heart is restricting energetic flow over the bone and through the tissues of the chest through to the side of the head. Until this primary blockage is released and energetic flow resumes, the secondary areas affected in shoulder, neck and head will not respond well to treatment. Craniosacral Therapists take note.
This physical treatment aids indiduals prone to bouts of anxiety and worry. Lifting a weight off their chest and restoring calm. Until emotional issues are resolved the physical condition will return. TCM treatment of internal metabolic function is important and effective in this regard...dysfunction, weakness or imbalance of internal organs affecting emotion and vice versa.
More physically active and athletic individuals are less affected. The build up of chronic restrictions are prevented and cleared by frequent deep breathing, higher respiration and heart rates, repeatedly mobilising and working the musculature, pushing the circulation of Chi and blood. Exercise is the best medicine.
On rare occasions there has been the client whose life is in the toilet and overwhelming symptoms of pain and suffering in arm, shoulder, neck and head are directly attributed to this phenomenon. Medico's will be scratching their heads unable to understand why there is so much pain...nothing is broken. I have encountered this twice in practice to date.
Through my own journey dealing with grief and loss to suicide in the family, I came to understand the significance of emotion on the heart and physical body as described here. My healing experience, in part, was through massage therapy and energetic healing but it is worth noting TCM herbal and acupuncture treatment, Aromatherapy, meditation and physical training also played a role.