Heart attack

Complementary therapies and approaches after a heart attack

Complementary therapies and approaches to heart disease have not been subject to the same kind of rigorous testing as conventional medicine so their effects are not measured or proven in the same way. 

People didn't expect to cure their heart condition by using complementary techniques or even to prevent further heart attacks but they did feel that they benefited from the one to one counselling they received from practitioners of complementary medicine.

Some people use complementary approaches, such as Reiki, meditation or T'ai Chi to help with relaxation, to reduce stress and to promote their psychological wellbeing after a heart attack.

Learning how to relax can be difficult. A few people said Reiki had been helpful. Some mentioned that as well as being able to deeply relax, they had found it useful chatting to the Reiki practitioner about their feelings.

Reiki had a powerful effect in helping some people cope with their emotions after their heart attack. One woman said it helped her to cope with depression. Another found it useful for her anxiety attacks.

One man said that Reiki helped him to accept what had happened to him and to cope with the frustration and anger he had felt after his heart attack. A 63-year-old man said that he had learned how to relax for the first time in his life and to control his breathing.

Some people had used Reiki techniques at home to help them relax or to go to sleep at night.

T'ai Chi was helpful for light exercise, stress management and breathing and yoga was practised by some people. One woman was attending meditation classes to learn relaxation techniques.

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Some found relaxation tapes helped them. One man explains that he found it easier to relax when using them and that through practice, he could now relax easily and quickly.

A few people said that counselling had helped them to recover from the emotional impact of their heart attack.

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Last reviewed March 2013.

Last updated April 2012.




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