As a more sensitive individual you've probably experienced a heart palpitation or two during a first kiss, in the middle of giving a speech, while at a job interview or during an argument. Maybe you're doing something you know you're not supposed to be doing. Anyway, you notice your heart skips a beat (or adds one) and that thump in your chest instantly alerts you to the need to calm down. It goes a way once you remember to breathe, relax, or you are able to remove yourself from the situation. Once you're sure it isn't going to happen again you go merrily about your way. But, what about those heart palpitations that continue long after the stress is over, that don't stop once you breathe or relax, that even wake you up at night and send you flying to your doctor's office, which I know can be scary.
And, what if, after visiting your doctor and all the tests have been run, you are told you are fine, that you just need to relax and stay away from caffeine (and other stimulants) and you do, but your heart is still glub-glubbing like a fish out of water? What then?
I think I can safely say that if this is your story it's probably not stress that's causing your heart to palpitate, but the palpitations causing you stress, at least at this point. But, there things you may be able to do can to relieve the thumping.
Causes of Heart Palpitations
Of course, heart disease and blockages cause heart palpitations, but that's not what this page is about. If you had heart disease your doctor would let you know your tests weren't fine. This page is about heart palpitations with no apparent disease.
Emotional and physical stress altering hormone production.
Low blood pressure. Go check yours at your local pharmacy.
Muscle spasms in the esophagus caused by indigestion and acid reflux can mimic heart palpitations.
Low Sodium, Potassium, and/or Magnesium. Abnormally low Calcium levels can cause a high Phosphate level, which causes heart palpitations.
High Phosphate levels (due to low Calcium levels). Phosphate rich foods are green leafy vegetables, peas, beans, nuts, chocolate, beef liver, turkey, some cola drinks, skim milk and dairy products. Phosphate imbalances are most often caused by malnutrition, a malfunctioning thyroid gland or poor kidney function.
Lack of exercise.
Gas, indigestion and/or heartburn caused by eating poorly, food sensitivity or a lack of digestive enzymes.
Dehydration (anything less than 4 glasses of pure water per day).
Stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, etc.) or over-stimulating, addictive behavior, such as gambling or exercising to the extreme.
A pinched or over-active nerve.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Arthritis, Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Tension Myosistis Syndrome and MS (Multiple Sclerosis) can all cause heart palpitations.
Natural Remedies for Stopping Heart Palpitations
Cough real hard. This also helps during a heart attack. It helps to restore rhythm.
Hold your breath and bare down for about 5 seconds as if you are having a bowel movement or a baby.
Pinch your nose shut and keep your mouth shut and try to force breath out (the same as bearing down hard).
Throw ice cold water on your face or hop in an ice cold shower. It may startle your heart back to beating in a normal pattern.
Do some deep breathing (in the nose at a count of 4, out the mouth, at a count of 4), which is relaxing. If this makes you feel light headed don't breathe quite so deeply.
Exercise to get your heart rate up and build your heart muscle. Aim for walking 20-30 minutes each day at a brisk pace that still allows you to carry a normal conversation. No huffing and puffing.
Take digestive enzymes for heart palpitations related to indigestion. I encourage you to download TCL's Wellness Handout, The Enzyme Deficiency Checklist, which is instantly FREE when you subscribe to The Captains Lady.
Avoid caffeine and other stimulants that cause internal stress caused by chemical changes in your body's tissues and fluids.
Drink plenty of pure water (4-8 glasses per day). Toxins build up fast when you aren't drinking enough water and anything that causes negative body chemistry or dehydration (caffeine does both) can also cause heart palpitations. Increase your water intake if you've not been drinking enough to see if it helps to reduce or relieve your heart palpitations.
Take a 20 minute soak in natural sea salt. Use 1/2 cup to 1 cup in a warm bath. Let the salt dissolve by swishing before climbing in. Relaz for 20 minutes, rinse with fresh water. Natural sea salt helps to balance your electrolytes by replacing lost minerals.
Journal. Get your feelings out on paper. Write. Scribble. Break the pencil!
Inhale an essential oil you really like to relieve tension and stress, such as Lavender. Lavender doesn't do it for me, but Vanilla is especially soothing. No essential oil? Inhale some real vanilla extract. Smells can be quite calming, especially ones that remind of our childhood (apple pie, bread baking, cotton candy, etc.). hence, Vanilla. Don't eat it. Just smell it. Some folks enjoy Rose or Patchouli for this purpose.
Reduce the amount of time you spend on your cell phone and computer for 7 days. The reason for this is three-fold. It could be your office chair is not adequate and causing back strain, which is causing palpitations. It could be your own electromagnetic energy field is being affected by EMFs from your equipment, which is causing palpitations. It may also be the stress associated with spending too much time online that's causing your palpitations. It's worth ruling out.
You might visit a chiropractor. A chiropractor often has the ability to take an x-ray of your spine to see if anything is out of place and can help to get things back where they should be. However, I suggest you see a massage therapist first. Loosening tight muscles often allow bones to fall back into place on their own, but for severe pinches use ice on the pinch for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off and see a chiropractor first.
Take just one low-dose Aspirin for 2-3 days, unless you are allergic to it. Aspirin thins the blood a bit and reduces the load on your heart. This is why during a heart attack it is wise to swallow an Aspirin or two. If you have it available, use Willow bark instead. Yes. The actual bark from a Willow tree. it contains the ingredient Aspirin is made from. There is less chance of side-effects, such as stomach irritation or bleeding.
Hawthorn has been used for centuries in Europe to calm the nervous system. It is safe to use long term, but please check with your care provider if you are using any kind of heart medication. You will want to use the Tincture as follows: 1:1: 20 drops in water or juice, as the label directs, up to 3 times per day.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and encourages proper heart rhythm. A deficiency in magnesium causes heart palpitations. Calcium and magnesium only work together, so make sure you are getting both.
Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of essential fatty acids through eating wild salmon (or other fish) or by taking Omega-3s or Flax oil supplements.
A deficiency in vitamin B-12 can cause heart palpitations, but be sure to take B complex (at least 50 mg) or make sure your multi-vitamin contains more than just one or two B vitamins.
Pour 1 Cup of boiling water over over 1 Teaspoon of dried Lemon Balm. Steep 10 minutes. Sweeten with Honey and drink. Lemon Balm is a great relaxant. It is also antiviral and great for colds, flu and HSV.
If none of these suggestions seem to help, don't rule out seeing your doctor again, but ask to see someone who specializes in Mitral Valve Prolapse or autoimmune disorders. These doctors will be more informed about the Vagus Nerve.
The Vagus Nerve
The Vagus nerve, while often discussed as a single nerve is actually a pair of nerves that run from the base of the skull through the neck and chest and into the colon.
The Vagus nerve is responsible for heart rate, sweating, gastrointestinal peristalsis, and some muscle movements in the mouth. It's also responsible for the gag reflex and vomiting in the case of stomach flu. In fact, Irritable Bowel Syndrome can activate the Vagus nerve and cause dizziness, vision disturbances and fainting.
These two nerves supply micro-fibers that are attached to all of your organs and some of your bones. These fibers communicate sensory information about the state of your body's organs to your Central Nervous System and back to your brain.
The Vagus nerve can cause heart palpitations, due to certain neurotransmitters (natural chemicals in the body) being released during periods of stress.
The Vagus nerve is also stimulated in reaction to pain, so if you suffer from chronic pain this could be a cause of your heart palpitations.
Basically, heart palpitations be caused by anything going on in the chest and the gut. With this in mind, the first line of defense against heart palpitations is diet in order to give your body what it needs to correct any nutritional imbalances.
I also suggest stress management techniques, such as exercises to tone the muscles, which will help to relieve pain and stress. Whatever relaxes you, do THAT, as long as it is non-stimulating (gambling, gaming, drinking a pot of coffee, sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, etc.). Your relaxing activity should be something healthy.
Sex is fine, by the way, as long as you are of age and have been to your doctor and been told your heart is fine. It's good exercise for the body and soul, unless you're an addict. Then, no.