Palpitations may be caused by nervous tension or even drinking too much coffee. However, they can also result from heart problems. If they occur frequently, your GP will arrange for hospital tests. A rapid heartbeat, called tachycardia, can be caused by an overactive thyroid. It particularly affects anxious people.

Elderly people or alcoholics often have an irregular heartbeat, which may be due to disease of the heart valves. Everyone experiences and extra heartbeat at times, or the sensation that the heart “missed a beat”. This is often due to anxiety, but if it happens regularly it may be a symptom of a heart disorder.

When a serious heart condition is suspected, orthodox treatment at a Western hospital, with ECG tests, is vital. These would automatically be carried out in a Chinese Medicine hospital in China, where all the modern diagnostic equipment is used.

Chinese Medicine regards palpitations as evidence of a deficiency of the Heart and Heart-Blood. A ChineseMedicine practitioner will prescribe Mai Men Dong (Radix Ophiopogonis), Tian Men Dong (Radix Asparagi), Suan Zao Ren (Semen Ziziphi Spinosae), Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni) or Shou Wu Teng (Caulis Polygoni Multiflori), which nourish the Heart and calm palpitations. Acupuncture is good for palpitations which are not due to physical reasons.

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