FDA no longer recommending Baby Aspirin Preventative
Acupuncture, Self-Care

Daily ‘Baby Aspirin’: FDA now says risks may outweigh benefits

Daily aspirin no longer recommended by FDA as a preventativeFDA’s New Position on Daily ‘Baby Aspirin’

Growing up I heard repeatedly the importance of taking a low-dose daily aspirin (i.e. baby aspirin) to prevent heart attack. If you grew up with the same story, the FDA’s 2014 change of position might come as a surprise, if you haven’t already heard it. In their Consumer Update, they wrote:

“…, [A]fter carefully examining scientific data from major studies, FDA has concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called ‘primary prevention.’ In such people, the benefit has not been established but risks—such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach—are still present.”

Special concern applies to anyone already taking other blood thinners, such as warfarin, dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and apixiban (Eliquis).

Should everyone avoid taking baby aspirin?

In short, no. Dr. Robert Temple, deputy director for clinical science at the FDA at the time emphasizes, “Since the 1990s, clinical data have shown that in people who have experienced a heart attack, stroke or who have a disease of the blood vessels in the heart, a daily low dose of aspirin can help prevent a reoccurrence.” How do you know which is appropriate for you? Talk to your primary care physician.

What are my alternatives?

The common denominators are always proper diet and establishing healthy eating habits, exercise, maintain a healthy blood pressure, quit smoking if you haven’t already, and stress reduction. Did you know acupuncture can help with almost all these efforts? To learn more, consider reading, “Give Your Cardiovascular Health a Boost with Acupuncture.” Additionally, establishing a daily meditation routine can do wonders. Not convinced? Consider a 2012 study, that found “African Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly [twice daily for 20 minutes] were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with African Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years.” I’d say that sounds worth it. Would you?


Reiki decreases anxiety post-heart attack

Post-Heart Attack, Reiki Decreases Anxiety

Post-Heart Attack, Reiki Decreases Anxiety | Reiki Energy Work for Everyday People.

Reiki supports relaxation and decreased anxiety after heart attack

Heart Attack (aka Myocardial Infarction)

20-Minutes of Reiki: A whole lot of good

In a small 2008 study, researchers compared the effects of Reiki (light-touch energy work they call “relaxation therapy”) to those of classical music on post-acute coronary syndrome (ACS) inpatients. In the study, patients had to have had an ACS episode within 72 hours before receiving 20-minutes of treatment (either Reiki or classical music), or simply participating in a control group of minimal distraction.

How Reiki relaxes the body

So, what did the researchers conclude? “Reiki increases vagal activity and decreases anxiety in patients after ACS.” In specific, they found Reiki significantly:

  • increased high frequency (HF) component of HRV
  • increased respiration rate interval
  • reduced reported anxiety
  • increased sense of relaxation

What is the HF component of HRV?

The HF component will decrease during periods of time pressure or emotional strain; so seeing Reiki’s ability to increase this is consistent with the participants’ experiencing less anxiety and more relaxation.

What is ACS?

Acute coronary syndrome  is an umbrella term for conditions in which the blood supplied to the heart is suddenly blocked, such as is the case in heart attack or unstable angina.

Energy work and the Heart

Energy Center Lao Gong in the Hand

Energy center, Lao Gong, in the hand is a point along the Pericardium (heart protector) channel.

They say many healthcare providers die from complications to the heart because they tax the organ’s energy so extensively, in caring for others and especially in channeling its energy through the hands as is the case for many bodyworkers including massage therapists. While I can appreciate the sentiment, I think it’s notable to also reference Louise Hay’s work in which she references coronary thrombosis as a condition of “feeling alone and scared,” a manifestation of feeling, “I’m not good enough. I don’t do enough. I’ll never make it.” In the same book, You Can Heal Your Life, she also lists heart attack as a condition of “squeezing all the joy out of the heart in favor of money or position, etc.” Unfortunately, these sentiments are not uncommon to many individuals, especially those working such demanding jobs/hours as do healthcare providers.

Anxiety and the Heart

In Chinese medicine, we believe when the heart is balanced, one experiences joy. When the heart is unbalanced, one experiences anxiety about big-picture concerns. It’s not surprising then, to hear Louise Hay’s mapping of these conditions to thoughts like, “I’m not good enough. I don’t do enough. I’ll never make it.” More importantly, understanding Reiki’s effect to quell anxiety is an important finding when it comes to caring for folks post-heart attack (or other ACS episode). It means supporting the heart energetically, and reducing overall stress on the body. This is no small detail, as stress can affect heart beat regularity and, indirectly, this population’s risk of arrhythmic sudden death after myocardial infarction.

Your practice

Consider treating yourself to care. What would deeply nourish your heart’s sense of joy, connection and love? How does it feel to allow yourself to fully receive support? Some of my favorite things to recommend for body-based heart support include Reiki, Watsu or floating. What are some of yours? Share in the comments!