AF Association
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A thought

This is only a suggestion, but certainly something to spare a thought for. Many of us with AF either knowingly or unknowing get very stressed. That stress in turn has a huge effect on our nervous system and can produce a myriad of other problems. So much of this is held in our back muscles, and although will give us, in many instances, no pain it will without doubt affect our balance, ease of movement and general well being. Exercise, whether it be yoga, cycling gym will of course help, but in my humble opinion a monthly visit to a good, and I stress good, osteopath, would be of enormous benefit to those of us who struggle with this wretched thing.

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This really does strike a chord.

I have been having awful pain from my left shoulder, the after effects of radio therapy which also damaged my heart. My GP referred me to the orthopaedic unit at our regional hospital. Last week I received a letter indicating that there is an 11 month wait. I enquired about a private consultation. I could be seen in 3 days.

This afternoon I paid my £170 and saw the Consultant. During the examination he said "Do you know that you have a curvature of the spine?" Apparently I lean to the right.

Osteopath, here I come.


Bowen is quite good as well . Google if you are not aware. Helped calm my vagus nerve.

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I agree. I have just been having s conversation with my husband on our daily evening walk. I am convinced my autonomic nervous system is adversely affected due to years of stress and heart arrhythmia. A and e cardiac doc as much too. Makes you wonder.


Thanks for your thought-provoking and also action-encouraging comments. I have a licensed massage therapist/body worker who not only helps keep my physical status in shape, he sends me home with a much-needed dose of positive vibes and confidence that I can cope with the afib process.

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I agree Anna, thank you for spotlighting it. I would say it is an essential part of the response to AF.

I do a number of FREE things daily to address the issues you mention - one only Qigong breathing exercise, walk 2 miles on a Nature Trail, one hour most evenings of mindfulness, prayer/focus on the positives and exercise. Have in the past done Yoga and had Neck & shoulders massages.

Also, I am just back on Glycine - my high profile London Alternative Practitioner is enthusiastic about this. It was recommended with Probiotics to sort out my gastric system and he claims it is excellent for worriers like me as well as the brain needs it to stay positive - as always please take professional advice first and check with your GP/other medics if you want to look into it.

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Definitely! I use Amatsu - a Japanese form of osteopathy and have found the cranial work particularly useful for helping my AF. I hadn't realised that all the internal organs are attached in various ways to the skeleton (there's me thinking they're all floating around inside me!) The nerves that deal with the organs are carried in the spinal column and move out from the spinal column at various points to go to the appropriate organ.

At this point, I have to say that I am not medically trained, but I've been asking a lot of questions during my treatments and doing a lot of my own research to understand how the body works. If you are interested in a high level view of the anatomy around the heart, read on! I've included some web links to illustrate what I'm talking about.

We have 2 nervous systems in our body - the sympathetic nervous system, which deals with the "Fight or flight" response, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which, among other things, sorts out digestion, breeding, resting.

This webpage shows the relationships in the sympathetic nervous system, in which the nerves travel to the thoracic spine (mid-lower back) :


(scroll down in the article to the second diagram. The section of the drawing on the left is the spine, showing each vertebra!)

The parasympathetic nervous system (of which the vagus nerve forms part) comes out from the cervical spine (the vertebrae around the neck). A diagram of the parasympathetic nervous system can be seen here:

(While this is Wikipedia, the references used seem sound - the picture's a good one!)

So basically, the heart is linked into both of these systems, and personally, I find that when in AF, or shortly after AF, I can get pain around T1 and T2 (the thoracic vertebrae), occasionally with some tenderness in the neck. Having sorted T1 and T2 (sympathetic nervous system) with day-to-day-type techniques, I suspect the cranial work is dealing with the parasympathetic nervous system.

Lastly, the heart sits within a bag (the pericardial sac) and it is this to which the ligaments are attached which fix it to the skeleton. This sac is also directly attached to the diaphragm at the bottom, which may explain the impact on breathing when we are in AF. (This one's a lot more technical, but mentions the link between the pericardial sac and the diaphragm:

Hopefully I haven't lost you along the way - understanding this part of anatomy has helped me to understand a lot more of what I've experienced when in AF and immediately following.



I'm taking notes... amazing the things you learn from this forum! I will have to investigate. Thank you everyone for being an incredible source of knowledge.


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Hi that all makes so much sense to me and I practice it and it works! I don't have AF

have had PAF Pure Auronomic Failure for 16 years but only officially diagnosed 3 years ago. I am unable to drive now so I pay my Pilates lady to come to my house every other week and my Husband takes me on the other week to a Complementary medicine lady for a complete body aromatherapy massage and they help me so much! Release all the tensions! And certainly give the feel good factor. I know it's not cheap but I am retired and able to treat myself to these for which I am grateful.

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There is a lot of information that sounds really interesting. Time for me to investigate more about my AF and normal working of the heart. My friend has just shown me a book by Patrick Holford relating to diet and health - also makes for interesting reading.


I could not disagree more strongly.

If you get emotionally involved in the ups and downs of your life, no external agent can help you. You might get temporary relief, but the cause will remain untreated and you will therefore continue to react as you have.

The only true solution lies in learning about your stress responses and how to manage them. That is, the answer lies within you.

I strongly recommend doing serious inner work. Whatever demons may lurk need to be faced and disempowered. They are what drive you - all of us, really - to irrationality.

I suggest you participate in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, or whatever its counterpart might be in the UK. Here in the States, MBSR is developing a broader acceptance and is being applied to such things as smoking cessation.

My own path has been Vipassana-type meditation. If that interests you, it should be fairly easy to find resources in the UK. I can provide print and web references if you like. Insight into oneself, if taken seriously, can lead to daily, moment-to-moment mindful awareness of inner states.

I posted here recently about my first a-fib/flutter experience (it was on a wilderness canoe trip). I'm no paragon of virtue, but that provides a good example of how one can respond to such events.

Suffering = pain x resistance.

May you be free from suffering.


As a now retired psychotherapist who knows a bit bit about all of the above I disagree with your premise, you cannot deny biological structure which all of the physical therapies can help - Chiropractice for me is the most effective but I have used all the above mentioned plus EFT, as I am a qualified practiser.

Holistic practice means just that - stress accumulates in the body - hence physical approaches help. In modern day life it ALSO accumulates from cognitive functioning - worry thoughts - for which approaches such as CBT, Mindfulness, EFT, Gestalt and a whole host more, help by de-structuring the constant stream of unwanted worry thoughts - which are usually triggered by the autonomic nervous system eg:- I sense funny feelings in my heart - am I having a heart attack? Am I going to die? Etc etc.

The autonomic nervous system was developed as a survival mechanism to protect us from lion attack, trouble is the lack of lions today mean that we often perceive quite benign events as threatening, the stress build and a huge number of people now live with chronic stress in their bodies.

I agree that serious inner work can bring you serenity and peace of mind, especially for clearing past emotional traumas AND there are many roads to this state - emotional, spiritual, cognitive, behavioural and physical.

The worth of a really good therapist or therapy is they will probably use a bit of every approach - although most of the time you may not be aware of it,

My current favourites are HearthMath, Chi Quang, Chiropractice and therapeutic massage, Kineisiology and foot massage.

Keep well in mind, body and spirit,


Thanks for your feedback. I don't doubt the efficacy of certain physical methods. My point was to focus on the primary source of our well-being, which resides between our ears. I can provide a number of examples of the power of inner work, but I'll share just the one that I'm currently involved in.

I developed what's likely an autoimmune disorder after stopping flecainide. The symptoms of dizziness and fatigue, among others, that started while on the drug got a lot worse after I was off it for several days. After suffering increasingly severe symptoms for six weeks the symptoms suddenly decreased markedly. Yesterday I had the first symptom-free day since starting flecainide on May 8, after my ablation.

What happened? My doctor gave me a highly encouraging prognosis and I absorbed his optimistic attitude. My attitude shifted from grim acceptance to a positive commitment to healing. Instead of responding to the low-level symptoms that always arise early in the day with torpor and inactivity, I've pushed through them with happy activity.

What's happening? I'm producing endorphins, which (I think) are controlling the overactive microglial cells in my central nervous system.

How long might it have taken for the medical community to have found what was happening and figured out a therapeutic approach? I don't know but I'll still meet with a neurologist to learn what can be learned.

Next step is to meet with a Chinese doctor to clear the bad energy that's accumulated in the past three months.


As a matter of interest which autoimmune disease? My interest is because so did I and I am involved with a support charity and have learned that many autoimmune diseases appear after an invasive procedure. I took Flec for about 12 months and as a pill in the pocket for about 6 years prior to 2 ablations. I failed to recover my energy after successful elimination of AF and then developed acute symptoms of muscle failure, I now have Myasthenia gravis and am being treated with immune suppressants AND am working with wholistic practitioner and include HearthMath and visualisation and just generally doing what makes me feel good and avoiding things that doesn't! I eliminate as much stress as I can from my life as it is a known trigger for relapse. I would be interested in your experience, please feel free to PM me if you don't want to post.

Modern western medicine has transformed our health and general well-being, I grew up in a time when school friends died or were seriously crippled with infectious diseases or accidents which just don't happen in the UK today. Unfortunately I also believe modern drugs and procedures also have unintended affects, as does any alternative and complimentary therapy.

Apart from the drug What I found has helped me most is change of diet - removing wheat especially - but not eating any carbohydrates before afternoon - reducing dairy intake to very small amounts occasionally - no processed foods and reduced red met intake and using a CPAP at night to assist breathing (I have mild sleep apnea). Unfortunately exercise is not an option for me - yet!

My experience is that this disease is biological and positive thinking is important as it certainly helps endorphin release which counteracts the stress hormones - cortisol, adrenaline, noro-adrenaline and testosterone (have you read The Endorphin Effect - William Bloom). Constant exposure to stress hormones released through anxiety damage cells resulting in disease. Endorphin release from creating positive memories or constructs counteract the stress hormones. Unfortunately it is not going to put me into remission, the drugs may. There are many people with Autoimmune diseases who try alternatives and I have yet to hear of anyone who has been crushed, but many benefit from lifestyle changes and improving mental wellbeing.

We are reading the same book, if not on the same page.

Where in world are you?

Very best wishes CD.


Hi CD,

Thanks for sharing your experience. As I said at the top, what I'm dealing with is "likely" an autoimmune issue. People with multiple sclerosis are sometimes given flecainide because it suppresses the brain's immune system (the microglial cells). My doc suspected that Lyme disease bacteria might have been lurking in the background and were let loose, so to speak, while I was taking flecainide, causing my side effects. A blood test came back negative, but I suspect there were some other micro-critters on the loose.

When the flecainide was gone, the immune system came back online, attacking both the invaders and the damage they'd caused, thus making symptoms worse.

This theory is science-based, and in the absence of a neurological diagnosis it seems like the best explanation at this point.

It sounds like you may be sensitive to gluten. And you're wise to control your blood sugar and insulin production by managing sugar (simple carb) intake.

I agree that western medicine has done great things.

I disagree with western medicine's arrogance and superiority about such things as energy work and the connection between emotions and the rest of the body. By relying so completely on the "double-blind placebo-controlled" approach, western medicine has become science wise and people foolish.

Enough ranting.

I continue to be nearly symptom-free over a week after the change I described earlier. Just today I felt dizziness and fatigue coming on. Instead of sitting down and waiting for it to either take over or go away, I took my dog for a walk in the park. The symptoms went away. This happens consistently.

I wish something like that could work for you.


I wish energy stuff would work for me as well but unfortunately this is one for western medicine. Interesting theory, I think my Mg has been around for all of my life at a low level, probably from a childhood infection but the procedure poked my immune system into over response. There is also more recognition that there may be a genetic factor.

I agree that some medics can be very arrogant but I was lucky for 10 years my local GP practice embraced other approaches and every GP had a 2nd training so one was able to give me acupuncture. They all worked with me with whichever approach I wanted to try and were also able to guide me with knowledge and experience rather than prejudice.

My present doctors don't practice other therapies but neither are they dismissive of them.

I have met good and bad practitioners on all fronts and look forward to the day when each merge and use the accumulated knowledge.

I gather in the UK that 'double blind' trials are not always used and qualitive as well as quantative research being encouraged. I have heard a lot more questioning of methodology recently so am far more encouraged than I was 20 years ago.


I hear you.

I also suggest energy work to keep your overall system clear of bad energy ("ja-ki" in the Tao Shiatsu method) and to promote healthy internal functioning of all kinds.

A traditional Chinese doctor can do things for you that no western doc can. It's best, of course, to be familiar with what's available and take what you need.


Wonderful informed responses, not least the ability and value of therapies in

working alongside the powerful mainstream medicine. Heartening indeed!


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