A couple of years ago, a British Heart Foundation–funded study followed fifty-two patients over four months, aged between twenty-eight and eighty-seven, who suffered with what is officially known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy. An article in the UK Telegraph reports:
The little-known condition was first coined in Japan in 1990 and named after the native word for an octopus pot, which has a unique shape that resembles a broken left ventricle. It is provoked when the heart muscle is suddenly “stunned,” causing the left ventricle to change shape, and is typically prompted by “intense emotional or physical stress.” It affects the heart’s ability to pump blood and, according to the BHF, there remains no known medical cure. . . . Figures show that between three percent and 17 percent of sufferers die within five years of diagnosis.
The notion of dying of a broken heart may seem poetic in the West, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it has always been understood that emotional, spiritual, or psychological shocks can “break” the heart by adversely affecting the tonality of shen energies—the energies of the heart, which are at the center of the body.