Natural remedies for heart palpitations
About 36 million times a year, your heart beats exactly when it’s supposed to. So why sweat it if your ticker occasionally marches to a different drummer? Because palpitations can be unnerving. Fortunately, there are ways to stop them almost as soon as they start. Better yet, prevent them from happening in the first place by practicing stress-reducing techniques, screening your medications, and adding some heart-healthy foods and supplements to your menu.
To calm a flutter
- As soon as you notice an irregular heartbeat, sit down and prop up your feet. Breathe slowly and deeply, letting your belly expand with each inhalation. If you focus on slow, steady breathing, your heartbeat will probably return to its normal rhythm right away.
- If the fluttering continues, do the Valsalva maneuver: Pinch your nose, close your mouth, then try to exhale. Since you can’t, because your nose and mouth are closed, you’ll bear down as if you were forcing a bowel movement (or pushing out a baby during childbirth). The brief rise in blood pressure that results should help reset your heart. The Valsalva technique is named after seventeenth-century Italian anatomist Antonio Maria Valsalva.
- Cough forcefully. Like the Valsalva maneuver, coughing increases pressure inside your chest. Sometimes that’s all you need to restore your heart to its regular rhythm.
Get some water
- Take a few gulps of cold water. No one knows exactly why this helps, but some people get instant results. One theory is that the swallowed water causes your esophagus to press against your heart, and that nudge restores the rhythm.
- Alternatively, splash ice-cold water on your face. The shock might be enough to do the trick.