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Healthy Hearts: Enhanced External Counter Pulsation

Published on June 18th, 2019 by Dr. Meghan Haggarty

Cardiovascular disease affects 1 in 12 Canadians. Although lifestyle factors are major contributors to cardiovascular disease, sometimes eating well and exercising isn’t enough to have a healthy heart. As a naturopath I often see people who are eating a clean heart healthy diet and exercising regularly, but aren’t getting the expected results. In these cases we need to utilize additional interventions to prevent cardiovascular events such as heart attack or strokes. EECP is an important addition to a complete approach to heart health.

Enhanced external counter pulsation, EECP, is a therapy targeted at improving the health of the blood vessels that supply the heart with blood and oxygen. The treatment involves a series of pneumatic cuffs on your lower limbs that squeeze in rhythm with your heart beat. The action increases blood flow to the heart by squeezing the blood through smaller vessels called collateral blood vessels. In patients with angina and atherosclerosis this acts like a natural bypass.

EECP has been shown in studies to:

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Decrease angina pain (severity and frequency)
  • Decrease inflammatory markers
  • Increase energy

EECP can be combined with other naturopathic therapies including therapeutic diets, supplements, and chelation for optimal results.

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