The conventional theory on heart disease emphasizes cholesterol control, exercise, drug therapy and surgery. During the last fifty years, the pursuit of the coronary artery theory has cost America as a nation billions of dollars in unnecessary surgical costs, billions in medications that cause as much harm as allow for any positive benefits, and, most seriously, has led many to adopt a low-fat diet, which only worsens the problem.

The latest research has revealed that the nervous system has a great more to do with dysfunctional heart patterns than cholesterol. As a Doctor of Chiropractic I find this so exciting I can hardly contain myself!! Chiropractors are specialists of the nervous system. Our job is to locate, stabilize, and correct misalignments of the spine that may cause nerve "pinching". The "pinching" in turn disrupts the natural nerve messages to where ever the nerve goes causing dysfunction to the area. The real revolution in the prevention and treatment of heart disease will come with increased understanding of the role played by the autonomic nervous system and how it contributes to blockage of blood flow by measuring this through the tool of heart rate variability (HRV).

We have two distinct nervous systems: the first, the central nervous system (CNS), controls conscious functions such as muscle and nerve function; the second nervous system, the autonomic (or unconscious) nervous system (ANS), controls the function of our internal organs, blood vessels and glands.

The autonomic nervous system is divided into two branches, which in a healthy person are always in a balanced yet ready state. The sympathetic or "fight-or-flight" system is centered in our adrenal glands; it uses the chemical adrenaline as its chemical transmission device and tells our bodies there is danger afoot; time to activate and run. It does so by activating a series of biochemical responses, the centerpiece of which are the glycolytic pathways, which accelerate the breakdown of glucose to be used as quick energy as we make our escape from the bear chasing us.

The second branch of the autonomic nervous system is the parasympathetic or "rest and digest" system as part of the Central Nervous system especially the cranial nerves; it uses acytelcholine and norepinephrine as its chemical transmission devices and tells our bodies "all is well so relax." The "feel good chemicals", called endorphins are part of the parasympathetic nervous system. They carry healing soothing messages to the body so we can feel naturally healthy and "high".

If heart disease is fundamentally caused by a deficiency in the parasympathetic nervous system, then the solution is obviously to nurture and protect that system, which is the same as saying we should nurture and protect ourselves. Nourishing our parasympathetic nervous system is basically the same as dismantling a way of life for which humans are ill-suited. This means avoiding the excesses of industrial civilization. The known things that nourish our parasympathetic nervous system are contact with nature, loving relations, trust, economic security (a hallmark of indigenous peoples the world over), chiropractic adjustments and sex—this is a whole new world of therapy for ailing hearts.

Hence, we will be forced to look at how heart disease is a true manifestation of the stresses of modern civilized life on the core of the human being. To overcome the epidemic of heart disease, we literally need a new medical paradigm, a new economic system, a new ecological consciousness; in short, a new way of life. The coronary theory misses all of this, just as it misinterprets the actual pathological events

On Dominica, the Nature Isle of the Caribbean, which can become a premier wellness destination, we have the natural healing the parasympathetic nervous system so aptly needs: outstanding nature and alternative practitioners who facilitate natural healing in a nature setting. My suggestion is to take time to check your nervous system with a wholistic doctor of chiropractic and then indulge in nature. The other facets of nourishing the parasympathetic must be fostered over time but nature is always waitin