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Understanding POTS: Signs, Symptoms, and Natural Approaches from a TCM Perspective

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, commonly known as POTS, is a complex and often misunderstood condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by a sudden increase in heart rate and other debilitating symptoms upon standing, POTS can significantly impact one’s quality of life. In this blog post, we will explore the signs and symptoms of POTS and discuss natural approaches, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that may help manage this condition.

What Is POTS?

POTS is a type of dysautonomia, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that regulates involuntary bodily functions. The primary hallmark of POTS is an abnormal heart rate increase when transitioning from a lying down to a standing position. In individuals with POTS, the heart rate typically rises by 30 beats per minute or more within ten minutes of standing.

Common Signs and Symptoms of POTS:

Tachycardia: A rapid heart rate, often exceeding 100 beats per minute while standing.

Orthostatic Intolerance: Symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting when upright.

Fatigue: Profound exhaustion, especially after minimal physical activity.

Brain Fog: Difficulty concentrating, memory issues, and cognitive impairment.

Gastrointestinal Problems: Nausea, bloating, and constipation.

Headaches: Frequent headaches or migraines.

Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns.

Exercise Intolerance: Inability to engage in physical activity without symptoms worsening.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Perspective:

In TCM, POTS is seen as a disturbance in the body’s Qi (vital energy) and Blood circulation. Imbalances in the Heart, Spleen, and Kidney meridians are often observed. TCM approaches to managing POTS aim to restore harmony in the body’s energy flow.

Natural Approaches to Managing POTS:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help regulate the autonomic nervous system and improve blood circulation. Specific points targeting the Heart, Spleen, and Kidney meridians are often chosen.

Chinese Herbal Medicine: Herbal formulations customized to individual needs can address symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, and heart palpitations. Herbs like ginseng and astragalus are commonly used.

Dietary Modifications: TCM suggests adopting a diet that supports Qi and Blood, including nourishing foods like dark leafy greens, lean proteins, and foods rich in iron and vitamins.

Hydration: Adequate fluid intake can help maintain blood volume and alleviate symptoms. Adding a pinch of sea salt to water may also be beneficial.

Mind-Body Practices: Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises can help balance Qi and improve overall well-being.

Stress Management: Stress exacerbates POTS symptoms. Practices like meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness can help manage stress.

Compression Garments: Wearing compression stockings can aid in blood circulation and reduce orthostatic symptoms.

Physical Rehabilitation: Gradual exercise programs under the guidance of a physical therapist can improve tolerance to physical activity.


POTS is a challenging condition that requires a holistic approach to management. Traditional Chinese Medicine, with its focus on restoring balance and energy flow in the body, offers valuable natural strategies for those living with POTS. Remember that individual experiences and responses to treatments may vary, so it’s essential to work closely with qualified healthcare professionals who understand both POTS and TCM.

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