Acupuncture for Heartaches and Heartbreaks


February 14, 2022

A breakup can affect your entire body — just ask anyone going through it. The anguish of heartbreak can knock you out, the grief making you unrecognizable. It can manifest in depression or anxiety, close you off emotionally and lead to stress and distrust. The worst part is that you don’t know when it will end, when you’ll feel normal or okay again. Therapy is a wonderful channel for those struggling in the aftermath, but there’s another proven, more immediate treatment of heartbreak: Acupuncture. 

Acupuncture helps the body return to a parasympathetic nervous system state, removing the coursing fight-or-flight energy and increasing endorphins, leading to relaxation. 

“It’s a really simple and scientifically backed application of stress reduction,” said Sarah-Mae Brumberger, of FloLo Holistic, in midtown NYC.

She’s also been the patient in this scenario. Brumberger herself, shares how while she was still a student of Chinese medicine, the heartache of a past breakup was affecting her deeply. She received an acupuncture treatment where a point was chosen in the center of her chest, a bit below her sternum. Brumberger, being new and unfamiliar with the points, didn’t yet know that this was the command point of the heart. But she felt it, a cathartic release. 

“I remember her leaving the room and feeling this energy from that point and just sobbing,” Brumberger said. “It was this incredible moment that my body knew what this point was for without me even knowing what it was.” 

It was also the moment that shaped her understanding of acupuncture and how profound it is as treatment for heartbreaks and more. Acupuncture facilitates the movement of energy derived from emotional constraint through and sometimes out of the body. This kind of healing is a process that could take years on its own. Which is why so many have turned to it for help with their interpersonal lives — perhaps they’re struggling in their relationship, have problems communicating, are closed off, have lost the ability to trust. 

“A lot of the time these things get trapped and we don’t know how to release them,” Brumberger explained. “The body does in fact hold memories and trauma in places other than your brain, and this medicine allows us to move this energy correctly and release it if needed.”

Moving the energy can help build up a person from the inside, helping them feel safe in making big decisions. It’s something Brumberger sees often. One of her former patients sought acupuncture specifically to handle her impending breakup — in fact, she told Brumberger she was looking for the strength to break up with her boyfriend. She came in weekly for 15 weeks, eventually gaining clarity and objectivity, as well as the ability to see her partner separately from herself, ending the cycle of falling into the same issues. 

Other times there’s a lock, a tension in the body caused by stress or even heartbreak that’s difficult to pinpoint or can’t be released on its own. Another patient shared that she’s been having communication issues with her partner, a lot of which stems from childhood trauma. 

“When she leaves the room, she’s like, ‘I felt the ability to hold space to forgive him.’ Sometimes that’s all it is,” Brumberger said. “It’s a spiritual concept but it’s held within the body, and we’re able to access that spirituality within the body through acupuncture.”

Acupuncture doesn’t just help matters of the heart — it also can treat issues related to the organ itself. A big issue plaguing our society is high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, factors of genetics as well as lifestyle (stress, poor diet, lack of activity, smoking), Brumberger said. Acupuncture improves the body’s blood circulation, namely within the heart, and can help it return to a state of balance, called homeostasis. Whether your heart is broken or working overtime, acupuncture is there to decrease stress and create a sense of calm. 

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