The heart is one of the most talked about organs in the human body. Weighing a mere 10 ounces it drives the whole body with the incessant, requisite pumping of blood. Recently, scientists have discovered that outside of its regular pumping regime, the heart is a much more complex organ than initially thought. Some researchers even claim that it has the characteristics of a functional brain that can work both independently of and in conjunction with the cerebral cortex and thus aid us in processing all that sensory information!
Now you will be thinking how does the heart communicate with the brain? Well, in simple anatomy the heart, like any other organ or point in the body, is connected to the central nervous system through a network of nerves that convey information both forwards and backwards. However to emphasize heart’s integral role, it has the densest network of neurons in any organ out of the nervous system with up to 14,000 of them crammed into the fist-sized organ. In addition, it has been learnt that the heart’s electromagnetic field is the strongest in the body. It has been measured to be about 60 times as strong as that of the brain and thus permeates every cell in the human body.
The heart, with its powerful, omnipresent rhythm, dictates the electromagnetic cohesion in the human body. It has been observed that oscillatory systems like the blinking of the eyes and the respiratory rate, tend to mimic the pace of the heart when sustained strong feelings like stress and love are experienced.
Research at the Heart Math Institute has shown that the information pertaining to the emotional state of a person is also communicated via the electromagnetic field of the heart. The pulsating patterns of heart rate changes significantly as we experience different emotions. Negative emotions such as frustration and anger, are associated with an erratic, disorganized and incoherent heart rhythm pattern. In contrast, positive emotions like gratitude and love, are associated with a smooth, orderly and coherent activity in the heart rhythm.
In turn, these changes in the heart rate pattern create corresponding changes in the amplitude and frequency of the electromagnetic field radiated by the heart. A sensitive, graphical technique known as spectral analysis allows for the measurements of such subtle changes in the electromagnetic fields.
More interestingly, it has been shown by the researchers at the Institute of Heart Math that sustained positive emotions appear to give rise to a different mode of operation that has been labelled as psychophysiological coherence. During it, the heart rate exhibits a pattern of almost sinusoidal waveform and heart’s electromagnetic field becomes much more organized. At a physiological level, this manner of operation is characterized by increased efficiency and harmony in the activity and interaction of all bodily systems. On the psychological front, psychophysiological coherence is associated with a significant reduction in internal mental dialogue, reduced perceptions of stress, increased emotional balance and improved mental clarity, intuitive insight and cognitive performance. All in all, this state of the heart is beneficial for the whole body.
Another quite interesting notion presented by scientists at the Institute of Heart Math is that the heart may play an important role in communication between individuals. Most people think of communication as speaking, facial expressions, modulation and gestures. However, there is now evidence that a subtle yet influential energy-based communication system operates just below our level of consciousness.
These energetic interactions likely contribute to the attraction or magnetic repulsion between individuals and thus affect social interaction and relationships. Experiments conducted at the Institute of Heart Math, found significant evidence that the heart’s electromagnetic field can transmit information to people with cardiac energy exchange between separate individuals up to five feet away! In addition to this transmit of information to and fro from people, it has been found that such an exchange is also possible with animals. There is something so beautiful about the latter scenario; you can even communicate with something that doesn’t necessarily speak.
In short, the heart does not just slave over pumping blood through our body. Despite the lack of an independent corroboration of Hearth Math’s work, it can still be deduced that the human heart has a much deeper and integral role in the fabric of our being.
This article the Intelligent Heart? was originally published here at isoulscience.com