Back in 1991, Dr. J. Andrew Armour, introduced the idea of the heart brain. He discovered that the heart has a sophisticated nervous system that is complex enough to allow the heart to be considered a little brain.
Contained within this heart’s brain, are an intricate network of numerous neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins and other support cells just like the ones of the brain. This complex mechanism allows it to act independently of the cranial brain.
The heart brain contains around 40,000 neurons, known as sensory neurites which monitor and detect the pumping action but that may not be all they do.
Many believe that conscious awareness originates in the brain alone. Recent scientific research suggests that consciousness actually emerges from the brain and body acting together. A growing body of evidence suggests that the heart plays a particularly significant role in this process.
Research in the new discipline of neurocardiology shows that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated center for receiving and processing information. The nervous system within the heart (or “heart brain”) enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex. Moreover, numerous experiments have demonstrated that the signals the heart continuously sends to the brain influence the function of higher brain centers involved in perception, cognition, and emotional processing.
Basic research at the Institute of HeartMath shows that information pertaining to a person’s emotional state is also communicated throughout the body via the heart’s electromagnetic field. The rhythmic beating patterns of the heart change significantly as we experience different emotions. Negative emotions, such as anger or frustration, are associated with an erratic, disordered, incoherent pattern in the heart’s rhythms. In contrast, positive emotions, such as love or appreciation, are associated with a smooth, ordered, coherent pattern in the heart’s rhythmic activity. Experiments conducted at the Institute of HeartMath have found remarkable evidence that the heart’s electromagnetic field can transmit information between people. We have been able to measure an exchange of heart energy between individuals up to 5 feet apart. We have also found that one person’s brain waves can actually synchronize to another person’s heart.
In sum, our research suggests that psychophysiological coherence is important in enhancing consciousness, both for the body’s sensory awareness of the information required to execute and coordinate physiological function, and also to optimize emotional stability, mental function, and intentional action.