THE HEART-BRAIN CONNECTION: The Key to Body-Mind Synchrony

The Importance of Heart-Brain Communication

"Traditionally, the study of communication pathways between the head and heart has been approached from a rather one-sided perspective, with scientists focusing primarily on the heart’s responses to the brain’s commands. We have learned, however, that communication between the heart and brain actually is a dynamic, ongoing, two-way dialogue, with each organ continuously influencing the other’s function. Research has shown that the heart communicates to the brain in four major ways: neurologically (through the transmission of nerve impulses), biochemically (via hormones and neurotransmitters), biophysically (through pressure waves) and energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions). Communication along all these conduits significantly affects the brain’s activity. Moreover, our research shows that messages the heart sends to the brain also can affect performance."
HeartMath Institute
From "Science of the Heart: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance"

Even though scientific heart-brain connection research has shown that the heart’s signals to the brain inform our wisest, most intuitive decision making from day to day, much of what is taught about consciousness and neuroscience in schools and colleges is still very much brain-centric. And according to Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Director of Research at The Institute of HeartMath, the heart’s communication with the brain far outweighs the brain’s communication with the heart.

In truth, science was aware of this fact more than a hundred years ago, but chose to ignore it as the science of the brain became more and more prominent. Mainstream science did acknowledge that the signals flowing from the heart and cardiovascular system to the brain moderated various aspects of the autonomic nervous system. But it tended to largely overlook how the heart and cardiovascular system inform and influence the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala and even the higher brain centers to thereby shape our thoughts, emotions and decisions.

As the emerging field of neurocardiology has grown over the last few decades, however, it has become undeniably evident that the heart is a sensory organ with its own system for processing memory and information. In fact, its internal nervous system is of sufficient sophistication that it is often referred to as the brain in the heart. Check out this infographic below to learn more about the heart-brain communication pathways.

Prominent medical experts have recently discovered that many recipients of heart transplants are inheriting donors’ memories and consequently report huge changes in their tastes, their personality, and, most extraordinarily, in their emotional memories.


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