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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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The Brain/Heart Connection

The Institute of HeartMath (Boulder Creek, California) has conducted research on how the brain functions. Their findings show that our perceptions, mental and emotional attitudes, immune system, and decision-making abilities are all related to the electromagnetic frequencies broadcast by our heart. These frequencies are many, many times stronger than brainwave frequencies and can be measured from several feet outside the body. They influence our own brain rhythms as well as the brain rhythms of others nearby (bad vibes?), especially those of in-arms infants. It is through this mechanism that the heart appears to influence the brain and live up to its popular reputation of being more than just a pump. Studies show that the heart is a powerful agent for transforming perceptions, resolving challenges, and manifesting values that benefit everyone.

Recurring feelings of frustration, worry, stress, and anger cause heart rhythms to become unbalanced and disordered (incoherent). These feelings are detrimental not only to the physical heart but also to the brain, hormonal production, and the immune system. Even remembering an upsetting experience can reduce the heart's pumping efficiency by 5 to 7 percent and decrease the immune system's potency for many hours. On the other hand, forgiveness, appreciation, and love engender coherent, harmonious heart rhythms and affect the physical heart's electrical output, as seen in an ECG. These feelings generate heart frequencies that are radiated to every cell in the body and boost the immune system. One five-minute episode of feeling genuine care or compassion enhances the immune system, causing a gradual climb in IgA (an antibody and one of the body's first defenses against colds, flus, and infections) for the next six hours. Feelings of happiness and joy benefit the white blood cells that are needed for healing and defense against invading pathogens, including cancer and virus-infected cells.

Take a few minutes to consider the implications of this data. For example, the next time a flu bug is making the rounds, John will ensure he and his daughter take several strong doses of nurturing and fun-filled time together, even for five minutes every couple of hours, rather than just reaching for the vitamin C or Echinacea!

Doc Lew Childre, A Parenting Manual: Heart Hope for the Family. (Planetary Publications, 1995).

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