By BILL DUNCAN
Irish writer Lady Marguerite Blessington wrote in the 1800s that a woman’s head is always influenced by the heart, while the man’s heart is always influenced by the head.
She of course was speaking romantically.
If she were living today, she might have to rethink that statement. Research has discovered that the heart has a brain. And its brain may be smarter than the one above it. There are 40,000 neurons surrounding the heart, while the brain itself has only one tenth the size of the heart’s electrical field.
The heart may be the intelligent force that controls our thoughts and feelings. Scholars today say that this finding isn’t all that new and says ancient cultures believed the heart not only influenced emotional decisions, but was also a source of intelligence.
Proverbs 23:17 in the Old Testament says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
Luke 5:22 in the New Testament has Jesus questioning: “What reason ye in your hearts?”
Such ancient wisdom is found in the writings of the Hebrew, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Buddhist traditions.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the heart is a bridge connecting the mind and the body. Literature is filled with heart metaphors.
Frankly, I didn’t think much about the heart being a brain until recently when I got a third Pace Maker implanted and had to take a deeper look into that which beats within my chest – now in bionic rhythm. It became more to me than just a 10-ounce muscle pumping blood through my body. It became life itself and now that I believe it has a brain, I talk to it quite often.
I have also studied the scientific research on heart intelligence and I have become better acquainted with what beats under my chest. I think I can reason with it and become less likely to experience sickness because there is a strong wellness factor through emotional management.
Medical science says the brain controls all the body’s organs, including the heart. However, it is also a known fact that the heart starts beating in an unborn fetus before the brain is formed.
Neuroscientists have discovered that the heart is far more complex than just a pump house for the blood. The most important discovery is that the heart has its own independent nervous system and is even categorized as the brain in the heart. Medical science knows that the heart communicates with the brain in three ways – neurologically through nerve impulses; biochemically through hormones; and biophysically through pressure waves. The latest theory is that the heart may be sending messages to the brain electromagnetically.
Neuroscientists say that the heart is much more complex than a muscle simply pumping blood. The heart may actually direct and align many systems in the body so that they function in harmony with one another.
The brain needs oxygen to function. The oxygen is delivered by the blood pumped through the heart. The brain controls the heart rate but the brain relies more on the heart than the heart does on the brain.
I want to keep them both happy.
(Bill Duncan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to P.O. Box 812, Roseburg, OR 97470.)