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Andrew Leader

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How are different body parts connected to the emotions we traditionally associate with them?

This week in my bioelectricity class, I learned about cardiac electrophysiology. Afterwords, I read an article about the growing field of neurocardiology: http://madurasinghe.blogspot.com/2008/06/neurocardiology-brain-in-heart.html. The heart’s nervous system contains over 40,000 neurons, and is sufficiently complex that it is referred to by some as its own “little-brain”. This little-brain communicates directly with the medulla in the brain-stem, both sending and receiving signals that have to do with hart rate, hormones, chemicals, and pressure in the heart. These signals help regulate other signals to blood vessels, glands and other organs, but they also “cascade up into the higher centers of the brain, where they may influence perception, decision making and other cognitive processes.”

This article made me wonder: Does perhaps the term “thinking with your heart” have a biological basis after all? How did the heart become the symbol of love? How might this association relate to the connection between emotion and heart health, and what makes up this connection in the first place?

To explore the biological basis of emotional experience, particularly as we traditionally associate these experiences with different parts of the body, I also watched the TED talk “Trust, Morality – and Oxytocin” (http://blog.ted.com/2011/11/01/trust-morality-and-oxytocin-paul-zak-on-ted-com/), in which Paul Zak talks about how oxytocin (a mammalian hormone) increases trustworthiness, generosity, empathy, while oxytocin release is inhibited by high stress.

And so I ask the TED Community: What connections might exist between body parts and the meanings we associate with them? For example, when we say we have a “gut feeling,” how might it relate to the activity of our autonomic nervous system on the GI tract? What about the emotional meanings we associate with the eyes, mouth, hands, and so on? Could age-old associations between body parts and emotion be rooted in biology?

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    Mar 22 2012: Check out the heart math institute at heartmath.org; the heart sends out much more energy than the brain, affecting not only our systems but our surrounding organic life forms.

    Greg Braden has written on this along with many others, you might care to google Belief is expressed in our heart where our experiences are translated into the electrical and magnetic waves that interact with the physical world; Greg Braden, from his book Spontaneous Healing of Belief.

    THE HEART AS AN ELECTROMAGNETIC ORGAN

    THE HEART IS the physical center of the circulatory system, managing over 75 trillion cells. It is also the electromagnetic center of the body, emanating thousands of times more electricity and magnetism than does the brain. Even more impressively, it is an organ of communication that can potentially manage the body's intuitive processes.

    The heart's electromagnetic field (EMF) is five thousand times stronger than that of the brain. Its electrical field is sixty times greater than that of the brain. Not only is its electromagnetic capacity greater than that of the brain, but it is organically capable of performing certain brain-like functions. In fact, between 60 and 65 percent of its cells are neural, identical to those present in the brain. Energy-information that vibrates-flows constantly between the heart and the brain, assisting with emotional processing, sensory experience, memory and derivation of meaning from events, and reasoning. In addition, the heart is one of the body's major endocrine glands, producing at least five major hormones, which impact the physiological functions of the brain and body.

    The heart has long been known as the center of the body, as well as the home of the soul. Under the correct conditions, such as when a person consciously "centers" or focuses in the heart, the heart begins to run the brain. (Most typically, the brain runs the body.) see http://energeticanatomy.blogspot.com/

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