Tag Archives: nervous system of the heart

What is the Heart-Brain Connection?

There is a relatively new field of science called ‘neurocardiology’ and in this article we will discuss the heart-brain connection. Indeed there is some truth to the sayings ‘Learn by heart’, ‘Follow your heart’, ‘Heart knows Best’ and we have all heard these numerous times. In fact, we have been aware of this intense heart-brain communication since the 19th century. In the history of humankind, there are numerous accounts of the heart as the source of love and gut intuition but it turns out that it is also the source of human intelligence. In fact, we often have said that the heart knows what the brain cannot know– however for a while, this concept has been put aside in favor of the logical brain when the science of the brain, such as neurophysiology, became more prominent and the heart is labeled only with ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’. Recent research work in the field of neurocardiology have again made scientists pay more attention to this concept of the heart and brain connection.

Now research work is showing that the cardiovascular system sends more signals to the brain than the other way around. Scientists are now realizing that the heart sends signals to even the higher centers of the brain. In fact, there are numerous nerve endings that connect from the cardiovascular system to the thalamus, hypothalamus and amygdala and therefore influence our emotions, decisions and thoughts. Work in this new field of neuro-cardiology is proving that the heart is indeed a rich information processing center with a built-in nervous system that can even be referred to as a heart brain!

When we feel emotions with our heart or have those strong gut intuitions we process those ‘information’ with our heart brain, and it is not as vague as we had imagined. These signals are processed and are also communicated to the higher centers of our brain where they are incorporated into thoughts and important decisions. No longer should the ‘logical’ person be only analyzing from their brain but it should a heart and brain collaboration – a two-way street. We can indeed be ‘logical’ if we feel with all our heart and not be labeled as ‘emotional’ when we take our heart’s desire seriously!