The Institute of HeartMath: Neurocardiology, Emotion, Intuition and Coherency
Teresa L. Frisch, RN, Reiki Master / Teacher 2.2.09
Whether behind her desk or rounding on the wards, Florence Nightingale championed and demonstrated the holistic model of patient-centered healthcare. Through innovative thinking and technology, The Institute of HeartMath reflects a similar mindset with coherency – the “logical, orderly, and harmonious connectedness of two parts” helping us “maintain our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being” (“Research FAQs”).
HeartMath propels our understanding beyond the early concept of biofeedback and into the complex, interactive realms of neurocardiology, electromagnetics, biofields, emotions, and ultimately, “coherency” (“Research FAQs”). Studies in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) are central to determining that positive emotions such as love, compassion and joy create coherency and decrease stress, promoting an optimally functioning system and healthier lifestyle. Negative emotions create incoherence, which can result in, or exacerbate disease processes, such as hypertension, heart attacks or Chron’s disease.
Science of the Heart: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance,” by the Institute of HeartMath Research Staff, provides a wonderful illustration of the heart’s electromagnetic field (4) and is a good introduction into the evolving specialty of neurocardiology. "Science Behind the emWave PC" is another good resource, reinforcing that the heart is more than a pump. With more than 40,000 neurons, its autonomic nervous system (ANS) capabilities feed the brain more information than the brain feeds it, and reminds us that the heart is also classified as part of the endocrine system. The National Institute of Health (NIH), PubMed listed several research articles, including a two-part series from HeartMath. Published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, McCraty, Atkinson and Bradley focus and report on the influence and interaction of electrophysiologics (the body) and intuition (the mind) in “Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: part 1. The surprising role of the heart” and “Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: part 2. A system-wide process?”
Additional research information provided in several e-books and monographs on the site are not all “easy reads,” but in my opinion are well worth the time and effort, if only for a grasp of basic concepts. Also on the website for Institute of HeartMath, the Research and Research Overview sections list educational, corporate and government entities that are, or have, participated in coherency and heart-based intention. The Press Room and FAQ’s contain a wealth of information as well.
I would like to thank the staff of HeartMath for all their efforts, and for assisting me with information at work as well as for this website. Medicine is just beginning to grasp the science-based knowledge that positive emotion and intent are able to affect change, both individually and collectively. Truly an adventure in medicine, Nightingale would have loved to be involved with it.
Revised: tlf 3.29.09