h e a r t
'Research in the new discipline of neurocardiology shows that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated center for receiving and processing information. The nervous system within the heart (or “heart brain”) enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex. Moreover, numerous experiments have demonstrated that the signals the heart continuously sends to the brain influence the function of higher brain centers involved in perception, cognition, and emotional processing.
In addition to the extensive neural communication network linking the heart with the brain and body, the heart also communicates information to the brain and throughout the body via electromagnetic field interactions. The heart generates the body’s most powerful and most extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field. Compared to the electromagnetic field produced by the brain, the electrical component of the heart’s field is about 60 times greater in amplitude, and permeates every cell in the body. The magnetic component is approximately 5000 times stronger than the brain’s magnetic field and can be detected several feet away from the body with sensitive magnetometers.
The heart generates a continuous series of electromagnetic pulses in which the time interval between each beat varies in a dynamic and complex manner. The heart’s ever-present rhythmic field has a powerful influence on processes throughout the body. We have demonstrated, for example, that brain rhythms naturally synchronize to the heart’s rhythmic activity, and also that during sustained feelings of love or appreciation, the blood pressure and respiratory rhythms, among other oscillatory systems, entrain to the heart’s rhythm.
We propose that the heart’s field acts as a carrier wave for information that provides a global synchronizing signal for the entire body. Specifically, we suggest that as pulsing waves of energy radiate out from the heart, they interact with organs and other structures. The waves encode or record the features and dynamic activity of these structures in patterns of energy waveforms that are distributed throughout the body. In this way, the encoded information acts to in-form (literally, give shape to) the activity of all bodily functions—to coordinate and synchronize processes in the body as a whole. This perspective requires an energetic concept of information, in which patterns of organization are enfolded into waves of energy of system activity distributed throughout the system as a whole.
Basic research at the Institute of HeartMath shows that information pertaining to a person’s emotional state is also communicated throughout the body via the heart’s electromagnetic field. The rhythmic beating patterns of the heart change significantly as we experience different emotions. Negative emotions, such as anger or frustration, are associated with an erratic, disordered, incoherent pattern in the heart’s rhythms. In contrast, positive emotions, such as love or appreciation, are associated with a smooth, ordered, coherent pattern in the heart’s rhythmic activity. In turn, these changes in the heart’s beating patterns create corresponding changes in the structure of the electromagnetic field radiated by the heart, measurable by a technique called spectral analysis.
More specifically, we have demonstrated that sustained positive emotions appear to give rise to a distinct mode of functioning, which we call psychophysiological coherence. During this mode, heart rhythms exhibit a sine wave-like pattern and the heart’s electromagnetic field becomes correspondingly more organized.
At the physiological level, this mode is characterized by increased efficiency and harmony in the activity and interactions of the body’s systems. 
Psychologically, this mode is linked with a notable reduction in internal mental dialogue, reduced perceptions of stress, increased emotional balance, and enhanced mental clarity, intuitive discernment, and cognitive performance.
In sum, our research suggests that psychophysiological coherence is important in enhancing consciousness—both for the body’s sensory awareness of the information required to execute and coordinate physiological function, and also to optimize emotional stability, mental function, and intentional action. Furthermore, as we see next, there is experimental evidence that psychophysiological coherence may increase our awareness of and sensitivity to others around us. The Institute of HeartMath has created practical technologies and tools that all people can use to increase coherence.
Heart Field Interactions Between Individuals
Most people think of social communication solely in terms of overt signals expressed through language, voice qualities, gestures, facial expressions, and body movements. However, there is now evidence that a subtle yet influential electromagnetic or “energetic” communication system operates just below our conscious awareness. Energetic interactions likely contribute to the “magnetic” attractions or repulsions that occur between individuals, and also affect social exchanges and relationships. Moreover, it appears that the heart’s field plays an important role in communicating physiological, psychological, and social information between individuals.
Experiments conducted at the Institute of HeartMath have found remarkable evidence that the heart’s electromagnetic field can transmit information between people. We have been able to measure an exchange of heart energy between individuals up to 5 feet apart. We have also found that one person’s brain waves can actually synchronize to another person’s heart. Furthermore, when an individual is generating a coherent heart rhythm, synchronization between that person’s brain waves and another person’s heartbeat is more likely to occur. These findings have intriguing implications, suggesting that individuals in a psychophysiologically coherent state become more aware of the information encoded in the heart fields of those around them.
The results of these experiments have led us to infer that the nervous system acts as an “antenna,” which is tuned to and responds to the electromagnetic fields produced by the hearts of other individuals. We believe this capacity for exchange of energetic information is an innate ability that heightens awareness and mediates important aspects of true empathy and sensitivity to others Furthermore, we have observed that this energetic communication ability can be intentionally enhanced, producing a much deeper level of nonverbal communication, understanding, and connection between people. There is also intriguing evidence that heart field interactions can occur between people and animals.
The Heart’s Field and Intuition
There are also new data suggesting that the heart’s field is directly involved in intuitive perception, through its coupling to an energetic information field outside the bounds of space and time. Using a rigorous experimental design, we found compelling evidence that both the heart and brain receive and respond to information about a future event before the event actually happens. Even more surprising was our finding that the heart appears to receive this “intuitive” information before the brain. This suggests that the heart’s field may be linked to a more subtle energetic field that contains information on objects and events remote in space or ahead in time. Called by Karl Pribram and others the “spectral domain,” this is a fundamental order of potential energy that enfolds space and time, and is thought to be the basis for our consciousness of “the whole.” (See heartmath.org for further detail.)
In the same way that the heart generates energy in the body, we propose that the social collective is the activator and regulator of the energy in social systems.
Heart coherence and social coherence may also act to mutually reinforce each other. As individuals within a group increase psychophysiological coherence, psychosocial attunement may be increased, thereby increasing the coherence of social relations. Similarly, the creation of a coherent social field by a group may help support the generation and maintenance of psychophysiological coherence in its individual members. An expanded, deepened awareness and consciousness results—of the body’s internal physiological, emotional, and mental processes, and also of the deeper, latent orders enfolded into the energy fields that surround us. This is the basis of self-awareness, social sensitivity, creativity, intuition, spiritual insight, and understanding of ourselves and all that we are connected to. It is through the intentional generation of coherence in both heart and social fields that a critical shift to the next level of planetary consciousness can occur—one that brings us into harmony with the movement of the whole.
Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. Raymond Trevor Bradley, Ph.D., Dana Tomasino, BA
"Discoveries in the field of neurocardiology are, believe me, far more awesome than the discovery of non-locality in quantum mechanics. It is the biggest issue of the whole century, but it's so far out and so beyond the ordinary, conceptual grasp, that a lot of the people doing the actual research are yet to be fully aware of the implications.
I can't in a brief time share with you the full implications of neurocardiology except to say three things. First, about sixty to sixty-five percent of all the cells in the heart are neural cells which are precisely the same as in the brain. They function in precisely the same way, monitoring and maintaining control of the entire mind/brain/body physical process as well as direct unmediated connections between the heart and the emotional, cognitive structures of the brain. Secondly, the heart is the major endocrine glandular structure of the body, which Roget found to be producing the hormones that profoundly affect the operations of body, brain, and mind. Thirdly, the heart produces two and a half watts of electrical energy at each pulsation, creating an electromagnetic field identical to the electromagnetic field around the earth.
The electromagnetic field of the heart surrounds the body from a distance of twelve to twenty-five feet outward. It encompasses power waves, such as radio and light waves, which comprise the principle source of information upon which the body and brain build our neural conception and perception of the world itself. This verifies all sorts of research from people such as Karl Pribram, over a thirty year period, and opens up the greatest mystery we'll ever face.
The next discovery is of unmediated neural connections between the heart and the limbic structure, the emotional brain. Now they've found that neural connections go right on up through the amygdala or the cingulate cortex into the pre-frontal lobes. Now, the pre-frontal lobes, or neocortex, are the latest evolutionary addition to the human brain because they were only rudimentary until, perhaps, 150,000 to 40,000 years ago. For this reason, I am the arch-optimist of all. I think these discoveries, the implications, are terribly exciting. Of course, our whole cosmology will shift dramatically when we realize the existence of what I call the "holographic heart." "
Joseph Chilton Pearce is well-known as author of six books: The Crack in the Cosmic Egg; Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg; Magical Child; Magical Child Matures; Bond of Power; and Evolution's End