February is National Heart Month. When President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the first Heart Month in 1963, lifestyle-related disease rates were beginning to rise dramatically nationwide. In fact, in that same year roughly half of the deaths recorded were attributed to cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, today the state of our hearts is not much better. Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, with more than 17.3 million individuals succumbing to inflammatory heart disease, ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, stroke and other conditions of the cardiovascular system. Of course, there are common factors between heart disease and cancer as well, including inflammation and high stress levels.
Yet at the same time, the last half-century has seen some amazing discoveries regarding the vital role that the heart plays with the body and especially with the mind.
Neuro-cardiology: How the Heart Communicates with the Brain
The field of neuro-cardiology is the study of how the heart and the brain communicate with one another. And yes, I purposely chose to put the word “heart” first when introducing this topic. Here’s why: while scientists at first thought of this relationship in terms of how the heart responds to the brain’s commands, we now know that there is often more instruction occurring from the heart to the brain than the other way around!
According to the Heart Math Institute, which has been producing cutting-edge research on heart intelligence for the last forty years, the heart not only communicates with the brain, but actually
has its own “neural network” (similar to the brain’s) that includes “complex ganglia, neurotransmitters, proteins, and supporting cells”. Basically, the heart is considered a “mini-brain” or secondary brain. According to Heart Math, the heart communicates directly with the brain and body in four ways:
- Through the overall nervous system
- Through hormones
- Through pulse waves
- Through electromagnetic fields (i.e. energy)
These discoveries have even led to a whole new vocabulary. Heart-brain is the term that neuro-cardiologists now use when describing the ways in which the heart sends signals that instruct brain and body functions.
Why Coherence is Vital for Your Healthy Breast Journey
“We are coming to understand health not as the absence of disease, but rather as the process by which individuals maintain their sense of coherence (i.e. sense that life is comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful)…” says Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Director of Research for Heart Math.
Coherence within one’s self can be described through positive emotions and with terms such as “clarity,” “synchronization,” and “order”. There is a sense of harmony and flow in whatever is occurring.
In neurological terms, coherence is when all parts of the brain are working in harmony and are “in sync.” This is actually a necessary state for the brain to be in for it to function properly. In addition, coherence between the rhythmic patterns and electrical impulses within the heart as well as between the heart and the brain lead to the proper distribution of chemicals within the body and, ultimately, a healthy body overall.
Negative emotions, on the other hand, are considered to be incoherent states. Upset, anger and imbalance have all been linked to coronary disease as well as sleep disorders, neurological disorders, diabetes, fatigue, a compromised immune system and even cancer.
I like to describe coherence in your body and mind much like a symphony that is playing in unison and creating beautiful sounds that are relaxing and enjoyable.
Cacophony is just the opposite – everyone is beating to their own rhythm and key – it is not pleasant to listen to and can actually be stressful to listen to.
Your body is no different. If the organs and cells are communicating freely and are in sync, then vibrant health is the end result. If your body is out of coherence and your heart, brain are Immune System and playing “phone tag”, then this stress results in ill health.
It may seem obvious that maintaining coherence within can greatly benefit an individual going through a healing journey with breast cancer. Wouldn’t it be great if you could maintain this state for an extended period of time or in the midst of chaos and crisis? Positive psychologists and neuro-cardiologists say that it is possible. They say that staying in coherence overall is a skill that can be learned!
In Part 2, I will talk about what Heart Math and other experts suggest you can do to learn the skills of coherence. I will also highlight some very helpful and easy-to-use technology that can help with the process.
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as Dr. V, is the founder of the 7 Essentials System ™, a step-by-step guide that teaches you exactly how to prevent and heal Breast Cancer Naturally. To get your F.R.E.E. 7 day mini e-course, and to receive her weekly action steps and inspiring articles on the power of Natural Medicine, visit http://breastcancerconqueror.com/