Thinking with Your Heart, The Heart-Brain Connection on the Frontier of Mind Body Medicine

Recently, because of  the enthusiastic review of my fellow massage therapist friend, I read the book "The Instinct to Heal" by David Servan-Schreiber. He was the chief of Psychiatry at UPMC Shadyside, and has written a couple of books. This one blew my mind!
It covers a lot of interesting material on the workings of the body-brain (because it is really is completely integrated).
One chapter, in particular, was very moving to me. It was the chapter on the Heart-Brain System.
It has been discovered that the heart and brain share a very strong connection neurologically. It is described as a "semi-independant network of neurons" - a "small brain in the heart."
There exists a closed network of neurons that send information from the brain to the heart and vice versa. Now this might seem obvious, but what is so interesting is that the heart influences the actions of the brain as much if not more than the other way around. The heart creates hormones, including its own adrenaline and oxytocin (the bonding hormone). These hormones affect the brain and, in turn, our emotions.
The author goes on to describe a particular therapeutic method called Coherence Training. This is a form of biofeedback that helps to strengthen the connection between our conscious mind and our heart workings, so that we may have a healthy connection to and control of our own heart. The book covers more than I could possibly talk about here, but I strongly suggest reading it! It relays useful and practical knowledge from the frontier of mind-body-health studies.
Now we can say there really is something to be said for thinking with our hearts!

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