I like muscles. I like muscles a lot. I have favorites, no doubt about it. As discussed in My Favorite Muscle (September’s 2012 blog), my favorite muscle is the Flexor Hallucis Longus. It is the muscle that initiates crawling in a child and literally propels him forward. The FHL is also the most important muscle to build the arch of the foot that will allow the body to stand upright, which defines us as human beings.
The FHL might be my favorite muscle, yet it is not to say I don’t have a soft spot for the heart.
You probably already know this: the heart is a muscle. It can easily be considered as the most important of all muscles.
It is the field of neurosciences that got me to appreciate the heart for a lot more than I thought it was responsible for.
Researchers describe cardiac coherence as harmony between the heart and the brain. In a state of cardiac coherence, there is no separation between what the heart wants and what the brain knows.
I like the brain. I like the brain a lot. Yet, I might have to start liking the heart a little bit more based on what cardiac coherence teaches us.
Precisely, heart waves are more powerful than brain waves. When brain’s activity is synchronized with that of the heart, the result is a physiological state of wellbeing and an optimization of he entire body.
So what can the heart do for us, outside of keeping us alive, you ask?
When the heart and the brain are on the same level, it can increase our capacity to buffer stress. It optimizes the body’s response to any stimulus by facilitating the cardiac and respiratory functions.
I find research on cardiac coherence quite compelling since I can say that one of the reasons why my patients do not evolve to my liking is stress. Stress in the physical body is often accounted for in the form of clenching.
The teeth should touch 3-5 minutes a day in the context of eating. Any more contact between the teeth increases tension in the muscles of the jaw, head and neck, in order to keep the eyes leveled with the horizon.
Via muscle chains, it is all the anti-gravity muscles that tense up as the jaw tightens. This increases the energetic demands to keep the body standing. This increase in metabolic resources leads to a relative decrease of available resources for all systems: immune, endocrine…
Achieving cardiac coherence seems like a logical approach to optimizing the brain and, since the brain controls all bodily functions, one can logically think that cardiac coherence is the ticket to better health.
The 90’s band Roxette said it best: LISTEN TO YOUR HEART! It may be the quickest way to heal your self and perform, all at the same time.