Since it’s the day of year we humans devote to all things having to do with the heart (like love and chocolate!), I must end the day saying something about this amazing organ that keeps us alive.
Beating 100,000 times a day, this muscle pumps oxygen, food-derived nutrients, hormones and immune cells throughout every square inch of our bodies. By now, most of us know that a healthy diet (a controversial subject in itself), regular exercise, preventative dental care and plenty of fresh air support a healthy cardiovascular system; and that smoking, obesity, acidic blood, noise pollution, exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and a sedentary lifestyle don’t.
As a reflexologist, I have worked with many people with health issues involving the heart. The case that stands out most in my memory though was not a physical one. It was a woman who reported sensitivity as I worked the reflexes of her heart and left lung. At her request, I shared what reflexes I was touching into and asked if that made any sense to her. She burst into tears and said, “I feel like my heart is breaking; I’ve just broken up with my boyfriend.” I was catapulted into remembering that the heart is much more than a pump.
Here are some fascinating facts about our hearts:
– Early Egyptians believed the heart to be the home of thoughts, memories and feelings. Westerners claim the heart to be the bearer of truth and the symbol for love.
– There is no time in utero that the heart starts to beat. The cells beat from the start. As the cells multiply to create the cardiovascular system, they take their cues on how to beat, at what rate, etc. from the mother’s heart. So, when did the mother’s heart begin to beat? If every cell was beating before it was a heart, then how could there be a single moment it became a heart? The heart (and arteries and veins attached), it turns out, is a circulation system with no beginning and no end. Perhaps that is why the Chinese refer to the heartbeat as the cosmic beat.
– The heart remembers. Modern medicine can now confirm that those early Egyptians were right. The heart has its own intelligence and remembers. Much has been written about transplant recipients receiving not only an organ, but the personality traits, temperament and memories of their donor.
– The Chinese pictograph for the word “busy” is composed of two characters: “heart” and “killing”. Hmm…
That last one reminds me of a quote from Lily Tomlin that a friend shared today: “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”