Health, Naturally! – February 2016 – Sarah Greenhalgh

Fight For Every Heartbeat and What’s In Between!

British_Heart_Foundation_logoIt’s seems appropriate whenever possible to include a theme in my article that goes with either the time of year, month or a health campaign highlight; this month is no exception. Maybe more significantly serendipity has led me to the topics included – it’s great to feel that you are in the right place, at the right time! This month’s concoction includes British Heart foundation’s campaign to raise money for research especially next Friday, the 5th as ‘Heart and circulatory disease takes the lives of more than 400 people in the UK each day’. On a holistic level ways we can monitor how our heart is managing with life’s stresses called Heart Rate Variability (HRV) a scientific measurement of the difference between the beats of the heart. Followed by research that is indicative that man’s best friend can help keep the heart healthy.

Did you know that the heart communicates with the brain and the rest of the body; it isn’t just the brain telling the heart what to do. An example of this is that when a heart is transplanted the nerves are cut that communicate with the brain but when the new heart is restarted the heart continues to beat without reconnection of the nerves. The heart even at the beginning of life is highly intelligent, in a developing fetus the heart beats before our cognitive or emotional brain develops. The heart, when it receives a message from the brain doesn’t necessarily act upon it; its innate intelligence takes on board the information and then decides what action to take after considering the circumstances.

healthnaturally-02-16-2This bodes well as it means how we react to certain situations can be altered. The importance of this is evident from what happens between each heart beat; in an ideal world the heart has time to rest but when an individual becomes frustrated the rhythm changes and coherent rhythm is lost. Heart Rate Variability is affected by negative emotion and is used in the USA by cardiologists and other medical professionals. Your heart produces the strongest electromagnetic field of any part of your body. It’s 40-60 times stronger than the brain’s electromagnetic field, and makes EKGs possible from electrodes placed anywhere on your body. In addition to this some say it permeates the space around us possibly linked to how Reiki practitioners work.

healthnaturally-02-16-1A piece of research that found me this month related to ‘Man’s best friend’ and how for many the presence of our pet (or even someone else’s) can reduce our level of stress, bring about the parasympathetic response of the body, reducing the detrimental effect of a long term fight or flight response and allowing our heart beat to find coherence. But for those who don’t consider themselves pet lovers it can have the opposite effect.

I have noticed the positive effect personally when being around my friends’ dogs, for me it is instantly calming and their unconditional love is overwhelming. The exercise entailed in walking your dog or someone else’s is of course additionally advantageous in keeping the heart healthy. More research by medical profession was also found including how a dog can sense when its owner is on their way home; the power of the electromagnetic field maybe? And is this why it feels wonderful to be with positive people but sometimes draining when people are unhappy?

Another exercise that connects well with the one detailed below works with the mind to remember, the heart to feel the emotion and delivers a calming bodily response so you are better equipped to cope in a stressful situation. An occasion when it may work is if you found yourself in an MRI scanner and the machines make very loud noises sometimes making it is difficult to keep physically still or your breathing calm. So try going back to a time when you were truly happy, with those you love and if you can remember the environment and the occasion fully, your heart and then your whole being will find a calming serenity with an endorphin release; leaving you better equipped for a stressful situation such as this.

Freeze-Frame a recommended activity from ‘HeartMath’ company to help restore your coherent heart rhythm pattern to promote optimum performance:

  • Shift out of the head, and focus on the area around your heart.
  • Keep your attention there for at least ten seconds.
  • Continue to breathe normally.
  • Recall a positive time or feeling you had in your life, and attempt to re-experience it.
  • Try not simply to visualize it, but rather to feel it fully.
  • Ask a question from the heart: “What can I do in this situation to make it different?” or “What can I do to minimize stress?”
  • Listen to the response of your heart.

I do hope some of these ideas help to remind you of ways to have a loving, healthy and happy February.

Best wishes

Sarah Greenhalgh

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