VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

1 8 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 4 Energy of the Heart Physics claims that any moving charge will create an elec- tromagnetic field (Halliday et al. 2010, 708). Thus, all nerve impulses and piezoelectric currents in the fascia will produce a small electromagnetic field. The brain, containing millions of neurons, creates a great buzz of nerve electrical activity. However, because currents travel in every direction, the re- sulting overall field is attenuated by the fact that impulses travelling in opposite directions will cancel each other out. In the body, it’s the heart that produces the largest electromag - netic field. This is because the nerve impulses that instigate each heart beat all fire simultaneously, thus creating fields that constructively adding together rather than some can- celing others out. Each heartbeat creates a coherent pulse of electrical activity measuring 2–3 watts, resulting in an electrical field about 60 times greater in amplitude that the generated by the brain. Studies of couples have shown that when they are in a state of rapport or emotional connection, their heart rates will synchronize (McCraty 2015; Goldstein 2017, 7). In physics, resonance happens when one object vibrates at the natural frequency (or one of the natural frequencies) of a second ob - ject, causing that second object to vibrate at that frequency (think of a singer’s high note breaking a glass or when the walls and furniture vibrate when you play music on a heavy beat). Thus, you could understand heart rate synchrony as arising when the electric field of one person’s heart causes – or is allowed to cause – a resonance in the electric field of another person’s heart. However, it’s becoming evident that the heart’s electromag - netic field encodes information beyond just the pulse rate. For example, positive emotions such as compassion and love seem to generate a more harmonious pattern in the heart’s rhythm, leading to coherence (an increased heart rate variability indicating greater emotional regulation; McCraty 2018; Morales 2020). This is communicated throughout the body and into the external environment via the heart’s elec - tromagnetic field, just like a radio mast emits an electromag - netic field that’s picked up by your car’s radio antenna. An attraction or aversion to someone may therefore be detected and felt in the heart, and only processed, acknowl- edged, and labeled as a feeling when it’s interpreted in the brain. 4.1 The Heart Protector In the energy system of the body laid out by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the heart is seen as the emperor or supreme controller , and the pericardium – the fascial sheath around the heart – is the heart protector (also heart constric- tor or guardian of the heart ; Kaptchuk 2000, 124; Unschuld and Tessenow 2011, 273). TCM sees the pericardium’s job as protecting the heart from emotional trauma and helps it to express the love and joy of the heart. In Western understanding, the pericardium is a sack of tissue that envelops the heart mirroring the double-layer fascial membranes around all other organs that act as separators and lubricated membranes to allow easy movement. How- ever, what makes the pericardium different is that it has an outer (third), much thicker and stronger layer called the fibrous pericardium. This is made from a thick, matted matrix of collagen fibers and is understood to protect the heart from infection and physical trauma. Collagen is a fascinating substance. The fibers of this pro - tein form into a semi-crystalline structure known as a liquid crystal matrix. This matrix is also a semiconductor, meaning it can conduct electricity under certain circumstances and not in others. These fibers can also generate electricity when they are deformed through a process known as the piezoelec- tric effect . Thus, the thick, matted fiber matrix of the pericar - dium is a mesh of nano-sized wires, which could easily act as a physical and electrical shield – a heart protector . But it’s not inert like a Faraday cage – a wire cage used to block electro - magnetic fields. It’s living, and therefore very likely capable of changing its properties depending on the state of the indi- vidual just like our skin electrical conductivity. Thus, it could act to modify, allow, or block the electrical fields from others (Keown 2014, 210), or indeed modify the electromagnetic field emanating from your own heart. Like this we could see the pericardium as a mediator of our heart energy – allowing our energy (electromagnetic field) out unimpeded (equivalent to having an open heart) or re- stricting it (a closed heart) and allowing us to sense other people’s heart energy.

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