Heart-focused attention and heart-brain synchronization: energetic and physiological mechanisms.

Author: Song LZ//Schwartz GE//Russek LG
Affiliation: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Chonbuk, Republic of Korea
Conference/Journal: Altern Ther Health Med
Date published: 1998
Other: Volume ID: 24 , Pages: 44-52, 54-60, 62 , Word Count: 198

Many relaxation, meditation, and imagery techniques that implicitly or explicitly involve focused attention on the body, including qigong, massage, and noncontact therapeutic touch, purportedly employ energetic and physiological mechanisms.

OBJECTIVE: To show that, from a perspective of dynamical energy systems, relaxed self-attention enhances connectivity between the brain and body. This enhanced connectivity may be achieved by at least 2 mechanisms: (1) physiological mechanisms employing peripheral negative feedback loops, and (2) bioelectromagnetic mechanisms involving direct energetic resonance between the peripheral organ and the brain. DESIGN: 19 channels of electroencephalogram, 1 electrocardiogram, and 2 channels of electro-oculogram were recorded from 22 subjects who focused their attention on their heartbeats or eye movements, with and without kinesthetic (touch) biofeedback to increase somatic awareness.

RESULTS: Analyses of the electroencephalogram synchronized with the electrocardiogram revealed significant effects for heart-focused attention, primarily with touch biofeedback, following the contraction of the ventricles (possibly reflecting increased baroreceptor and somatosensory feedback); and significant effects for heart-focused attention, with and without touch biofeedback, preceding the contraction of the ventricles (possibly reflecting direct electromagnetic interactions between the heart and the brain).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that energetic and physiological mechanisms may be involved in techniques in which the goal is to promote mind-body integration and health.