The Electricity of Touch: Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between PeopleKey findings: When people touch or are in proximity, one person’s heartbeat signal is registered in the other person’s brainwaves.
Summary: The concept of an energy exchange between individuals is central to many healing techniques. This concept has often been disputed by Western science due to the lack of a plausible mechanism to explain the nature of this energy or how it could affect or facilitate the healing process. The fact that the heart generates the strongest electromagnetic field produced by the body, coupled with our findings that this field becomes measurably more coherent as the individual shifts to a sincerely loving or caring state, prompted us to investigate the possibility that the field generated by the heart may significantly contribute to this energy exchange. This study presents a sampling of results which provide intriguing evidence that an exchange of electromagnetic energy produced by the heart occurs when people touch or are in proximity. Signal averaging techniques are used to show that one person’s electrocardiogram (ECG) signal is registered in another’s electroencephalogram (EEG) and elsewhere on the other person’s body (See Figure 18 for an example). While this signal is strongest when people are in contact, it is still detectable when subjects are in proximity without contact.
This study represents one of the first successful attempts to directly measure an energy exchange between people, and provides a solid, testable theory to explain the observed effects of many healing modalities that are based upon the assumption that an energy exchange takes place. Nonlinear stochastic resonance is a mechanism by which weak, coherent electromagnetic fields, such as those generated by the heart of an individual in a caring state, may be detected and amplified by biological tissue, and potentially produce measurable effects in living systems. Evidence that the cardiac field changes as different emotions are experienced, combined with this study’s finding that this field is registered physiologically by those around us, provides the foundation of one possible mechanism to describe the impact of our emotions on others at a basic physiological level. One implication is that the effects of therapeutic techniques involving contact or proximity between practitioner and patient could be amplified by practitioners consciously adopting a sincere, caring attitude, and thus increasing coherence in their cardiac field.
The Role of Physiological Coherence in the Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between PeopleKey findings: When two people are at a conversational distance, the electromagnetic signal generated by one person’s heart can influence the other person’s brain rhythms. When an individual is generating a coherent heart rhythm, synchronization between that individual’s brainwaves and another person’s heartbeat is more likely to occur.
Summary: This investigation was designed to determine whether cardioelectromagnetic communication between individuals is affected by the degree of subjects’ cardiac coherence. In this experiment we looked at heart-brain interaction effects across larger distances in subject pairs who were not in physical contact. As in the previous study, subjects’ ECGs and EEGs were simultaneously monitored, and signal averaging techniques were employed to discern heart-brain interaction effects. In addition, heart rate variability patterns were analyzed to determine the degree of heart rhythm coherence for each subject.
Data showed that in subjects separated by several feet, synchronization can occur between the alpha waves in one person’s EEG and the other’s ECG signal. However, in this experiment, whether the "receiving" subject’s brainwaves synchronized to the "source" subject’s heart signal was determined by the degree of coherence in the receiving subject’s heart rhythms. Subjects who demonstrated high heart rhythm coherence were more likely to show alpha wave synchronization to the other subject’s ECG. This effect was not apparent in subjects with low heart rhythm coherence.
Figure 19 shows the results for one set of subjects who were seated four feet apart, facing each other. Note the change in Subject 2’s brainwave patterns (onset of alpha rhythms) that is synchronized to the R-wave of Subject 1’s ECG. The bottom-most trace displays Subject 2’s heart rhythm patterns, which were highly coherent during this experiment.
This study’s findings have intriguing implications, suggesting that individuals in a physiologically coherent state become more sensitive to the subtle electromagnetic information encoded in the heart signals of others around them. Interestingly, this also supports extensive behavioral data and experience with a HeartMath communication technique called Intuitive Listening. This technique involves focusing on the heart and maintaining a neutral or appreciative attitude while listening to another person. When individuals apply this tool, they often not only report hearing the speaker’s words with more clarity and focus because of a reduction in their own internal dialogue, but also acknowledge becoming more aware of deeper and more subtle aspects of the communication that are not contained in the words alone. This is often described as an increased sensitivity and intuitive awareness of the other person’s underlying feelings and the ’essence’ of their communication. The results shown above support the concept that this deeper, more sensitive form of communication, which establishes a heartfelt connection between people, may occur based on the increased heart rhythm coherence generated by the listener (receiver) when using the Intuitive Listening technique.
In conclusion, this study represents a further step in uncovering the physiological underpinnings of subtle, ongoing energetic forms of communication between people. Results have countless implications, and invite continued scientific exploration of the relationship between emotions, physiology and human interactions.
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