BY SHARON CARNE
February is Heart Month. It’s a time of the year when we turn our attention to our hearts. The Heart and Stroke Foundation reminds us to keep our heart healthy. Valentine’s Day reminds us how important love and connection is to our wellbeing.
Your Heart’s Role May Be Bigger Than You Thought
Your heart is one of the greatest miracles of life. For every moment of your life, it tirelessly sends life-giving nourishment to every particle of your body. But there is much more to your heart than the physical beating it does.
The Institute of HeartMath has been researching heart intelligence, stress and emotional management since the early 1990s and has applied its findings to practical, easy-to-use tools that have been scientifically developed and tested.
Here are some of the things that the Institute of HeartMath has discovered about the electromagnetic field of the heart:
- 1. The electromagnetic field of the heart can be measured eight feet away from the body.
- 2. The electromagnetic field of the heart is 5,000 times stronger than the electromagnetic field produced by the brain.
- 3. The electromagnetic field of the heart can be measured in the brainwaves of a person sitting beside you.
- 4. The heart contains 40,000 neurons. It contains its own brain.
- 5. When you are feeling positive emotions, like appreciation, the heart will synchronize with the brain. That is, they both function at the same frequency, giving your heart, brain and emotions more coherence.
Another miracle of your heart is its role in your chakra system. For those unfamiliar with chakras, I like to call them buttons that hold the physical and spiritual bodies together – where the spirit and body meet.
The chakras interact dynamically. They collect energy from your environment and you release energy through them. There are seven main chakras. Each one oversees the activities of the area of the body where it is located.
The heart chakra, the chakra in the middle of the seven, is the ‘grand central station’ of the whole system. It oversees the circulatory system, the respiratory system and the immune system, in addition to ribs, shoulders, arms and hands. It is located in the center of the chest between the nipples, a little to the right of your physical heart.
The heart chakra is where we learn to understand our emotional nature. It is where we also learn about the higher qualities of love, like compassion, forgiveness, hope, empathy, trust, dedication and more.
Your heart chakra serves as the connection point between the three lower chakras responsible for your physical self and the three upper chakras responsible for your spiritual self. Sound (and music) is food for your heart.
The use of sound for healing is as old as the human family itself. We evolved with sound as a healer. It’s one of our first healers! So lets look at some simple ways for you to nourish your heart.
Three Tips for How Sound and Music Can Nourish Your Heart
1. Slow Down with a Slow Beat
When you are feeling stressed, your heart beats faster increasing blood pressure. If you continue to feel stressed over the long term, this creates a tremendous load on your heart and leads to all kinds of health issues.
Few people know that when you walk into the grocery store, where there is always music playing, it takes only MINUTES for your heartbeat to match the beat of the music. You have no off switch to this response. It works even if you are paying no attention to the music.
When the music changes your heartbeat, this also affects your breathing and brainwave rhythms. These three systems are intimately connected. When you change one of them, you change all three.
Use this natural tendency of your heart to follow the beat of music to help it to slow down. A relaxed heartbeat falls between 50 and 70 beats per minute.
Check your music collection for music that has a beat that falls within this range. Even if the music is just played in the background, your heart will match the beat within a few minutes. Your breathing and brainwave state will follow along and your body will move into a relaxed state.
2. Back to Nature
Nature sounds, like birdsong, gently bubbling water, waves or wind are sounds that create a healthy response. Most people feel relaxed, calm, focused and peaceful.
Gentle bubbling sounds of a water fountain or stream calms you down. The crashing of waves is a wonderful way to distract the chattering mind.
Wind can relax you with the gentle rustling of leaves in a summer breeze, delightful wind chimes or even just listening to your own breath.
Listening to birdsong creates a feeling of safely. Our ancestors knew that when the birds were singing, it was safe. When the birds stopped singing, there may be danger near.
3. Super Sound for Your Heart
Have you ever noticed how deeply touching it is when someone sings to you? Just you? It might have been special people singing happy birthday or a best friend or lover singing a special song to you. It touches your heart like nothing else can.
Sound (and music) is food for your nervous system. We all know that there is junk food, good food and super food. There is also junk sound, like a jackhammer, or good sound, like softly bubbling water.
There is a sound, that you can sing, that will touch your heart and nourish it deeply. That is super sound! And deeply nourishing self-care for your beautiful heart.
- Bring your awareness to your heart, or heart chakra.
- Sing a soft and gentle ahhhh as you continue to focus on your heart.
- Notice if there is a response from your heart.
- Adjust the sound, higher or lower, until you feel a tingling or warmth there.
- Continue to sing this sound to your heart, for 5 to 20 minutes.
- Notice your response.
You may also want to journal, draw or write about your response. Nourishing your heart with the sound of your own voice is a wonderful way to support not only your physical health, but your emotional health as well.
Sharon Carne is a best-selling author, international speaker, sound therapist, publisher, musician and recording artist. From 1988 to 2016, Sharon was a faculty member of The Conservatory, Mount Royal University. In 2008 her work changed direction. Sharon is the founder of Sound Wellness, the Sound Wellness Institute and co-founder of the Emergent Workforce Program. Through the Sound Wellness Institute, holistic health practitioners receive the highest level of competency training in Canada in using sound and music to support their practice. The Emergent Workforce program is dedicated to restoring wellbeing, community, purpose, creative collaboration, and kindness to the workforce.