• By: John Stenberg
  • Date: Sep 01, 2017
The Heart-Brain Connection

Emerging science is beginning to appreciate the connectivity of the human body. What once considered a machine-like organism with a bunch of different pieces is now being viewed as a dynamic solitary unit. This shift in perspective causes us to view the whole as more than the sum of the parts. One relationship that is beginning to be appreciated for this synergy is the heart-brain connection. Understanding and applying this information practically opens the door for improved outcomes with our patients, which is what it’s all about.

The neurological connection between the heart and brain has been well established, but bears repeating to bring us all up to speed. The nervous system acts like the electrical communication system of the body, transmitting information from body to brain, and then back from brain to body. This system never sleeps and is constantly providing the means for adapting to changes in your internal and external environments (under normal circumstances). As a vital organ, it is extremely important for the heart to be both an active contributor and receiver in that information loop. The intelligent design of the body includes the “network infrastructure” or wiring system that allows for this process. One of the key players in this “network infrastructure” is the vagus nerve – so named because it travels down from the brainstem into the abdomen giving off branches along the way. One stop along this course includes the superior and inferior cardiac nerves that branch off the supply the heart.

What is the purpose of these “nerve circuits” that connect the heart and the brain? Coordination of function only exists with proper communication. Very generally, these communication pathways (“nerve circuits”) keep the brain aware of changes in the heart (heart rate, rhythm, expansion/contraction) and vise versa. Since the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body (including into the brain against gravity) instant feedback is essential to maintain function in the brain. The brain is a metabolic powerhouse, consuming enormous amounts of oxygen which is carried through the blood. Did you ever notice that when your blood pressure drops your heart races? This is an example of the intelligent response of the body to increase circulation when pressure drops.

Consider how a structural obstruction in the communication between these systems would impact the functionality of the heart as an organ. What if abnormal pressure in the nerve system existed affecting the headquarters of the vagus nerve in the brainstem? A variety of secondary conditions (a.k.a. symptoms) are likely to emerge “downstream” as communication is interrupted. Atlas Displacement Complex is a condition that NeuroStructural chiropractors focus on correcting because of this potential interruption. Arrhythmias, poor circulation, and abnormally high or low blood pressure are a few of the common secondary conditions that may emerge if this system is affected.

The heart-brain connection is extremely fascinating, and we have just begun to scratch the surface of this unique relationship in the human body. For thousands of years peoples have noted the significance of the heart in the health, vitality, and consciousness of humanity. As scientific advances continue we are able to observe and appreciate the complexity of this design in a way that is clinically meaningful. By testing for abnormal function in the operating system of the body we are able to detect structural shifts before they cause secondary conditions such as those listed above.

The heart-brain connection is extremely fascinating, and we have just begun to scratch the surface of this unique relationship in the human body. For thousands of years peoples have noted the significance of the heart in the health, vitality, and consciousness of humanity. As scientific advances continue we are able to observe and appreciate the complexity of this design in a way that is clinically meaningful. By testing for abnormal function in the operating system of the body we are able to detect structural shifts before they cause secondary conditions such as those listed above.

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