There is nowhere to begin but at the center—your heart. It is a miraculous organ and the subject of my fascination. Is it really a pump in the way we were taught? What is it’s function? Does it have an intelligent voice and harbor memories? What kind of relationship do I have with my heart? I have been asking myself these questions and researching some science that may illuminate interesting answers. If you seek an intimacy with yourself and desire a long healthy life full of vibrance, the heart is your golden key to unlocking hidden treasures.
Rudolph Steiner, a German philosopher, visionary and the 'father' of anthroposophy, biodynamics and Waldorf education, was ahead of his time in many ways. One of his most prophetic claims was that the heart is not a pump. I was taught that the heart is a muscle that forces all of our blood through the circulatory system, acting like a pump that pushes blood via muscular squeeze & release. At the time of Steiner’s proclamation, there was little science to support his statement and it seemed mostly overlooked. In 2016, Dr. Thomas Cowan (a cardiologist) wrote Human Heart, Cosmic Heart where he begins to unpack this controversial theory and reveal how the heart actually functions. To summarize, it is physically impossible that the heart could do the task of pumping blood through the miles of vessels and capillaries that we embody. Imagine trying to pump honey through a water hose for miles—uphill—it would take a machine much larger than your fist-sized heart. The structure of the heart also shows that it is not designed to pump all alone. At the apex (or bottom) of the heart, it is only one layer of muscle making it quite thin compared to the other areas. In the pump model, this would be the area of the heart that receives the most pressure, being directly opposite the aortic valve. The base of the heart would need much more reinforcement to function for a human lifetime.
Steiner suggests and the anatomy supports, that the heart is more of a hydraulic ram. A hydraulic ram, usually placed in running water, works when pressure and volume build up on the incoming side of a gate, creating a vacuum or negative pressure on the far side of the gate—the gate will open and the fluid propelled up hill! Steiner and Cowan explain how the heart works similarly, acting via pressure and vacuum, regulating the blood flow and transforming it from laminar flow to a vortex. This ram-pump model depends on a hydrophilic tube system of positive/negative charged blood that engages your vessels and capillaries to participate in the movement of your blood too. This means that your entire circulatory system is wholy active in the movement of blood through your body, not just the heart muscles.
Now to illuminate heart-brain communication, an honest intelligence that is readily available to everyone. In 1991, Dr. J. Andrew Armour introduced the term “heart brain” after establishing that the heart has a complex network of 40,000 neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells that can act independently of the cranial brain. Your heart holds both short- and long-term memories separate from your brain. There are astounding stories of heart transplant recipients who experience memories, dreams and even cravings that can only be explained after learning about the person from whom the heart came. Understanding and developing a relationship with your heart can open you to greater personal insight, better decision making skills and even higher immune function.