On a basis of meditation, heart coherence claims to make the heart rate more ‘coherent’ and through this coherency, to positively influence health and well-being in many ways.
It’s nice to say that the heart is important.
Many people love it and heart coherence does say so. According to me, its further claims are unsubstantiated, though each is built on well-known facts.
A ‘motte-and-bailey technique’
= combining the obviously true with the indefensible in such a way that the indefensible may seem true to many people, especially in combination with stated authority and repetition. Some examples related to heart coherence:
- Heart rate variability usually follows respiration and is influenced by stress & relaxation. YES BUT: This doesn’t mean this change in variability has in any way any direct influence upon any other part of the body or mind.
- The heart sends lots of information to the brain. YES BUT: So do all parts of your body, even your feet. This doesn’t give much sense to the assertion that the feet ‘control the brain,’ certainly not in a metaphysical sense.
- The heart generates an electromagnetic field, the largest of the body at rest, and a thousand times stronger than that of the brain. YES BUT: The heart simply is a large muscle and muscles generate electromagnetic fields. There is no scientific indication that the electromagnetic field from the heart is of any deeper significance than that for instance of any electronic device.
- Subtle changes in the heart’s magnetic field can be measured outside the body. YES BUT: This doesn’t mean that there are any relevant extra-corporeal influences in daily life. At the surface of the body, this field is 107 times weaker than the Earth’s magnetic field at the surface of the Earth. The referred-to, infinitesimally small changes at some distance were measured at a super-lab in Berlin called the ‘most magnetically quiet room on earth.’
- The heart’s intrinsic nervous system contains some 14.000 – 40.000 neurons. YES BUT This doesn’t make it sophisticated enough to be called a ‘heart brain’ in its own right. The human brain contains +/- 100 billion neurons. The gut contains +/- 100 million neurons.
- People who are close to each other can empathically respond to each other. YES BUT: This doesn’t mean that if I am holding your hand, your brain waves sync up to my heartbeat due to some magnetic transfer effects.
Heart coherence starts from the facts at the left side of these assertions, then claims unsubstantiated consequences related to the right side.
And more. Some quotes:
- “The heart’s energy field is coupled to a field of information that is not bound by the classic limits of time and space.”
- “The Earth’s magnetic and geomagnetic fields created in the ionosphere in turn create bidirectional feed-forward and feedback loops within the collective emotional energy of humanity.”
What heart coherence amounts to, in a few words:
- You relax/meditate, having influence on sympathetic nervous system etc. which may influence various cognitive tasks, with possibly a positive effect.
- You mainly do this in the form of respiration exercises. This influences your… respiration.
- This also influences your heart rate variability (‘higher heart coherence’), which you can measure. It’s not clear how much the relaxation part contributes to this.
- It’s highly unlikely that this higher heart coherence by itself contributes to anything: neither personal, nor social, nor global.
- Heart coherence adds to the generally known only a hodgepodge of pseudoscience.
- Heart coherence adds to meditation only a focus on material things – the material heart generating an electromagnetic field etc. – instead of the ‘true heart’ in a poetically meaningful sense. Thus, a hodgepodge of pseudo-poetry.
It adds only pseudo.
The positive effect may be that at least, through heart coherence, people do some meditation… YES BUT: it brings these exercises in a highly controversial way, with no guarantee of quality and at high cost. Moreover, it brings to meditation an unneeded connotation with hodgepodgery.
Heart coherence doesn’t work. If something related to it works, then it’s YOU.