Manual Therapy for the Body and the Mind

Heart Chakra

Ayurvedic

  • Fourth Chakra
  • Sanskrit name: Anahata, “Unstuck Sound”
  • Shown in green
  • Located at the heart
  • As with many cultures, yogic tradition associates the heart with love, compassion, relationship and empathy
    • Conversely, loneliness, anger and grief are felt here
    • It is at the heart that we begin to consider the needs of others, and the impact of actions outside ourselves
    • Hugging brings a loved one physically close to the heart
  • Organs associated: heart, lungs, circulatory system

Physiological

  • The Cardiac Plexus supplies the heart with significant information about the physical as well as emotional state of the body as a whole
    • Made up of sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers, the cardiac plexus provides information relating to unconscious feelings
    • Nerves of the upper thoracic spine are part of the plexus as well, innervating the intercostal muscles and skin over the ribcage
    • Recent studies using biofeedback have shown that the heartbeat responds instantaneously to thoughts, emotions and activities
    • The heart has its own electrical generator, the sinoatrial node, which creates and maintains the heartbeat we are all familiar with
  • The thymus is the the endocrine gland associated with the heart
    • It is responsible for healthy development of the immune system in children
    • It shrinks as we mature, but still plays an important function in determining what are foreign elements within the body, whether they are harmful or not, and whether or not they need to be removed
  • Protected inside the ribcage, the heart is relatively safe from outside physical threats
    • Emotional insecurities often play out in the musculature around the ribcage
      • The intercostals, muscles between the ribs that assist breathing, can become stuck in contraction, limiting the ability of the lungs to function fully
      • The pectorals, which lay over the front of this region, can become shortened, causing the shoulders to roll forward, giving the appearance of a hollowing of the chest
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