And if so, then do the sayings like “I love you with all my heart” and “my heart swelled with joy” mean something or are they just poetic language?
The heart, as basically as one can describe, is an electromechanical pump.
An interview with Dr Suresh Venkita - Medical Doctor and Chief Physician from Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby, explains that the heart surely feels but in response to the brain.
“The emotions are in your brain, the heart only responds to emotions. So whatever your brain reacts to – good news or bad news – the impact shows on the heart,” he tells Loop lifestyle.
To deeply understand this relationship, science documentary filmmaker David Malone went on a heart exploration of his own.
His documentary film Of Hearts and Minds reveals a lot more interesting facts about the heart that modern science has uncovered in time.
In the film, Professor David Patterson from the Oxford University, who has been in the forefront of modern science retelling the story of the heart, elaborates on this relation.
Yes the brain is made up of billions of neurons and is able to influence the heart rate by sending messages down the different nerve fibres – the wiring of the human body.
When the heart receives these signals from the brain through the sympathetic nerves, it pumps faster and when it receives signal through the para-sympathetic nerves, it slows down.
According to Dr Patterson, this two major nerves from the brain to the heart only tells it to speed up or slow down (Traditional anatomical view of the nervous system).
But in the heart itself, you have around 10,000 very specialised neurons that sit there around the right atrial.
Film maker Malone finds it astonishing that neurons - the very cells that make up the brain in our heads and give us the ability to think are also present within the heart.
“And there are so many of them, that these neurons have been called by those who study them – the hearts little brain,” he says.
Much about the heart’s neuron is still unknown but one thing is clear, that the brain in our heads doesn’t simply control the heart but works in partnership with it.
These neurons in the heart control what the heart does, not the brain.
So while the heart is a pump that does respond when the brain asks it to, it is not enslaved to the brain. Its relationship with the brain is more like a marriage living in partnership, with each dependent upon the other.
Listen to your heart speak, because it tells you exactly how it feels.
And like Dr Venkita of Pacific International Hospital says:
“When they say heart break, it really happens,”