Author: Gregg Braden
“When I was in school, I was taught that the main purpose of the heart is to move blood through the body. I was told that the heart is a pump, plain and simple, and that its job is to pump continuously over the course of our lifetime to accomplish something that is extraordinary by any measure.
“The adult heart beats an average of 101,000 times a day, circulating some 1,900 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of arteries, blood vessels, and capillaries! A growing body of scientific evidence, however, now suggests that the pumping of the heart, as important as it is, may pale in comparison with the additional functions that have been recently discovered. In other words, while the heart indeed pumps blood powerfully and efficiently through the body, the pumping may not be its primary purpose.
“As far back as 1932, scientific investigation of the role of the heart in the body opened the door to a possibility, and a controversy, that continues to unfold to this day. In the early study, Harvard University scientist J. Bremer, filmed the movement of blood flowing through the body of a chicken early in its development. So early, in fact, that the chick’s heart had not yet started functioning. What made this film so exceptional is that Bremer was able to document the chick’s blood moving through its body, on its own, without the aid of the heart pumping it.
“Additional experiments to solve the mystery, performed using similar embryos, showed that the blood flowed as a series of spiral motions, like small eddy currents, rather than in a straight line. The studies also showed that the movement continued throughout their systems even after the heart was removed from the body for as long as ten minutes.
“The two questions here are obvious: (1) How is it possible for the blood to flow in the embryo before the heart is even functioning? And (2) Why does the blood continue flowing even after the heart itself is removed? What could be driving the movement of the blood? Interestingly, these questions were already answered over ten years before the Harvard film was made. And the answer to both came from the same man, Austrian-born philosopher and architect, Rudolph Steiner, the creator of the Waldorf method of education and learning.
“In the early 1920s, Steiner had been researching the motion of fluids, including water and blood, in their natural environment. Steiner discovered, and later demonstrated, that the liquids in their natural state, such as water when it’s still in the ground and blood when it’s still inside the arteries and veins, move freely on their own due to an action that originates within the fluid itself. And rather than flowing in a straight line, as perceived by the naked eye, the fluids follow tiny spiral patters created by continuous micro-vortices to maintain their flow. This spiral movement, Steiner believed, solved the mystery of the blood flowing without the aid of the heart.
“We see the vortex motion that Steiner described on a large scale in rivers and streams. His work demonstrated that the same principle applies on a smaller scale to the blood flowing through the vessels and capillaries of a living body. Although his research was controversial, it was well tested and documented and suggested a closer course of study. It was viewed as so significant in his day that he was invited to share his discoveries with esteemed medical doctors at the renowned Goetheanum (the world center for the anthroposophical movement), located in Dornach, Switzerland. In his presentations, Steiner demonstrated that the heart is not the primary force that moves the blood through the body with pressure. Rather, the blood moves on its own as a result of what he called ‘biological momentum’ – the spiraling effect that was later filmed in 1932.
“So while the heart definitely plays a role in the process, Steiner contended that it was more to serve as a booster to add momentum to the inherent motion of the blood, not the main reason for the motion itself. Steiner’s work was never refuted in his scientific circles and remains controversial today. What he documented early in the 20th century opens the door to an obvious question that goes to the core of this chapter: If the pumping of blood through the body is not the heart’s primary purpose, then what is?
“Today, the implications of Steiner’s discovery, continues to offer a rich source of insight into uncharted processes of the heart specifically and into our relationship with nature in general. Although medical science chose to embrace a more mechanical philosophy when it comes to the role of the heart, Steiner’s work of nearly a century ago is helping unlock the emerging mysteries that cannot be explained with the modern thinking. And while his proposals may have sounded radical in the1920s and ‘30s, the notion that the heart is more than a pump originated long before Steiner shared his discoveries. Resilience from the Heart, pages 4-6, Gregg Braden