The heart arises from folded and subdivided tubing of the circulatory system.
Contractions of heart muscle sequence from top to bottom, mirroring the general direction of nerve conduction in the body and also the direction of peristalsis.
The heart pumps from the inside out, and is nourished from the outside in. Freshly oxygenated blood flows to the heart itself before it flows to any other tissues.
The heart acts like a fountain, refilling from its crown, and squirting liquid content up from its base.
Blood squeezed out of the heart all moves upward, but it does so in two separated streams that in the rest of the body flow in opposite directions. One stream flows toward the lungs, the other toward the tissues.
The left side of the heart pumps spent blood from the entire self out toward the lungs and toward the air. During exhalation, the pressure of this spent blood chases the shrinking of the lungs.
The right side of the heart pumps fresh blood coming in from the lungs out to all the cells of the self. The heart's pumping of fresh blood is supported by the swelling of the lungs on inhalation.
The heart lifts on every exhale or voiced expression, and sinks on every inhale. The heart is also squeezed by every inhale, and released by every exhale.
The heart is innervated from its surface inward, and is very sensitive to what touches it.
The heart is suspended and supported from the
spine behind it.
Food and drink that are swallowed slide down the esophagus behind the heart and land in the stomach beneath it. So the heart may carry some sense of being fed and protected from behind.
The heart only holds what it contains for an instant. The shape of its inner walls prevents turbulence.
Before birth, a baby's oxygen and nutrition enters through its umbilical cord, so its heart works to circulate blood to and from the placenta. The fetal heart pumps mainly from its inner or medial side, and orients the baby's circulation medially to and from its navel and its mother.
In utero, a baby always hears at least three rhythms: its own heartbeat, the heartbeat of its mother, and its mother's breath. Hearing polyrhythms later in life may be a reminder of this time.
With its first breath, a newborn has a literal change of heart. Blood pressure from the baby's first lung expansion closes the oval window between its atria, and the heart's medial side starts to supply the lungs with spent blood. The heart's strength then gradually shifts to the lateral side, which pumps fresh blood out to the tissues. As the work of the baby's heart shifts laterally, the baby's orientation toward vital sources of oxygen shifts from inward toward its mother to outward toward the air. Many adults have not completed this transition.
© Erik Bendix, 2011
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