You have probably seen at least 20 different Facebook and blog posts where people talk about a study from the HeartMath Institute, showing that a human’s heart will sync or entrain to the heart rhythm of a horse’s heart – just by being near the horse.
As a health writer, it bugged the crap outta me that dozens of people talked about and shared this ‘study’ but yet no one could provide the reference or link to the actual study!
Of course, this is significant because it provides a hard science explanation for why people feel better from just sitting next to a horse, or grooming a horse – no riding necessary. But, without taking a look at the actual, original study, we can’t actually talk about the science or ‘proof’ of this phenomenon, can we? And if we’re going to use science to convince someone of something we already know (from our own body wisdom, or body experience) to be true, then we really need to provide the reference to the original study.
So I am very pleased to announce that I have indeed, finally, found this elusive study! It is in fact a webinar, where the scientist running the pilot study, Ann L. Baldwin PhD is presenting the results to the Borderlands Center for Equine Assisted Services in Arizona. You can tune in to the webinar on HeartMath’s website and you can even download it if you’d like to show it to your clients, etc.
The interesting thing about this research is that Dr. Baldwin’s original purpose was to see whether the human could affect the heart rate variability (HRV) of the horse – via various positive energy or meditative techniques. And she was pleased to see that occur.
What surprised her was when the graphs showed the human heart rate dropping to a frequency it does not normally go to in humans! But one that is common in horses. This is what showed her the horse’s heart field was dominant (possibly because its electromagnetic field is larger). Because that coherence frequency ‘belongs’ to the horse, not the human. If you just want to skip straight to this part of her research, then start watching the webinar at 17:00 minutes. You’re welcome 🙂
Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Lazer Tapping instructor. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.
13 thoughts on “Human Heart Rate Syncs to Horse’s Heart”
I am so curious why so many people feel that they need science to PROVE or VALIDATE what they feel is the truth in their own heart mind and body.
We have become a peoples who can’t trust our own knowing as fact for us.
I am curious about WHY we as a species choose to not just trust ourselves and have made science the barometer of whether we can accept our own understanding of something and trust experience.
Animals don’t need ANY scientific proof they simply KNOW and trust their gut.
And science has no feeling it can only Validate or Disprove something. But it can’t really experience anything. So what if the science says one thing and you have had a different experience because science can only measure small things and you are living in the Quantum Science Energy Field so you see feel hear and know more about a much bigger picture taking place than a small study of one variable?
Does the fact that there hasn’t been a “science study” invalidate your total experience?
I think science can be useful perhaps even helpful at times. And I also believe that when we start playing in the Quantum Energy Field with horses that we are the living science experiments.
Thank you Jini.
I think that most of us who play in other realms come in and out of doubting ourselves. Things can get seriously whacky out in the Quantum field! If you talk to people who solely exist in 3-D, you may notice that you sound kind of like a lunatic to them. So I think that’s where stuff like this comes in, especially if people do equine therapy as a profession. It’s a chance to point at something IN the accepted/dominant reality and say, “SEE – it IS real!”
Measurable science like this can also be a gateway in for the skeptic – a lollipop for their brain to suck on, that then allows their ego to let go (even a little bit) into body wisdom and felt experience, as you detailed above.
I just get annoyed when people quote stuff like this and then never provide a reference! OKAY if you’re gonna go all science, then go the whole way! 🙂
I haven’t watched yet, but I wanted to say thanks!! Yay!! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Thank you so much for finding this as I have been on the hunt for this elusive study myself! And speaking as someone who has a very strong science background, the reason for the “proof”, as Jini eluded to, is to have the practice validated as an evidence-based therapeutic modality. Why? Because it allows clients to understand that we aren’t all operating from a “woo-woo” crazy place, but that there has been research done and the benefits can be tangibly measured. We all know the benefits reach FAR BEYOND the tangible, measurable effects, but the paying public and their extended health benefit programs, as well as government funding for grassroots programs, requires this evidence to validate this work. It lends credibility to our peers and provides opportunities for sharing this practice with individuals who only see the scientific evidence.
Great explanation Nicole and I did not consider the government funding aspect. Those considering such should download the webinar so they have a copy (things tend to disappear from the Internet over time). And yes, sometimes people need to see the science to get them in the door, THEN the magic of the horses takes over 🙂
Omg…. exactly how I feel. Why oh why do we need to Proove what we know and feel to be truth …. there are so many things I just Intuitively Know and I certainly don’t need a scientific study to back it up!
Its fascinating to me how many people will classify thousands of years of direct experiential evidence of syncing with nature as “woo-woo” and rely on a study provided by someone else to validate their own personal experience instead of accepting and trusting their bodies own wisdom as their proof. Lest we thin k we are crazy for feeling what we know rather than relying on a study to tell us what we our bodies already told us.
Thank you for the link. Much appreciate the scientific proof to share with the nay sayers.
I will summarize a longish white paper I wrote years ago to rebut some of these assertions:
First, if you record directly from the -surface- of the heart and the -surface- of the brain, the brain signals have slightly higher millivolts. Most brain recordings are made with scalp electrodes, in which case the electrical signal is attenuated in the cranial bones.
Second, I challenge the definition of intelligence, heart vs. brain: apples and oranges. The four Jungian functions, intellect, emotion, somatic, and intuitive/psychic have equal claims on genius.
Third, claims about the primacy of the heart confuse the emotional heart with the physiological heart and suggest that horses give us more love, or can entrain our hearts more powerfully in their “heart fields,” due to their anatomically large hearts. But “You can’t measure love on an EKG.” Animal communicators can sense love from tiny animals miles away.
Fourth, due to the inverse-square law, electromagnetic field theory does not explain the physics of remote sensing, remote healing or remote loving (or nearby loving and entrainment). The effects of all of these have been shown in scientific experiments across great distances on Earth and from Earth to the moon. (See remote viewing work by Russell Targ and studies on intercessory prayer by Randall Byrd, MD.)
Fifth, heart rate variability (HRV) is a -proxy- for the parasympathetic nervous system and the neuropsychiatric implications of the significance of HRV and other aspects of polyvagal theory are controversial among neuroscientists.
Sixth, I have seen a disturbing trend in some practitioners of integrative medicine and equine-assisted therapies to use junk science, or good science with junk interpretations, to validate our field with the general public, with health payors, and with professional liability underwriters. Remember the grapefruit diet? While I sympathize with economically motivated efforts–we all gotta eat and feed our horses!–I do not think it serves us to use twisted logic to suit these agendas.
7th, as a parapsychologist and integrative medicine physician who teaches medical research methodologies at Stanford University, CA, USA, I can accept all manner of paranormal and phenomenological experience and gnosis, especially of “miracle” healing. I deplore the need to prove or justify these experiences with junk science (or junk interpretations of good science).
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and render unto God the things that are God’s.” attributed to Jesus, Matthew 22:21
Attribute to me: “Render unto Science that things that are Science’s and render unto gnosis the things that are gnostic.”
Brilliant Beverly! Thank you so much for adding your voice to this discussion.
For those of you similarly intrigued by Beverly’s knowledge, she has some great books, and a bunch of papers/reports available for free on her site:
If you do equine-assisted learning/therapy for a living, I would definitely check out her offerings and my personal favourite is her paper on SYMPTOM & SIGNIFICANCE.
I’m sure her books would provide plenty of rock-solid references to validate for any insurance etc requirements.
Beverly I’m going to email you directly with a Guided Audio I have for placing your consciousness inside your body – I’d love to have your feedback on it 🙂
Thanks for your kind words, Jini. Will look for your e-mail.
Sent! Please check your junk mail if you don’t see it…