When asked which organ in your body is most important, most people will say either the heart or the brain. The brain collects information from stimuli and from within ourselves. The body then responds appropriately to take the right action. The heart’s purpose is to pump blood to every cell and is often considered the seat of your emotions.

Felton Institute, Felton and You: Heart Matters

Did you know that you have brain cells in your heart? That means when you “know something in your heart,” you actually know it in your heart. Until the 1990s, scientists assumed it was only the brain that sends information. Scientific research has proven that the human heart possesses a “heart-brain,” composed of 40,000 neurons that can sense, feel, learn, and even remember. The heart can speak to the brain, generating sine-wavelike patterns. The old adage “Listen to your Heart” now takes on new meaning.

“One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is totally wrong. Only through the bringing together of head and heart-intelligence and goodness-shall man rise to a fulfillment of his true nature.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A group based out of Denver, Colorado, called HeartMath, has studied this connection between heart and brain for over thirty years. When your heart and mind are in harmony, they call that coherence. By understanding our heart and listening to what it says, we can shift our entire body neurologically, biophysically, and energetically. Simple ways of developing more coherence are through sitting quietly, meditation, or just simply enjoying nature.

Perhaps this is nothing new. Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote that the heart was superior to the brain and the center of reason, thought, and emotion. Other philosophers agreed. Arabic theorist Abu Nasr Al-Farabi is quoted as saying, “The ruling organ in the human body is the heart; the brain is a secondary ruling organ subordinated to the heart.” French philosopher Auguste Comte boldly stated that the brain should be subservient to the heart.

Felton Institute, Felton and You: Heart Matters

Felton Institute acknowledges and integrates the importance of overall health in its programs. Current research is showing that the healthiest people have healthy brains and healthy hearts – leading to a better quality of life. One such successful Felton program is the Senior Full Wellness Program, which includes comprehensive case management, counseling, and psychiatric services provided for older adults with mental health concerns.

From providing healthy food for families, responding to those at risk for suicide to the mental health programs for those who need it, Felton Institute runs more than programs in five counties. Felton aims to address the basic human needs of both body and mind, utilizing and integrating the best social science research.

This is the heart of Felton Institute’s mission.



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About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.

Felton is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the ”conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org