The Beat of Life:
A Surgeon Reveals the Secrets of the Heart
by Reinhard Friedl
If you wander over to dictionary.com and type in “heart” the definitions displayed are varied. The first entry is for the heart that pushes blood to all corners of our body. Another definition is “the center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion.”
While adequate attention is paid to the first definition with personal anecdotes, author Reinhard Friedl, a heart surgeon by profession, prefers to focus this book on the mind-heart connection and how it affects just about everything we do remarking that scientists haven’t fully explored the Brain-Heart axis as he calls it.
One such aspect that has been reported is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy better known as “broken-heart” syndrome in the lay press. This is a weakening of the left ventricle from extreme stress. Interestingly, this occurs mostly in women, especially post-menopausal women. The syndrome is named for the Japanese octopus traps as the heart on x-ray appears strikingly similar.
If you think about it, this makes sense that extreme stress would cause the heart to react. After all, as Dr Friedl discovered, meditation can change the heartbeat, slowing it so we can relax.
As I finished reading “The Beat of Life” I felt that as much as we think we know about the heart, there is so much more out there to learn.
While this isn’t the type of book I would readily seek out, I recommend this read for those who are looking for a different way of looking at the anatomical heart and by extension, its relationship to the rest of the body as well as those who interested in the more mystical aspects of the heart. You won’t be disappointed.
[Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the ebook copy in exchange for my honest and objective opinion which I have given here.]