MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: Can you make you heart beat faster or slower by thinking about it?

Date: Fri Oct 6 12:27:58 2000
Posted By: Terry Hebert, Faculty, Universite de Montreal, Biochemistry, Montréal Heart Institute
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 970692280.Bc

Hi Danny,

That's a difficult question to answer. If you mean can you consciously 
control your heart rate by thinking about it, then the answer is I don't 
know. One always hears about yogis who can control their metabolism to such 
a degree but I have no idea about mechanism. If you mean, is there a neural 
component to the control of heart rate then the answer is yes. Your mental 
state can easily affect your heart rate- think of how you feel right before 
an exam or before other emotional events. Both arms of the autonomic 
nervous system, sympathetic (adrenaline which increases HR) and 
parasympathetic (acetylcholine which decreases HR) can effect cardiac 
function and are linked to the way you think and feel although you may not 
consciously be aware of this. 

Take care,


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