Article Text

PDF
The relationship between heart and ‘inner self’ from Aristotle to current clinical practice
  1. Anna Goodhart
  1. Correspondence to Anna Goodhart, 11 Mardale Avenue, Manchester, M20 4TU, UK; anna.goodhart{at}cantab.net

Abstract

Modern songs, films, novels and daily speech often use heart imagery to illustrate ‘inner self’ experiences, such as deeply felt emotions. Where do these ideas come from and what relevance (if any) do they have for medicine today? This article explores some of the key origins and periods of development of heart/‘inner self’ ideas before considering the significance of heart/‘inner self’ interactions in modern clinical practice: from Aristotelian anatomy and the translated Hebrew Scriptures; through Shakespeare, William Harvey and the Protestant Reformation; to theories of emotion and modern-day cardiology. I conclude that heart/‘inner self’ interactions exist in clinically significant ways, but are poorly understood and under-recognised in healthcare settings. Greater integration of cardiovascular and psychosocial medicine would improve patient care.

  • Cardiology
  • Mental health care

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.