Few things evoke as much apprehension in many people as the idea of pressing burning or hot material on our exposed skin. As we grow we quickly learn that the burning materials are something we should avoid at all costs. And yet each year thousands involved in the ritual known as fire walking expose their skin to burning hot coals. Somehow they are not burned. And yet scientists have just discovered that’s not the most incredible element of this ritual. The hearts of people who walk on fire beat in unison.
The incredible development sounds like too much to be believed, but the heart rates of participants in these rituals actually beat in unison as the ritual goes on. Unlike the ritual itself, which requires no particular rhythm or external indicators of when each beat would be taking place, the researchers found that if we were to look inside the participants of each ritual we would find a group entirely in harmony with one another by some unexplained force.
And if that’s not astounding enough, the synchronicity of heart beats only occurred in participants who were actively involved in the ritual who were friends and family. Outsiders who were not participating in the event showed no synchronicity whatsoever, instead having a relatively normal heartbeat. But as the participants walked across the hot coals they found that there was virtually no difference between the network of friends and relatives. But what could be causing this? And is this a phenomenon without precedent?
Interestingly, there is a similar but equally unexplained phenomenon. When a sample of heart tissue is placed next to another one in a pitri dish they will pulse and beat in unison. Interestingly, the AV bundle is myogenic, which is to say it does not need electrical impulses from the brain to expand and contract. So how do two different tissues react to one another when no known information is passing through them?
While the idea of walking on hot coals might sound like an extreme sport to some, those who participate say it taps into something deeper and more spiritual than their usual day to day routine. Usually fire walking as it’s known is performed under the tutelage of an experienced teacher. But while those who walk on the coals do so at their own risk, it’s a wonder that most walk away without suffering from the burns. How do they do it? Is there some secret or knowledge that must be attained before it will work? And is this heartbeat unison yet another piece of evidence suggesting there’s something deeper and more spiritual to this ancient practice?
Future studies might be slow to come along as those involved in rituals such as these often do not want outsiders to interrupt with invasive heart monitors or surveillance equipment. Nonetheless, both researchers and those involved in the rituals themselves will be a subject of increased interest as this incredible discovery continues to amaze everyone.