Heart Rate Variability and Biofeedback
Heart rate variability (HRV) is the fluctuation in the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats. A healthy heart is not a metronome. An optimal level of HRV is associated with health and resilience.
Have you ever wondered what the health impact of a stressful day was? Will you perform well during your long run tomorrow morning? Is there anything you can do today that would improve your ability to have a better day moving forward? Heart rate variability (HRV) may be the piece of data that could help you answer these questions. HRV is simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat. If one is in a more relaxed state, the variation between beats is high. Low HRV is associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease.
Tracking HRV may be a great tool to motivate behavioral change for some. HRV measurements can help create more awareness of how you live and think, and how your behavior affects your nervous system and bodily functions. We can check your HRV at Essence of Wellness. We also use it as a biofeedback tool to help people understand how to respond to stress in a healthier way. As you might have guessed, research also indicates that chiropractic care can help improve HRV which is yet another reason why we check it.
Learn to Access a State of Active Calm
At Essence of Wellness, we us the emWave Pro Plus. It is a scientifically validated heart-rate monitoring system that facilitates learning techniques to create an optimal state in which the heart, mind and emotions are operating in-sync and balanced. This is achieved through a patented process which displays heart rhythm patterns in real time showing you when you are in this high performance state. This is called this coherence.
The emWave Pro Plus helps you achieve coherence and alignment through simple-to-learn exercises and a rich graphical interface. Using a pulse sensor plugged into a USB port, emWave Pro collects pulse data and translates coherence information into user-friendly graphics displayed on the computer screen. Through coherence techniques, interactive exercises and game play, emWave Pro helps you bring your heart and mind into a coherent state, building resilience, increasing energy, and promoting focus, mental clarity and emotional balance.
Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback and Sport Performance
- In most of the studies, athletes enhanced psychophysiological variables that allowed them to improve their sport performance thanks to training with heart rate variability biofeedback
- Despite the limited amount of experimental studies in the field to date, the findings suggest that heart rate variability biofeedback is an effective, safe, and easy-to-learn and apply method for both athletes and coaches in order to improve sport performance
- Effect of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback on Sport Performance, a Systematic Review. Jiménez Morgan S, Molina Mora JA. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2017 Sep;42(3):235-245. doi: 10.1007/s10484-017-9364-2. Review.
Stress and Anxiety
- HRV biofeedback training is associated with a large reduction in self-reported stress and anxiety
- Although more well-controlled studies are needed, this intervention offers a promising approach for treating stress and anxiety with wearable devices
- The effect of heart rate variability biofeedback training on stress and anxiety: a meta-analysis. Goessl VC, Curtiss JE, Hofmann SG. Psychol Med. 2017 Nov;47(15):2578-2586. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717001003.
- HRV has been used for the evaluation of chronic pain from different sources (headache, neck, shoulder, lower back, fibromyalgia, hip, gastrointestinal, burning mouth syndrome, etc.)
- different studies have shown that people with chronic pain have decreased HRV compared to people without pain, especially in the high frequency component
- HRV reveals a reduction of the parasympathetic activity and an increase of the sympathetic activity in patients with chronic pain of musculoskeletal origin
- Sensor Technologies to Manage the Physiological Traits of Chronic Pain: A Review. Naranjo-Hernández D, Reina-Tosina J, Roa LM. Sensors (Basel). 2020 Jan 8;20(2).
- A systematic review points to the effects of spinal manipulation on the autonomic nervous system, reflected in changes in heart rate variability and skin conductance, and the direction of effects depending on the particular spinal level (1)
- Neck adjustments in people without current neck pain showed a significant influence on HRV, increasing the parasympathetic response and decreasing the sympathetic tone (2)
- 1) Neurophysiological Effects of High Velocity and Low Amplitude Spinal Manipulation in Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Humans: A Systematic Literature Review. Wirth B, Gassner A, de Bruin ED, Axén I, Swanenburg J, Humphreys BK, Schweinhardt P. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2019 Aug 1;44(15):E914-E926.
- 2) The impact of cervical manipulation on heart rate variability. Shafiq H, McGregor C, Murphy B. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2014;2014:3406-9