Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
1. What is HRV?
Heart rate variability (HRV) is the variation in the rate at which the heart beats. HRV is not the same as the heart rate. Unlike a clock, it is normal and healthy for the heart to beat at different paces at different times. HRV measures that variability.
2. Why is it prescribed?
HRV training can be a successful way to treat a number of conditions as widely varied as depression, anxiety, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, chronic fatigue and chronic pain. It is also used as a preferred method for performance enhancement for top athletes, artists and successful top performers world-wide.
3. How does it work?
Using biofeedback, you can train your body to change the rhythms in your heart activity and increase heart-rate variability. One form of treatment is to connect you to sensors that measure your heart and breathing. Your therapist will help you relax your muscles and your mind, reducing anxiety while practicing diaphragmatic breathing. You will actually see how the parameters of heart and breath go down on the screen, creating smooth waves of your heart and lungs working together, thus consciously calming your nervous system. This variation is also known as Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA).
4. Where can I get treatment?
Although there are some apps out there to train HRV at home, we recommend you train at a professional practitioner’s office. A professional has the experience to measure HRV and thus understand how it relates to many stress-related conditions such as anxiety and other emotional deregulations. An app or “do-it-yourself” approach usually only measures one modality at a time, whereas a professional practitioner is able to see a broader picture. Integrating a combination of variables (breathing, temperature, muscle tension), your therapist will support you and guide you along the way to achieve the desired results.
5. When is HRV prescribed?
At Swingle Clinic HRV is offered as a complementary therapy to neurofeedback. Based upon the results of your “Brain Map” (QEEG), your Supervisor will determine if HRV is an appropriate treatment for you. The powerful combination of HRV and neurotherapy allows us to not only track the progress in your Heart Rate Variability, but actually monitor the changes in your brainwaves. HRV can be a simple -but powerful- tool to quiet the mind.