HEART RATE VARIABILITY TRAINING
Health and wellness is largely determined by the state of our nervous system.
Specifically, the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which controls the internal organs and regulates heart rate, respiratory rate, digestion, urination, sexual arousal and pupillary response. During good health, there is a balance between the two parts of the ANS - the sympathetic and parasympathetic system. In times of pain, injury and stress the nervous system often gets stuck in sympathetic mode - also known as the "fight-or-flight" response.
Signs of increased sympathetic state:
- chronic pain
- widespread muscular tightness, in particular the hip flexors, neck and shoulders and TMJ (jaw clenching e.t.c.)
- constipation, poor digestion and food allergies
- poor recovery from exercise
- irritability, depression, insomnia and anxiety
- immune related disorders- high blood pressure, heart rate and low hear rate variability
One of the most important parts of staying healthy is recovering properly after you exercise. Exercising puts your body into a "sympathetic" state of function, which is ideal when you work out. But when you go straight into a busy day full of stress, poor posture and computer use, the sympathetic state can remain in place, leading to a rise in stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline and norephinephrine). This leads to chronic muscle tension, a sensitized nervous system andimmune and digestive problems.
Heart Variability Training allows you to objectively monitor the effects of stress and training, ensuring you have recovered adequately.
As Daniel Liebermann explains in his book, The Story of the Human Body, there is a mismatch between what our DNA is designed for and how we live our lives. It is not hard to be overwhelmed with stress and tension that presents itself in many different ways.
Until recently, we've never had a way of objectively measuring the state of our nervous system. With new research and technology, we are now able to use a method of biofeedback, known as Heart Rate Variability. Originally this technology was used in cardiac patients to monitor them for post-surgical complications. Interestingly 5000 years ago, classically trained Indian Ayurvedic doctors used "pulse diagnosis" for diagnostic purposes. It takes 10,000+ hours of training to be able to sense the subtle changes in the pulse. Thanks to modern technology when can measure it in just a few minutes!
As a healthy person inhales there is a small increase in heart rate, and during exhalation there is a decrease. This variability is a sign of nervous system health, resilience and adaptability.
You can do a trial on yourself:
Gently feel the pulse on the inside of your wrist. Breathe in and out normally. Then start to deepen your breath and notice a subtle increase in the pulse rate. As you exhale, notice a slight decrease of the heart rate. This variation is healthy response from your nervous system. The greater the variation - the better your heart rate variability and the more adaptable you are to stressful life events.
During times of stress and perceived threat, heart rate variability is reduced, meaning the heart rate is more fixed. Consequently we are physically and mentally less adaptable to change and vulnerable to perceive certain events as stressful.
There is a direct correlation between heart rate variability, breathing and the state of the nervous system. We can observe if you are in a stressful sympathetic state.
Heart rate variability uses specialized, real-time biofeedback training to:
- Improve awareness
- bring calmness to the nervous system
- increase resilience
- promote wellness at a deep level
Many elite athletes and professional sporting teams now incorporate heart rate variability training to monitor the effects of their training and ensure they recover adequately.
CONTACT US to learn more.