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HRV

Heart-Rate Variability (HRV), is a measure of the naturally occurring beat-to-beat changes in heart rate. Analysing the HRV is a powerful, noninvasive measure of autonomic nervous-system function (ANS).

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is the part of the nervous system that acts as a control system, maintaining balance in the body. Most of these activities are generally performed without conscious control such as digestion, perspiration, dilation of the pupils.  However, some of these activities also have a conscious element of control, such as breathing.  With some training, one can also have control over heart rate.

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) can be divided into the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other. This opposition helps keep the other in balance like the acceleration and brake peddles of a car. The sympathetic division typically functions in actions requiring quick responses (fight-or flight). The parasympathetic division functions with actions that do not require immediate reaction (rest and repair functions).

By placing a sensor on your earlobe, we can analyse your heart rate pulses and teach you techniques to adjust your nervous system function.

Benefit of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Training & HRV Therapy:

When you achieve nervous system balance with HRV training, you gain control over your stress response leading to more effective performance, optimal cognitive performance and a greater calm in life. Additional side effects include improved mood, as well as a much greater sense of well-being.

What is Heart Rate Variability Training used for?

When stress stimulates the fight or flight response over a long period of time, it can affect both your physical and mental health. Any prolonged imbalance of the ANS leads to problems such as heart disease, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. In fact, most illnesses have a stress base.  Studies have found a very strong link between stress and heart disease, diabetes, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, Alzheimer’s disease and many other illnesses.

Research indicates a two-way communication system between the brain and the nerves surrounding the heart which affects the body’s stress hormones and immune system.
Research has shown that HRV training helps the individual better manage stress and anxiety and improve work satisfaction and performance. In the case of athletes, sports performance can also be improved.

The Science behind Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Training:

For many years the thinking was that the heart responded to signals sent out by the brain.  Now, we know that the heart plays a big role in sending signals to the brain that have an enormous effect on brain function.

Most of us believe that the heart is constantly responding to “requests” sent by the brain in the form of nerve signals. However, what is not as commonly known is that the heart also sends signals to the brain that have a significant effect on brain function. Not only does the heart respond to the brain the brain continuously responds to the heart.

Scientists at the Institute of HeartMath have demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity have distinct effects on higher mental and emotional functions. When under stress, the heart rhythm pattern becomes erratic and disordered and the corresponding pattern of nerve signals travelling from the heart to the brain disrupts higher mental functions.

The heart’s input to the brain during stressful events or with negative emotions has a profound effect on the brain’s emotional processing.  When under stress, we all know that our ability to think clearly, reason and make effective decisions is impacted. Good emotion, on the other hand, sends a heart signal that is more ordered and stable which improves higher mental function and emotional stability. This means that by learning to generate heart rhythm coherence, we create new brain networks that results in a sustainable effect on the body and also affects how we think, feel, perform, perceive and make decisions.

The Heart’s Changing Rhythm:

This of course changes the way in which we think about the heart.  Rather than faithfully beating with a regular, steady rhythm, we see that even under resting conditions there is a huge amount of variability with the intervals between heartbeats constantly changing.  These natural changes give us clues into how the body’s internal functions are being regulated. Measuring the HRV gives us much information about your nervous system function.

What does the therapy do?

Research has shown that HRV training helps the individual better manage stress and anxiety and improve work satisfaction and performance. In the case of athletes, sports performance can also be improved.

The concept is simple.  A small monitor clipped onto your earlobe links in with a computer screen where you can watch live how your breathing rate and thought pattern affects heart rate variability and nervous system function.  Some very simple techniques are then given to you help you balance nervous system function, allowing you to practice these techniques while being measured real time.  The visual feedback helps you enforce positive techniques as you watch the stress melt away.

In general, emotional stress and other emotions such as anger, frustration, and anxiety gives rise to heart rhythm patterns that are irregular and erratic: the HRV waveform looks like a series of uneven or jagged peaks. (see graph below).

 

In the graph above, the pattern is incoherent and we see that the signals produced by the two branches of the nervous system are out of sync. You can imagine driving a car with both feet on the brake and the accelerator at the same time. This cascades through the body with it not being able to function effectively, affecting nearly every system.

However, look at the graph of someone functioning in a coherent state. There is a smooth, harmonious wave indicating a synchronized function between the branches of the nervous system.  In this state, the body functions in its most efficient state.

Note: Don’t confuse coherence with relaxation! Coherence is increased harmony and synchronization in the nervous system and heart–brain connection.

Relaxation is a low energy state whereby the body is winding down its energy expenditure.  Coherence, in contrast has a higher awareness state creating an energized problem solving state that generates high mental acuity.

What people are saying:

I found the session very helpful. The fact that it gave instant VISUAL feed-back was very important to re-inforce a sense a affirmation and desire to persevere. The fact that one has also a very supportive person alongside I find very important. JK

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I was extremely stressed when Charmaine put my on the system to give me a demonstration of how it worked.  Within minutes of following the breathing pattern on the machine I managed to achieve coherence.  This had an immediate calming effect on my body.  In the days that have followed my stress levels have dropped dramatically and I feel totally different within myself.   – MC

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I now have full control over my heart rate variability which has given me enormous stress resilience.  I have been under extreme stress at work recently which had a very severe impact on my health. However, since doing the coherence training, I am so much more composed, focused and in control and my health has improved dramatically. I will never look back. – Dr. AB

Cost:

HRV Coherence 50 minutes £60.00

Booking:

Bookings can be made at the following URL:https://centre-for-holistic-health.cliniko.com/bookings or by email. You could also leave a message on 0131 220 8430.

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