One of my favorite health optimization products that I recommend to my patients is Heartmath . It’s an evidence-based heart rate variability biofeedback app that helps you control your physiology by breathing slowly and deeply to visual cues. I use this at home and have many friends and colleagues that have relied on this tool to optimize their response to stress: from day-to-day challenges to greater stressors, such as the current crisis we are in with Covid-19.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heart beats – i.e., it is normal that there are slight, “healthy” irregularities in the heart beat (this does not include dangerous arrhythmias – major irregularities in the heartbeat that can be serious and even life threatening). Our autonomic nervous system, composed of our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems regulates many processes in our body crucial to our survival, including our cardiovascular system, our breathing and our digestion. When we are under stress, our sympathetic nervous system takes the lead, and we have an elevated heart rate, we breathe rapidly and are ready for “fight or flight”. When we are in a calm state, our parasympathetic nervous system takes charge and our heart rate is slower, there is likely greater heart rate variability, breathing is slower and deeper, and emphasis is placed on digestion. A good heart rate variability is an indicator that our parasympathetic nervous system is taking the lead. This is not only good for the health of our body, but also for the health of our mind.
The Heartmath tool helps to optimize cognitive, emotional and physiological health, and its effects are far more potent than merely relaxing. If practiced regularly, this tool can help generate more focus, increase energy, diminish feelings of anxiety and improve sleep. It has also been shown to reduce depressed mood. It supports a state of “coherence” where good decision-making, problem-solving, calmness and responsiveness (rather than reactivity), come more easily.
I use this tool myself, as do many of my patients, and have experienced and witnessed the remarkable results that are possible! From starting the days with more ease after doing Heartmath for just 5 minutes, to transitioning from a storm of anxious thoughts to calm, to, promoting a healthy, positive, productive mindset and a calm focus.
How to get HeartMath/InnerBalance:
- Download Inner Balance App (free app that enables use of HeartMath)
- Purchase Inner Balance Sensor
Now I’d love to hear from you! Have you or someone you know ever used Heartmath? If so, what was your experience and what did you notice after consistent use?
To your heart rate variability + calm state,