WHAT IS HRV?
There are many types of Biofeedback, and the main modality we use at our clinic is called Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is a Biofeedback training modality that studies various component heart rhythms and influences that contribute to the overall phenomenon of heart rate. High variability of time in-between heart contractions is a marker of better health and adaptive capacity in Humans. Since individuals can train to improve their variability, the primary purpose of training is restoring Autonomic Homeostasis. Disorders such as anxiety, asthma, functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID), cardiovascular disorders (POTS), fibromyalgia (FM), hypertension and chronic muscle pain respond to HRV in a manner that helps improve autonomic regulation.
Variability in HRV means changes in the interval or distance between one beat of the heart and the next. The interbeat interval
(IBI) is the time between one R-wave (or heartbeat) and the next, in milliseconds. The IBI is highly variable within any given
time period. Multiple biological rhythms overlay one another to produce the resultant pattern of variability. Interbeat interval
variations, or heart rate variability, have relevance for physical, emotional, and mental function. Higher heart rate variability
indicates optimal cooperation between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This allows the client to
acquire three basic skills: 1) relax physically and emotionally, 2) reduce anxious thoughts and negative emotions, and 3) engage in smooth full diaphragmatic breathing.
According to a report from Naras Bhat (1999), when a person engages in a heartfelt emotion such as altruism, the HRV
becomes more orderly and synchronizes with breathing. In the spectral analysis displayed below, the FFT consolidates into a
single peak at about 0.1 Hz. and synchronizes with breathing.