Wednesday 29 October 2014 |

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Stress, Health and Performance Heart Rate Variability Training

Improving and sustaining physical and emotional health, well-being and performance

Introducing Heart Rate Variability Training & Emotional Management

The new easy-to-learn approach is based on positive psychology, the relationship between the nervous system and the heart, and chronomedicine. Chronomedicine studies the connection between body rhythms, performance, health, ageing and longevity. 



What is Heart Rate Variability? 

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the degree to which the heart speeds up or slows down: the greater the variability, the healthier the heart. Measuring HRV - the changing intervals between two heartbeats - gives an accurate picture of the body's ability to recover from stress and strain. It reveals the impact of lifestyle and emotions on our general health.

As we grow older HRV reduces naturally, indicating the biological age of our body. HRV reduces further with ill health or long-term stress. A low level of HRV indicates that an individual is at risk of developing a serious illness or is ageing prematurely.

Research shows that HRV levels can predict future ill-health, as well as the likelihood of sudden death due to cardiac or other causes. Using techniques based on chronomedicine the early onset of severe illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or cancer can be detected from changes in our biological rhythms.

Advances in our understanding of HRV and chronic disease give us valuable new methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating severe long-term conditions.

If we can maintain our HRV at a high level, this will benefit our health and performance. It will significantly enhance brain functions such as concentration, focus, memory, flexibility of response, intuitive insight, judgment and decision making.


What is HRV Training?

Exercises that unlock the health-sustaining and health-creating power of increased and coherent (regular and ordered) HRV include:

• Focusing on the regulation of breath

• The creation and sustaining of positive emotions such as inner calmness, appreciation and confidence

Focusing simultaneously on positive emotions, the heart and specific balanced breathing techniques leads to improved physical and emotional health in the short and long term. It keeps the body and mind in a youthful state which may prevent the development of severe chronic disease. These techniques can also help manage the impact of stress and enhance performance by improving the way the brain, heart and metabolism interact. 



Influence of Emotions on Heart Rate Variability

Benefits of HRV Training:

  • Improving and sustaining health, well-being and performance
  • Aiding recovery after serious illness
  • Enhancing vitality and longevity
  • Prevention and treatment of burnout
  • Prevention and treatment of stress-related conditions 

Conditions that can be treated with HRV Training include:

  • Stress
  • Stress-related conditions
  • Chronic insomnia 
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Recurrent infections
  • Immune deficiency (and cancer support)
  • Functional Heart Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

What is the HeartSpheres approach?

The HeartSpheres approach offers a number of techniques and helps to achieve this state of coherence and enhanced HRV.
These include the Heart Breathing Technique and the Problem Solving Exercise which reduce the inhibiting impact of anxiety and improve cooperation between the nervous system and the heart. The techniques are easy to learn and to practise within a busy and demanding life style and an improvement in general well-being is usually experienced after a few days.
Advanced techniques such as inner dialogue, review, mental rehearsing and intuitive conversation can address deeper issues and enhance the psychological capacity to deal effectively with extreme strain and challenging life situations and life crises.

Depending on the nature and the complexity of the condition, HRV Training takes between 2 and 8 sessions, spread over several weeks. Aids to help with these exercises include: a Breath Pacing CD; a book by Dr. Peter Gruenewald, MD that explains the exercises and their effect in detail entitled 'The Quiet Heart. Putting Stress in its Place"; and an HRV biofeedback and health tracking device that can be operated on a PC or laptop.




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Diagnosing your state of health

For further details on diagnosing and improving your state of health, reducing your risk of developing chronic illness and sustaining good performance, please refer to the leaflet "Chronomedical Assessment".

Other ways of improving HRV

HRV training can be supplemented and supported by a number of other medical interventions specifically designed to improve Heart Rate Variability and coherence, autonomic nervous system balance, parasympathetic reserve and vitality. These include minor lifestyle changes, healthy physical exercise, improved diet, food state supplements and herbal remedies.

The techniques referred to are:

Food state supplements, anthroposophic medicine, homoeopathy and phytotherapy (herbal remedies)

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