Heart rate variability (HRV), is the natural rise and fall of your heart rate in response to the current state of your system (body-mind-emotions). As a matter of fact HRV is directly influenced by your breathing, blood pressure, hormones, emotions and thoughts. For example in a healthy heart the rate should increase as you inhale and decrease as you exhale (this phenomenon is also called Respiratory Sinus Arhythmia or RSA in Medical Jargon). In a nutshell HRV is a very reliable mirror of the general wellness state of the organism.

Generally a low HRV, or a high and chaotic/incoherent HRV, are indicative of an unbalanced autonomic nervous system (ANS). If it is a chronic state, it may be considered as an early and friendly health warning signs to take care of that as soon as possible, or it may already reflect an existing serious health condition.

A healthy state is generally associated with a high and regular/coherent HRV.

One situation where HRV is close to zero, is just after a heart transplant, a situation that can hardly be considered as an healthy one.

On the other extreme, HRV can become extremely high and completely chaotic just prior to a heart attack (HRV is actually used clinically by Doctors as a prognostic tool for future heart failures in patients with serious heart conditions).

As showed on this HRV recording, the heart rate fluctuates all the time, and the way it changes reflects the state of stress or relaxation of the body in real time.

Slow down your breathing and synchronise your breath pattern with your heart rate

HRV biofeedback training is a very easy and effective way to teach anyone how to go into a deep relaxation state by using simple body-mind awareness techniques. One of the most powerful way is to slow down your breathing and to synchronise your breath pattern as much as possible with your heart rate fluctuation. It can takes from a few weeks to a few months of practice depending on your initial state and your learning curve, but as a result HRV Biofeedback Training can achieve naturally in a couple of weeks or months at the most, what could have taken up to several years by other means.

Here is an example of a 3 minute HRV recording – the Heart Rate is expressed in BPM (Beats per minute).

HRV diagram

Basically you will be retrained to breath in a natural healthy way, meaning breathing in when your heart rate accelerate, and breathing out when your heart rate slow down. When your breath and your heart works perfectly in harmony, you are in a state of deep relaxation and any healing process in your body will actually occur faster.