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Heart Rate Variability Training for Stress

For the last month I have been tracking and reducing stress with a device called Inner balance Sensor from Heart Math.The device cost $189, and is designed to help coach you to identify when your body switches into fight/flight mode, and to then help train you to get back into a parasympathetic mode.

The rhythm of your heart changes with every single beat. The variability between beats is a good indicator of your overall wellness and adaptability. A heart rate with less variability between beats suggests that the person is older, or suffering declining health.

Heart rate variability is a very important fundamental rhythm which reflects the resilience of our hearts battery pack. It's all about energy. If your heart rate variability is low, then you deplete your battery pack more quickly, than someone with higher variability.

If environmental pollutants, trauma, stress, disease etc have played a factor in your life, then your heart rate may have less variability. Low variability leaves you more prone to disease, faster aging, less fitness etc. Essentially it makes you less adaptable to the stresses of life.

Inner Balance App seeks to coach you towards achieving coherence, which is a state of high heart rate variability. When you are in coherence, you feel calmer, happier and your body can relax and repair. High coherence has been associated with many health benefits which you can read about by clicking on the Heart Math website linked above.

Take a look at the above pic, the one on the left is me in a higher coherence state with a beautiful, rhythmical heart rate. The one on the left is low coherence, and the heart beat itself looks erratic and stressed.

When I first started using this app, although i knew I was unwell, I expected to be quite good at attaining 'coherence.' Instead I found it very hard to get into coherence, even on the lowest setting. I had to try and calm my breathing, think happy thoughts and listen to calming music. I noticed that coherence was harder to achieve on days where lifestyle factors like sleep, stress, nutrition, hydration and movement were lacking. I was shocked that almost every single session started with low coherence, and it made me see that I was clearly spending the majority of my life in this fight/flight mode without realising it!

Many of you will know that I have been doing 2 Intravenous drips a week, for 5 weeks and working on fixing my gut and liver which have not been very happy! As my health has improved, so too has my heart rate coherence. After almost 2 months of use, I can now feel when my heart flips into panic mode or fight or flight. It's so interesting and powerful to know this information for day to day living, as a means to reduce stress. When my body hits sympathetic mode or fight/flight, I can feel a mild pain in my heart! Scary hey!

For anyone suffering from chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, illness or anyone wanting improved health, I would highly recommend this app. It has 4 levels of training, the ability to add personalised music and images, and a breathing pacer and tips to help you achieve coherence.

You can buy it here if you are interested in trying it for yourself.


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