Heart-rate variability (HRV), derived from the electrocardiogram (ECG), is a measurement of naturally occurring, beat-to-beat changes in heart rate.
Systems-oriented models propose that HRV is an important indicator of both physiological resiliency and behavioral flexibility, reflecting the individual’s capacity to adapt effectively to stress and environmental demands. It has become apparent that while a large degree of instability is detrimental to efficient physiological functioning, too little variation can also be pathological.
For centuries, the heart has been considered the source of emotion, courage and wisdom. Research shows that our emotions and breathing are constantly affecting our heart rhythms. Negative emotions lead to increased disorder in the heart’s rhythms and in the autonomic nervous system, thereby adversely affecting the rest of the body. In contrast, positive emotions create increased harmony and coherence in heart rhythms and improve balance in the nervous system. The health implications are easy to understand: Disharmony in the nervous system leads to inefficiency and increased stress on the heart and other organs while harmonious rhythms are more efficient and less stressful to the body’s systems.
HeartMath is a heart rate variability (HRV) feedback technology researched and invented by the Institute of HeartMath, that has broad-based applications in stress reduction, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement.