WHAT IS HRV BIOFEEDBACK?
HRV biofeedback is a non-invasive intervention that utilizes operant conditioning principles to help individuals actively regulate their autonomic arousal. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a phenomenon that demonstrates the flexibility and health of the nervous system and is measured by the time interval between heart beats. The more flexible the cardiac and nervous systems are, the larger the variability between heart beats is and the more adaptive the body is to change.
HRV Biofeedback uses sensors on the fingertip or earlobe to measure HRV and displays this information using visual and auditory cues. By seeing and hearing information about a physiological phenomenon such as HRV, an individual can actually learn to make changes in their cardiac function, therefore strengthening their nervous systems. This mechanism of action is similar to other forms of learning: the more the brain is rewarded, through visual and auditory information about the body, the more flexible and regulated the nervous sytem becomes. Through repetition of this training, the body can learn to increase heart rate variability and over time improve the overall health of the nervous system. Research shows that HRV training can be helpful in reducing symptoms of PTSD and depression, among other conditions.