HRV

Entering the world of brain biofeedback or neurofeedback is like entering a world of strange words and alien ideas. My Brain Injury, Brain Training portfolio contains documents on the terms I use in my posts. Here, I explain briefly HRV.

Heart rate variability or HRV is a measure of heart health. It’s way more complicated than what I can understand or explain, but basically, the more the heart is in sync with your breathing, the better. HRV is a measure of that. (Wikipedia) Pink in the image shows the rise and fall of your heart rate; the blue shows your inhalations going up and exhalations going down.

Heart rate variability
Heart rate variability

HRV training is a way to both train your deep breathing skill and to induce relaxation. The ADD Centre begins each brainwave training session with HRV to relax the client. HRV training also helps to improve your heart health, I believe. The HRV amplitudes, as seen in the bars at the bottom centre of the image show you how you’re doing as well. You want the purple or middle bar to be the highest. The yellow bar indicates sympathetic activity (flight or flight) and the green, parasympathetic (laid back). The image above is what a good HRV should approximate, but mine is usually terrible. My breathing is “perfect,” as the trainers tell me, but my heart has a hard time getting in sync, as shown in the image below. It is, though, a whole lot better than it was when we first began HRV training.

HRV Week of 10 August 2015 Shireen Jeejeebhoy