Heart Rate Variability
Biofeedback training yields various results depending on the exercises used. One type of biofeedback training, operant conditioning, and feedback learning is cardiorespiratory feedback training. The intervention of the cardiorespiratory feedback involves heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB). Low heart rate variability indicates cardiovascular issues. The HRVB results from the “short-term autonomic regulation by the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the vagus nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)” (Fournié et al., 2021). Various techniques are applied to accelerate heart rate variability, including baroreflex control, vagal nerve stimulation, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA).
One strategy used to increase heart rate variability is the use of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). RSA influences the gas exchange rate in the alveoli, whereby a high heart rate indicates the lung’s high oxygen concentration, stimulated by breathing exercises (Lehrer & Gevirtz, 2014). Accordingly, it increases heart rate variability during inhalation, lowering it during exhalation (Fournié et al., 2021). The second strategy involves the use of baroreflex control; baroreflex is a reflex that modulates blood pressure using sensors of blood pressure in the carotid artery and aorta, stimulated using breathing exercises (Lehrer & Gevirtz, 2014). Accordingly, heart rate variability increases when blood pressure decreases (Fournié et al., 2021). The third strategy involves the stimulation of the vagal nerve, stimulated using electrical devices that affect the afferent pathways. Stimulation of the vagal afferent pathway stimulates the vagal nerve, thereby increasing heart rate variability.
Other techniques are also applied in HRVB. These techniques include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for neuropsychological issues (Eddie et al., 2015), which involves the use of various techniques such as relaxation through breathing exercises and meditation. Accordingly, various strategies are applied in HRVB for various reasons, including increasing heart rate variability.
Eddie, D., Vaschillo, E., Vaschillo, B., & Lehrer, P. (2015). Heart rate variability biofeedback: Theoretical basis, delivery, and its potential for the treatment of substance use disorders. Addiction Research & Theory, 23(4), 266-272. https://doi.org/10.3109/16066359.2015.1011625
Fournié, C., Chouchou, F., Dalleau, G., Caderby, T., Cabrera, Q., & Verkindt, C. (2021). Heart rate variability biofeedback in chronic disease management: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies In Medicine, 60, 102750. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102750
Lehrer, P., & Gevirtz, R. (2014). Heart rate variability biofeedback: how and why does it work? Frontiers In Psychology, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00756
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Discuss three strategies to increase heart rate variability and their rationale for use. Support your answer
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