Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the beat-to-beat variations in heart rate or pulse which occur normally during all levels of activity, from sleeping to sitting still or moving. HRV is closely tied to a person's emotional state, and with biofeedback it can be used as a treatment option for a variety of emotional and cognitive conditions, including anxiety and depression.
HRV patterns are different from heart rate patterns, and are much more significant for emotional based therapy. When we are in a constant state of stress, anxiety, anger or sadness our heart rate tends to be lower and more disorganized. In contrast, when we are in an emotionally stable state our heart rate reflects this by being more rhythmical.
Using a computerized analysis of heart and respiratory rate information, it is possible to measure the rate of variability and to then use this information to create a more stable emotional state.
The conditions best addressed by HRV Biofeedback include: