Relaxing The Nervous System Naturally
The nervous system is actually made up of two different systems working together:
- The sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response, releases stress hormones that put the body on alert when under threat
- The parasympathetic nervous system is known as rest and digest. This system takes control when we are in a natural, relaxed state, and not faced with environmental threats or stressors.
The modern lifestyle is fast, hectic, and high-powered. When the sympathetic nervous system is in constant high gear, then the body spends too much time in a state of fight or flight. This can lead to all kinds of health and emotional issues, or even just a feeling of not quite being at your best. There are ways to relax the nervous system that dont involve medications or complicated interventions. Meditation, mindfulness, and biofeedback are all examples of things you can do on your own to switch your nervous system into parasympathetic mode, cope better with stress, and maintain a calmer state naturally.
The Effect Of Meditation On Regulation Ofheart Rate
*Corresponding author: Mohammad Karimi Moridani, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of health, Tehran MedicalSciences, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
Received: January 25, 2021 March 16, 2021
This study aimed to analyze the dynamics of heart rate before and during meditation to investigate the effect of meditation on heart rateregulation. For this purpose, heart rate signals from the Physiont database were used. Linear and nonlinear features were calculated in two data setsbefore and during meditation. The results show that the heart rate fluctuations decrease during meditation, and the heart rate rhythm becomes moreregular. In contrast, before meditation, the criteria for heart rate changes and heart rate fluctuations are high. Also, the result indicates a decrease inmean heart rate during meditation. It has been shown that the suggested features can be useful in evaluating the heart rate signal during meditation.
Meditation has been considered an adjunct therapy in managing psychiatric illnesses and maintainingmental health. As a result, the use of meditation can be very effective in preventing cardiovascular disease due to its positive effect on heart rhythmregulation and relaxation.
Keywords: Heart rate Meditation Regulation Detection Nonlinear features
The Effects of Meditation on Heart Rate Variability
The Effect of Meditation on Blood Pressure andCardiovascular Diseases
Why Meditation Can Help Improve Heart Health
There is a general consensus that reducing psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and anger or hostility can all be helpful in preventing heart disease and other chronic illnesses, says Sanford Nidich, a doctor of education and the director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health and a professor of physiology and health at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa.
Meditation practice may help reduce psychological distress by lowering the overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system, a prominent biomarker of distress, says Dr. Nidich, who wasnt involved in the current study.
When stress puts the sympathetic nervous system in overdrive, it triggers the bodys fight-or-flight response, leading to a surge in stress hormones and inflammatory chemicals in the body as well as spikes in blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption.
Reactivity to stressful stimuli creates a sequence of physiological changes in the body as well as in the mind that are counter to maintaining a good, balanced state of health, Nidich says.
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People Who Meditate Are Less Likely To Have A Heart Attack Or Stroke
Scientific studies at research institutes throughout the world have documented the countless benefits of meditationincluding heart health and a positive impact on heart rate variability. In June 2020, The American Journal of Cardiology found that meditation is associated with a lower prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and disease. This supports previous studies showing people who meditate are less likely to have a heart attack or strokesome studies show a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease by 88%!
Cardiologist Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a professor at Harvard Medical School, states can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.”
Meditation Can Lower And Regulate Your Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
The physiological effects of meditation include a reduction in stress hormones and adrenaline, improved breathing and blood flow to the brain, and improved melatonin regulation. Two more benefits, a reduced heart rate and lower blood pressure, have encouraged doctors to increasingly recommend meditation to improve heart health and decrease the risk of heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
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Listen To Your Heart Meditation Hrv Biofeedback Training
Heart rate variability is a strong indicator of how well your nervous system is responding to different sources of stress as they arise. If your heart rate variability is on the low side, then this means that your sympathetic nervous response is overactive. Training the mind to relax with meditation and mindfulness is a proven antidote to stress and many of its symptoms, including low heart rate variability.
Thats where HRV biofeedback training can really lower your stress levels and improve your wellbeing. With a good biofeedback device, it is easy to track heart rate variability, either with a therapist or on your own with a home biofeedback device. The instant visual and auditory feedback on heart rate variability is incredibly powerful, helping you to become aware of how your body is responding to stress in real-time.
Effects Of Hm On Respiratory Parameters
The respiratory frequency was significantly higher during meditation when compared with rest condition As illustrated on Figure 3, a significant positive linear relationship exists between the increase in the depth of meditation and the respiratory rate . As shown on Figure 4, respiratory amplitude was significantly lower during meditation b1 and b2 when compared to rest condition . Moreover, there is a weakly significant negative correlation between respiratory amplitude and the depth of meditation .
Figure 2. Means and SD Respiratory rythm at rest and during meditation . i*p = 0.02 **p< 105.
Figure 3. Linear correlation between respiratory rate and depth of mediation .
Figure 4. Breathing amplitude during meditation and and during control period of paced breathing . Amplitude are expressed as percent of rest condition. *p = 0.04 **p = 0.0006 ***p = 0.0005 ****p = 0.0002.
Figure 5. Linear correlation between respiratory amplitude and depth of meditation .
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Less Stress Less Cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone your adrenal gland produces when you’re overstressed and overwhelmed. The rush of cortisol that results kicks your fight-or-flight response into overdrive and accelerates your heart rate and blood pressure.
Multiple studies show that both meditation and music can lower your stress, reduce your cortisol levels and improve your heart healthand the benefits can be realized in near real-time. As an added side benefit, music boosts your serotonin and endorphin levels, which brightens your mood and improves your emotional health as well.
Meditation Mindfulness And Music For Heart Health
- Multiple studies show music, meditation and mindfulness can improve your hearts health.
- Practicing mindfulness or meditation for 10 minutes a day improves heart rate, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.
- Regular meditation lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Picture the scene. Music plays softly in the background. Your eyes are closed and your bodys relaxed. You clear your mind, breathe in deeply and feel the stress recede each time you exhale. Meditation and music are working their magic.
If youre one of the countless people who practices meditation, you know the power of mindfulness and its impact on your health. And anyone whos ever rolled down the car windows and cranked up the radio knows the power of music to lift your mood. Healthcare experts agree.
“When we’re stressed, our heart races and we tend to breathe more quickly. By taking longer, fuller breaths, we are able to calm our hearts and our minds and improve our focus and memory,” said Brenda Manfredi, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician at Providence.
Mastering the art of meditation and mindfulness takes a lot of patience and practice. There is scientific evidence behind the health benefits of investing in your inner-self.
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What Is Heart Rate Coherence And How Is It Affected By Heart Rate Variability
When your heart rate variability is high, this is known as heart rate coherence.
Heart rate coherence is important because it indicates that your heart is effectively adjusting its rhythms depending on the stress factor, an overall sign of emotional and physiological health.
The good news? The heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, it can be trained to develop good rate variability and coherence.
The best tool to train the heart is the mind.
When To See A Doctor
Most times, resting heart rate spikes are temporary and will normalize over time. In cases where the cause is one of the issues we touched on above, implementing the right lifestyle practices should have you back to a regular lower resting heart rate in no time.
However, in rare cases, your heart rate may spike and stay high for extended periods. In these cases, you should immediately consult with your doctor, as the heart rate variance could be a sign of a potentially dangerous underlying condition.
Note: You can measure your heart rate yourself using an electronic device like a FitBit, or by taking your pulse, counting the number of beats in 10 seconds, and multiplying by 6.
Depending on the severity of the issue, your doctor may recommend solutions like:
- Other lifestyle changes
- Vagal maneuvers
- Heart rate medications like beta-blockers
- Catheter ablation
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Guided Meditation For Heart Health
There is no single type of meditation that promotes heart health benefits. Instead, find the type of meditation that feels best for you and practice consistently. Here is a simple meditation from Harvard Health Publishing that you can try:
You can also explore other types of meditation such as:
- Mindful meditation
Movement practices, such as yoga and tai chi, can also be very meditative. Consistency is key in reaping the benefits of meditation. Harvard Health Publishing recommends meditating for at least five to 10 minutes each day to see results. Find a time that works for you and make your meditation a habit and part of your daily routine.
Don’t rely on meditation alone to support your heart health. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Incorporate other forms of relaxation into your routine to reduce stress levels such as time with friends, listening to music and practicing gratitude.
Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria
Each participant used to practice HM for 1-h on a daily basis for a minimum of 4 years. All subjects were no smokers and not suffering from chronic alcoholism. They had no history of respiratory, cardiac and neurologic diseases such as stroke, brain tumor, cerebral malformation, epilepsy, neurosurgical intervention, migraine, cranial trauma, depression, Parkinson disease, tone disorders. None of them had an implantable pacemaker. They were taking no psychotropic drugs or narcotic substances.
Participants were asked not to consume alcohol within 12 h, coffee/tea within 3 h, and could not practice sports during the 12 h before the experiment.
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Research Suggests A Regular Meditation Practice Could Protect Against Heart Disease Here’s How To Begin One
What’s good for the mind also tends to be good for the heart.
The mind-calming practice of meditation may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease, according to a scientific statement published in the Sept. 28, 2017, Journal of the American Heart Association.
Experts reviewed dozens of studies published over the past two decades and found that meditation may improve a host of factors linked with heart disease making it worth including in an overall program for ongoing heart care.
“Not only can meditation improve how your heart functions, but a regular practice can enhance your outlook on life and motivate you to maintain many heart-healthy behaviors, like following a proper diet, getting adequate sleep, and keeping up regular exercise,” says Dr. John Denninger, director of research at the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Highest And Lowest Heart Rates
The pattern of findings reported above also held true for the highest and lowest heart rates observed during epochs 1, 2, and 3. Specifically, increases in the highest heart rates occurred for conditions containing increasing doses of isoproterenol , in the absence of any group differences whatsoever. In the interest of brevity the relevant statistics have not been reported here, but rather, the reader is referred to Figure Figure33.
Highest and lowest heart rates for both groups during epoch 2. Highest heart rates observed during a 3 s period, averaged across each group . Lowest heart rates observed during a 3 s period, averaged across each group . For purposes of clarity, mean values are displayed without error bars, and the relaxation condition for the non-meditators is labeled as meditation.
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The American Heart Association Recommends Meditation
Still, the study results offer fresh evidence in support of 2017 guidelines from the American Heart Association that endorse meditation to help lower the risk of heart disease as long as people do it in addition to proven methods for boosting heart health like drugs to lower cholesterol or blood pressure and lifestyle changes like improved eating and exercise habits.
The AHA guidelines suggest that many common forms of meditation have heart benefits, including:
- Samatha Calming the mind through concentration on your breath, an object, or an image
- Vipassana Emphasizes awareness of breath and tuning in to air as it passes in and out of the nose
- Mindful meditation Techniques that create awareness through focused attention, observation, and acceptance of things without judgment
- Zen meditation Focus on awareness of breath and seated posture, with observation of thoughts and experiences in the mind and environment
- Raja yoga A combination of breathing techniques, mantras, and meditation focused on chakras
- Loving-kindness Sending kindness to yourself, to a friend or loved one, to a stranger or neutral person in your life, to someone who is difficult, and to the universe
- Transcendental Meditation Meditation based on a personalized mantra to help focus your mind inward
- Relaxation response Awareness through tracking breath or repetition of words or phrases, or prayer
Effects Of Hm On Hrv And Rhrv
A typical example of the effects of HM upon spectra of HRV for one subject is illustrated in Figure 1. HM caused a reduction of standard deviation of RR intervals , coefficient of variation of RR intervals , and total power .
Figure 1. HRV spectrum, residual HRV spectrum and the power law function of a representative participant. Top, before HM middle upper panels, middle of HM middle lower panels, last 2 min of HM bottom panels, imposed breathing after HM. In all stage of HM and after HM, the very low-frequency part of the rHRV is reduced, the low-frequency part of rHRV is reduced, while the high-frequency part of the rHRV is enhanced.
Table 1 shows that during deep meditation period b1, the SDRR, CVRR, and TP were significantly decreased as compared with those measures at rest a, and the LFP, nLFP, and nrLFP were significantly increased as compared with those measures during the control period c when the breathing rhythm was paced in accordance with the spontaneous rhythm. At the end of meditation b2, the LFP, rLFP, nLFP, nrLFP, LHR, and rLHR were increased, while the rVLFP, nHFP, and nrHFP were decreased, as compared to the corresponding HRV and rHRV measures in the control period of paced breathing c. During the control period of paced breathing c, the SDRR, CVRR, TP, LFP, rLFP, nLFP, nrLFP, LHR, and rLHR were decreased, while the nHFP and nrHFP were increased, as compared with the corresponding HRV and rHRV measures at rest a.
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Meditation And Heart Rate
Stress is a normal part of life, but it can wreak havoc on your physical health. Meditation helps to reduce stress, and the effect of meditation on the cardiovascular system has shown to have positive results.
Meditation has been found to have positive effects on heart rate and cardiovascular health.
Not At Risk Think Again
Contemporary society, by its nature, is stressful. The speed, the stimuli online and offline, diet and lifestyle, competing demands at home and work, expectations of what a happy life looks like, the increasing prevalence of anxiety and depression. And then there are the environmental toxins!
Each day the heart are under stress to varying degrees. A study in the Lancet showed a correlation between stress and an increased number of heart attacks. Stress not only impacts our mental health with anxiety and depression but on a major physical level too. Its important to note here that these mental and physical ailments can also become a source of stress in themselvesa vicious cycle starts. Stress reduction therefore is a vital key to a healthy heart and the prevention/management of cardiovascular risk factors.
Dozens of studies, including a recent Yale study, have shown that meditation can significantly reduce anxiety and depression. Meditation also has been shown to rapidly reduce stress hormoneseven in those new to the practicein some instances starting from the very first session.
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