EMP 844   B. Rubik   3 credits
Heart Rate Variability in Research and Clinical Practice  


Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the marker of the heart's response to the autonomic nervous system activity. It measures the range of heart rate across different phases of the breathing cycle (inhalation and exhalation). When properly interpreted in the context of respiratory and cardiac challenges, it serves as an indicator of heart health as well as the ”tone” of the sympathetic and parasympathic nervous systems. As monitored noninvasively through a finger pulse, it can reveal information about psychophysiological stability and/or distress in response to various external and internal stimuli, with implications for treatment strategies in energy medicine and other holistic interventions. Recently it has gained popularity in the clinic as well as in research. HRV is affected by many factors including breathing behavior, nutrition, obesity, circadian rhythms, hormones, certain pharmaceutical drugs, and many chronic diseases. Conditions and disorders such as diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, cancer, depression, chronic anxiety, and cardiovascular disease greatly narrow the dynamic spectrum of heart function, which is readily seen in HRV parameters. On the other hand, holistic interventions, including biofeedback and relaxation exercises, respiratory training, qigong, other mind-body therapies, and biofield therapies have been shown to improve HRV parameters. Consequently, HRV may become a new vital sign in medicine and especially in holistic care. Acceleration photophethysmography (APG), which uses the same device as HRV, along with other software and parametrics, and CapnoBreath training, which integrates heart rate and respiratory monitoring with real-time software analysis, will also be discussed. APG is an indirect measure of arterial elasticity and vasodilation. NOTE: This course requires eight classroom hours of experience using the Medicore SA-3000p HRV/APG equipment and the CapnoBreath device at the Institute for Frontier Science laboratory in Emeryville, CA, or similar equipment that may be available to the student elsewhere.

Note: Additional cost of laboratory fee.

Objectives/Key Questions


SDNN (standard deviation node-to-node); Fourier spectrum analysis of HRV; the breath and pranayama in HRV; mind-body modalities and their effect on HRV; energy medicine interventions and their effect on HRV; HRV in psychophysiological research; systematic evaluation of HRV and some pitfalls in measurement; comparisons of HRV devices and their software; HRV, the FDA, and Medicare; HRV as a new vital sign in the clinic; specific and nonspecific effects on HRV; the autonomic nervous system and physiological regulation; stressors and distress; HRV biofeedback; parasympathetic and sympathetic exercises; APG as a measure of biological age; effects of various holistic lifestyle choices and interventions on HRV and APG.


back to top

close window


Course Description
Home  Contact  Sitemap  FAQs
Download the
Energy Medicine
University School Catalog

[1.2 mb PDF]


vertical rule
close window