With the launch of our newest wellness tracker Ivy, we decided to dive into its newest feature and talk more about what cardiac coherence is and how it can help you achieve overall wellness.
What is cardiac coherence?
Cardiac coherence is a rhythmic or coherent heart rate variability (HRV) that balances the nervous system (associated with stress) and emotional state.
Scientists use the term Coherence to describe a highly productive physiological condition in which the nervous, cardiovascular, hormonal, and immune systems function effectively and harmoniously. It is the highest level of efficiency in which all of our bodies operate.
In physiological terms, coherence describes the degree to which respiration and heart rate oscillate at the same frequency.
It is a harmonious state in which our heart, mind, and body are united. We feel connected, often to our deepest selves, to others, and to life itself. When our breathing and heart rhythms are entrained and work at the same tempo, heart coherence happens.
What does cardiac coherence mean to me?
When faced with stressful situations, our body naturally reacts to them. This reaction is individual, but shares similarities from one person to another. These stressful situations can result in high vigilance and over-sensitivity to environmental signals which are reflected in inappropriate emotional responses and autonomic nervous system dynamics.
Our research indicates positive feelings have a powerful physiological effect, pushing us to perform better.
– Harvard business review
As you may have noticed, your heart rate speeds up when you are in a situation of panic. So it’s evident that our heart reacts to how we feel. We now know, however, that our heart’s rhythmic activity will directly influence how we feel. It sends signals to our brain and, at a specific moment, plays a key role in determining the nature of our emotional experience.
The importance of brain-heart connection
When we experience negative emotions, the rhythmic patterns of our heartbeat will change, signaling the brain that something is happening, and your brain will mirror these changes. This will, in turn, strengthen the negative emotional experience. The chemicals released into our bodies depend on the quality of the emotional signal sent to the brain from the heart. In a situation of big stress, the brain will respond by releasing hormones like cortisol which can turn to be harmful to our health if it is produced in excess.
This shift in the heart rhythm, in turn, plays an important role in facilitating higher cognitive functions, creating emotional stability, and facilitating states of calm.
According to research conducted by Frontiers in Psychology, coherence training consisting of intentional activation of positive and calming emotions (such as meditation) paired with HRV coherence feedback facilitates significant improvements in wellness and well-being.
How can you use Ivy to improve your health?
By learning about cardiac coherence, you’ll be able to take action and counter negative stress symptoms that can easily overwhelm you.
With Ivy, feeling better is simple.
Ivy takes the measurements on-demand and throughout the day to determine your stress resistance, guiding you to take a break when you need it the most. By choosing one of our guided meditations aimed at de-stressing, relaxing, or focusing, you’ll be able to lower your heart rate and synchronize it with your breathing, making a positive impact on your overall health.
The sole act of focusing your attention on breathing actually produces a specific, physiologically calming effect.
That’s because the heart—the most powerful organ in the body, whose rhythms affect the functioning of all others—sends far more information to the brain than vice versa.
With Ivy, you’ll be able to see a visual representation of your fitness readiness that takes into account your body’s natural bio-response—cardiac coherence, sleep quality as well as activity levels, preparing you for the day ahead!