Heart coherence is a simple respiration technique with multiple health benefits. Initially used to help relieve stress and anxiety, heart coherence improves concentration, learning and sleep. It’s the perfect combination to help you get back into the swing of things after the long summer break, and get your body and mind into step.
Who is it for?
Children and adults alike, and even animals; heart coherence can be practised by anyone. There's no need for any equipment, just 15 minutes per day is enough to make you feel better.
How to practice heart coherence?
Brought to light in France by Dr. David Servan Schreiber, heart coherence is preferably practised sitting down in a quiet place. To get the best results, heart coherence is advised before eating, to allow your digestive functions to rest.
The 365 technique
For a long-lasting, protective effect, 3 sessions per day are recommended.
Simply slow down your breathing: 6 seconds breathing in, followed by 6 seconds breathing out.
- 6 breathing cycles per minute, for 5 minutes in total.Heart coherence is not a spontaneous physiological state, hence the difficulty lies in slowing down your breathing and heart rate at the start. The more you practice this exercise, the more your body will get used to the tempo and attune to your vital functions.
Heart coherence is not only beneficial psychologically and mentally, but also physiologically-speaking.
Breathing in mobilises the necessary energy required, your heart rate speeds up, your arteries and veins contract, your lungs relax and your pupils dilate.
When you breathe out, the opposite happens: the heart rate slows down, the arteries dilate, your lungs and pupils contract.
Thus, during these two phases your body relaxes and repairs itself. By balancing your breathing, you balance your whole body.
Here's a non-exhaustive list of the expected benefits:
Psychological and mental benefits:
- Reduces stress
- Increases energy and resilience
- Greater mental clarity and better decision making
- Feeling of distancing oneself and letting go
- Increases intellectual and creative abilities
- Increases emotional stability
- Improves listening skills, a quality of presence.
- Reduces Cortisol (stress hormone)
- Increases DHEA levels (the hormone of youth)
- Reduces cholesterol and blood pressure levels (preventing cardiovascular disease risk)
- Improves diabetes management and reduces complications
- Better weight management
- Increases Alpha waves (learning, memory recall).
Help to embrace heart coherence
With the help of a stopwatch or wristwatch, you can record your breathing, so you reach the 6 cycles per minute. Use a pen and piece of paper to draw waves and follow your own breathing pattern. Breathe in corresponding to the rising wave and breathe out corresponding to the falling wave and so on...
You'll also find applications for mastering this technique on your mobile phone. Using sound and/or visual effects, these applications will guide you through the session.
To delve deeper into the topic, there is plenty of material on the heart coherence technique and it is available in bookshops and libraries.
When it's time to pick up your routine again and to make resolutions, add heart coherence to your To-do list!
Anyone can do it, and it can only have a positive effect on your well-being.