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emWave/HeartMath for anxiety

emwave hrv anxiety

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#1 Stuart Hayward

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 04:34 PM


Does anyone have any views on emWave/HeartMath as a means of reducing stress and anxiety? 
https://www.bulletpr...te-variability/

 

I've read a lot of rave reviews about it, but I'm really struggling to understand how it works: the article (and other reviews I've read) suggest it can teach you to control your fight/flight response (which would be very helpful if true), but I don't really understand how measuring your heart rate variability (and telling you when it's highly variable) can teach you to consciously control your stress response. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated :) 



#2 Candidatus

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 06:45 PM

Been using it for 30min a day for the last 40 days so I hope I can give you some insight.

 

Basically, you can influence your HRV to some degree by breathing and positive thinking, but I can not seem to consistently improve the "coherence" or HRV quality score it gives me thus far. All I know is that post exercise, I get a much better score. After cold bath, I get a much worse score - no matter how "hard" I try breathing and thinking positively. So my guess would be that in order to combat anxiety, you would probably want to be monitored by the device for longer stretches, learn how to breath properly and be aware when anxiety "kicks in" so you can try to counteract with breathing/positive thinking and see if it has any influence.

 

For me, it's a great relaxation tool and a gauge of general stress, but I think that in my setting (training 30min a day), it doesn't have much anti anxiety benefits. But your experience might be different of course...


Edited by Candidatus, 08 December 2014 - 06:46 PM.


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#3 Stuart Hayward

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 09:08 PM

Been using it for 30min a day for the last 40 days so I hope I can give you some insight.

 

Basically, you can influence your HRV to some degree by breathing and positive thinking, but I can not seem to consistently improve the "coherence" or HRV quality score it gives me thus far. All I know is that post exercise, I get a much better score. After cold bath, I get a much worse score - no matter how "hard" I try breathing and thinking positively. So my guess would be that in order to combat anxiety, you would probably want to be monitored by the device for longer stretches, learn how to breath properly and be aware when anxiety "kicks in" so you can try to counteract with breathing/positive thinking and see if it has any influence.

 

For me, it's a great relaxation tool and a gauge of general stress, but I think that in my setting (training 30min a day), it doesn't have much anti anxiety benefits. But your experience might be different of course...

 

Thankyou, Candidatus! I was originally going to post this question on your thread, but I figured I'd probably already bothered you enough with questions!

On a separate note, I recall you saying on your blog about your interest in the Muse Headband for meditation - do you really think these headbands provide much extra benefit compared to just mindfulness meditation alone? 



#4 Candidatus

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 06:25 AM

As always, it depends. I think that for very experienced meditators, it wouldn't make much difference but for the rest of us, I learned that feedback is crucial in self improvement, especially when brain/mind is involved.

Based on the reviews, Muse seems to be the winner right now. It seems to be accurate for what it claims to do and also hassle free. My only problem is that you can run the session for max. 20min (they could have made an update in the last couple of days though). If this is true, it wouldn't help you much beyond what emWave offers. I honestly think you need not only actual training but also long(er) term monitoring and analyzing in order to deal with anxiety.

Other thing to consider is this: although being in meditative state does not necessarily correlate with high HRV coherence, I'm not sure if Muse can actually measure the "quality" of meditation. And it's $300 so I would only recommend it if that's no real money for you and if you could use some feedback during meditation (you are easily distracted and so on).

Personally, I think that normal eeg neurofeedback (not consumer headset) is superior to both of these options, but so is the price.

If I were you, I would try to find a cheap app which measures HRV with HR chest strap (if you own one) and try to achieve a smooth sine waves with large amplitudes - thats generally a high coherence score in emWave. You'll see for yourself if it helps and then you can decide if emWave could help you further. As for Muse, it's up to you to determine if you can use some assistance in your meditation and how much is it worth it. Also, I would certainly look at neurofeedback and anxiety.

#5 Stuart Hayward

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 11:21 PM

Thankyou very much for the in-depth response, Candidatus! I very much appreciate it :) 



#6 perception is projection

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 12:45 AM

I did not read much of either of your guys' posts.

 

That being said I own the program, and I meditate often.

 

Meditation is extremely powerful. Much more so than 95% of nootropics.

 

The program can help you increase you meditation/concentration skill for newbies, but like anything else, meditation is a practice that takes time to get good at. That being said, spending your time meditating in any fashion is what counts. It doesn't really matter if it with a fancy program or not. Though th emwave is niffty(i got caught up into the marketing bullshit, like we all do), if you can create the habit of meditating for 20 min in the morning and night, that will improve anxiety once you have the meditation muscle built up. At first it will suck and feel like you are getting nothing out of those 20 minutes(probably much like working out is for people just starting out.) But over time that skill increases (its very subtle). 

 

With that skill set you will always have a  handle on your anxiety and emotional nature to an extent.

 

I heard the emwave in 6 months can get you up to the level of a daily meditation practitioner of 2 years. (I heard this from someone who was a meditation advocate and uses the emwave with clients. She strictly worked with drug addicts(the most anxious, neurotic, insecure folks there is when they don't have their drugs.)

 

 

essentially, if you are not rich, save your money. Buy a book or two on meditation and start the practice. Emwave won't matter shit if you don't practice meditation.

 

 

 



#7 Stuart Hayward

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 08:16 PM

Thankyou, perception! 

I think I'm just going to stick to basic mindfulness meditation for a few months and see how it goes.



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#8 airplanepeanuts

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 08:09 PM

I bought the Heartmath Inner Balance device recently. It really helps with nervous system issues. The training is super simple. As Candidatus wrote the score varies a lot from session to session, but you learn to improve on the particular baseline.







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