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Cardiac coherence and all its benefits


Cardiac coherence and all its benefits

AToday, I would like to talk about cardiac coherence, a breathing technique that has many benefits for our physical, mental and emotional health.

Did you know that in our body, respiratory and cardiac functions are connected?I

n fact, heart rate variability is linked to the breath: heart rate increases during inspiration and decreases during expiration.

Cardiac coherence aims to restore balance between its 2 frequencies through breathing exercises.


So, first of all, let’s talk a little about biology, to understand how our nervous system works.


The nervous system

The nervous system is divided into two parts:

-The central nervous system, located in the brain and spinal cord

-The peripheral nervous system in the rest of the body.

This one is also divided into 2:

-The somatic nervous system, responsible for voluntary actions: raising your arms, walking, speaking, etc.

-The autonomic system which manages the involuntary actions of the body: breathing, digestion, etc.


The autonomous nervous system is, again, divided into two subsystems: - The sympathetic nervous system which prepares the body for intense activity and the fight or flight response. - The parasympathetic nervous system which conserves energy, promotes and regulates the state of rest, relaxation, repair and digestion.

Health is the state of balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.

In addition, as seen above, breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system: inhalation stimulates the sympathetic system and exhalation stimulates the parasympathetic system.

Cardiac coherence balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems to promote Health.

 

What is cardiac coherence? According to Dr O'Hare, author of 'Heart coherence 365: A guide to long lasting heart coherence’, cardiac coherence can be defined as "a state of balance between the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system". The goal of a cardiac coherence breathing exercise is to breathe 6 times per minute, 5 seconds for inspiration, 5 seconds for exhalation.

This enables the heart rate variability to be synchronized with the breath (naturally the heart beats faster during inspiration than during expiration).

However, cardiac coherence is not a natural breathing because “in general when we are in resting-state, we breathe 12 to 15 times per minute ». 6 breaths per minute means a respiratory rate of 0.1 Hertz, a resonance frequency which creates a set of beneficial biorhythms and therefore brings many positive effects on our health and our body.

 

The benefits of cardiac coherence There are many  positive effects of cardiac coherence, both short and long term:

-Sensation of calm and reduction of the feeling of stress, felt immediately

-Increase in DHEA, hormone that slows cellular aging

-Reduction in blood and salivary cortisol, hormone secreted in states of stress-Increase in immunoglobulin A used for the body's immune defense

-Increased secretion of oxytocin, the love hormone which makes us to feel pleasure in being in the presence of other people

-Increased alpha waves which help with memorization, learning and communication

-Favorable actions on many neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which help reduce anxiety and depression

-Increase in atrial natriuretic factor, hormone secreted by the heart and which acts on high blood pressure.


But how to apply cardiac coherence in daily life?

In practice, the 365 method is one of the simple and easiest exercises whixh is ideal for practicing cardiac coherence every day and having all its benefits. -3: It is recommended to practice 3 times a day because the effects of the exercise last 3 to 6 hours. An average duration of 4 hours between each practice is optimal. -6: 6 breaths per minute. An inhalation of 5 seconds, followed by an exhalation of 5 seconds. You can also take a break at the end of inspiration, short retention of air with full lungs.Take a slow, full abdominal breath. -5: Do the exercise for 5 minutes straight.

It is recommended to do this exercise in a seated position with your back straight. Avoid practicing while lying down because cardiac coherence does not work well in this position for anatomical and physiological reasons.

It is also possible to add a positive visualization such as a calm place where you feel good.

 

3, 6, 5… Here we go!



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