Heart rate variability biofeedback: how and why does it work?

Bekrefter alle elementer jeg jobber med i Autonom pust: vagus, betennelse, m.m.


In recent years there has been substantial support for heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB) as a treatment for a variety of disorders and for performance enhancement (Gevirtz, 2013). Since conditions as widely varied as asthma and depression seem to respond to this form of cardiorespiratory feedback training, the issue of possible mechanisms becomes more salient. The most supported possible mechanism is the strengthening of homeostasis in the baroreceptor (Vaschillo et al., 2002Lehrer et al., 2003). Recently, the effect on the vagal afferent pathway to the frontal cortical areas has been proposed. In this article, we review these and other possible mechanisms that might explain the positive effects of HRVB.


It is known that the vagal system interacts closely with the inflammatory system, such that increases in vagus nerve traffic (usually produced by electrical vagal stimulation) are associated with decreases in serum levels of various inflammatory cytokines (Borovikova et al., 2000Tracey, 2002). One study did find a decrease in C-reactive proteins among hypertensive patients treated with HRV biofeedback (Nolan et al., 2012). In another study, we experimentally exposed healthy subjects to an inflammatory cytokine, lipopolysaccharide (Lehrer et al., 2010). Usually both sympathetic and parasympathetic activity is blocked by lipopolysaccharide. Although no biofeedback-induced decreases in inflammatory cytokines were found, the autonomic effects of inflammation were greatly modulated, indicating that a greater resiliency was preserved among individuals given HRV biofeedback.

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