Novel Application Helps Reduce Stress With Slow Breathing
A recent application called MyCalmBeat may help cut stress and improve mental concentration by helping people breathe slowly. The application employs a heart rate monitor which spots a person’s most favorable breathing rate. The user can then improve the heart rate to reduce stress levels.
“Normally people think of 65 beats per minute as a good resting heart rate. But we’re not necessarily looking at heart rate. We’re looking at the degree to which the space between consecutive heart beats varies. We know that for most people their resonant frequency is between 7.5 and 4.5 breaths per minute. The software maps your heart rate variability through each of those rates to find the breathing rate where it becomes maximized,” researchers said.
“It is widely known that slow, deep breathing is one of the best ways to decrease stress, but not many people know why it works or specifically how to train to receive the benefit,” said Evian Gordon, Ph.D., MBBCh., chairman and chief executive of Brain Resource. “MyCalmBeat provides a personalized way for you to train at a slow breathing rate that’s best for you. At the same time it provides real time physiological feedback from your heart rate variability to help you observe and monitor improvements in your ability to manage stress.”
Using a small ear clip, the monitor tracks an individual’s heart rate variability as he or she participates in slow breathing exercises. The monitor first calculates the one best breathing rate where heart rate is most variable and you are likely to feel most calm. High heart rate variability has been correlated with an increased ability to manage stress, improved cognitive performance and an ability to better self-regulate behavior. Once a personal best-breathing rate is determined, MyCalmBeat provides apps to train at that best breathing rate to improve calmness and reduce stress. Apps are available on the desktop, the web (MyBrainSolutions.com) and on smartphones (iPhone, Android and BlackBerry). The monitor then allows users to objectively track improvements in heart rate variability.