HeartMath technologies may provide effective, non-medicinal treatment for stress
Thursday, 17 March 2011 16:00effects of stress and how gaining a coherent heart beat may be the solution for those under daily pressure.
Stress can be as bad for the heart as factors like smoking and out-of-control cholesterol, Lawson said. It can accelerate the aging process and promote inflammation, which has been shown to lead to a number of diseases, including cancer.
The author compiled research on the physical effects of stress and revealed that it increases risk of cardiovascular disease fivefold, doubles the chances of diabetes onset in men and may even cause dementia and breast cancer.
Additionally, a survey conducted by nutrition expert Patrick Holford suggests that the majority of people feel powerless over their stress, have frequent feelings of anxiety or tension and easily become impatient or angry.
"Stress has become so common in our society that it’s easy to forget its symptoms are our body’s way of warning us that something is out of balance," Lawson wrote.
She said chronic stress taxes the body's emergency coping mechanism, which is not meant to be stimulated on a daily basis. Those who are at risk of desensitizing their built-in survival tool will often feel distracted, negative, anxious, tense, irritated, overwhelmed and worried.
These emotions may cause an imbalance in heartbeat, leading it to beat erratically and irregularly.
"Just as your emotions influence the behaviour of your heart, the action of your heart communicates with your brain and the rest of your body," she said.
HeartMath researchers have found that when individuals are in touch with their heartbeat, their thinking becomes clearer and they are better able to solve problems and complete tasks. By regularly focusing on the heartbeat and achieving the calming benefits, the body will release less of the stress hormone cortisol. Many serious diseases are linked to high levels of this hormone in the body.
There are three steps that people can take to improve their heart coherence, and they may even be done while sitting at a desk. First, one must focus on the physical location of the heart. Second, imagine even breaths emanating from and being taken in by the heart, and breathe along with that. Concentrate on these first steps for a few minutes. Now, as you take a breath, recall a positive or calming memory.
HeartMath specialists say this technique should be practiced for five minutes each day for optimal results.
Studies have shown that HeartMath technologies and techniques may help keep hormone levels in balance by lowering cortisol and stimulating DHEA, a hormone that has been shown to have anti-aging properties.
Additionally, research on individuals with diabetes, stressed employees and hospital patients suggested that HeartMath methods may have significant benefits.
The emWave Personal Stress Reliever has been shown to help individuals gain coherence of their heartbeats. The device tracks one's heart rhythm by measuring pulses in the earlobe, and signals to users when they have a healthy beat pattern. Also, a breathing pacer helps individuals synchronize the heart and breath.
While powerful in controlling negative thoughts, HeartMath technologies may also be useful in treating eating disorders, insomnia, chronic pain, anger issues, obsessive compulsive disorder and addictions. The methods may also be useful in alleviating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and stress in kids.
Organizations that implement HeartMath programs in their office or work environment may be effective in reducing workplace stress. Research has shown that improved stress may also strengthen employee performance.
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