The research team at Stanford University has shown that techniques which combine intentional heart focus with the generation of sustained positive feelings lead to a beneficial mode of physiological function they have termed psycho-physiological coherence. Correlates of psycho-physiological coherence include a sine wavelike pattern in the heart rhythms, increased heart-brain synchronization (alpha rhythms become more synchronized to the heart) and entrainment between the heart’s rhythmic patterns, respiration, blood pressure rhythms, and other physiological systems. Although psycho-physiological coherence is a natural state that can occur spontaneously while people are feeling genuine positive emotions and during sleep, sustained periods are generally rare.
During states of psycho-physiological coherence, our inner systems function with a higher degree of synchronization, efficiency and harmony, which correlates with improved emotional stability, quality of emotional experience, health, and cognitive performance. HeartMath studies conducted across diverse populations have associated increased psycho-physiological coherence with reduced anxiety and depression, decreased physical symptoms of stress, enhanced immunity, reduced cortisol, and increased DHEA. IHM has collaborated with Stanford University and other institutions in studies, which have shown that heart centered techniques and psycho-physiological coherence facilitate the body’s healing processes and improve physical health outcomes. For example, improvements in clinical status have been demonstrated in individuals with hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, asthma and AIDS.
With practice you learn how to shift into coherence at will, even in difficult situations that previously would have drained your emotional vitality and buoyancy. You will readily see and experience changes in your heart rhythm patterns as you practice emotional regulation techniques. Your heart rhythms generally become less irregular, and sine wavelike as you send more heartfelt love and appreciation through your system.
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