June 7th, 2023,
5 min read
‘But what does science say?’ It’s a question we ask ourselves at moonbird every day. Especially our postdoctoral researcher, Elisabeth Honinx, as it’s her focus to investigate and gather scientific grounding for everything that we do at moonbird.
Elisabeth continuously assembles the most interesting studies on breathing and related topics. Here, we’d like to give you a monthly overview of the latest research, news, and developments in the World of Breathing. Be inspired.
Have you ever heard of heart coherence? This state is achieved when you control your breathing at a rhythm known as the resonance frequency. In simpler terms, it means aligning our breathing and heart rhythms. Synchronizing our breathing rhythm with the heartbeat can enhance the connection between our heart and brain. A recent study investigated a device designed to facilitate achieving heart coherence. The device provides visual and tactile cues to guide breathing at a specific rhythm. The aim was to compare the effects of different types of breathing guidance (visual and tactile). The study involved 32 healthy students divided into three groups. Participants first watched an emotionally neutral video for 8 min, breathing at a spontaneous rate. After a short break, each student attempted five minutes of breathing at six breaths per minute (= 0.1 Hz) with 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out. To achieve the desired breathing rhythm, the device provided guidance through vibrations and/or visual cues. When vibrations were used, they started slow and then increased, then decreased. In the visual and visuo-haptic conditions, the device also provided feedback on heart rate variability (HRV) through color changes. The HRV was measured using a thumb sensor.
Adding tactile guidance to visual guidance helps achieve heart coherence
What did they find? Adding tactile guidance - something you can feel (like with moonbird) - to visual guidance further enhanced the attainment of heart coherence. Thus, using tactile guidance could be a crucial addition for more efficient and time-saving breathing exercises. It is valuable in managing stress and improving both mental and physical health.
A recent study has shown promising results with a system designed to help cancer patients cope and sleep better at home. The study involved 50 cancer patients who were struggling with sleep disturbances. They were taught to use a portable device that helps them manage their heart rate by guiding them through resonant breathing – basically. They practiced this technique right before bed. Their sleep efficiency significantly improved in just 10-14 days! Not only that, but they also slept for longer durations and their heart rates showed healthy changes.
The cherry on top? The patients were really committed to the program. Out of all the participants, a whopping 96% completed the program and 91.4% practiced the technique regularly at home. However, the time it took for them to fall asleep did get a bit longer, but the difference wasn't significant.
Sleep efficiency significantly improved in just 10-14 days
In short, this technique was a real game-changer. It helped patients get a grip on their sleep and heart function right at home, and it was easy for them to get the hang of it. This study suggests that this heart rate control technique could be a fantastic tool to help cancer patients manage stress and improve sleep. So, why not give it a shot? Sweet dreams!
Source: BMJ Support Palliat Care
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