Feeling Stressed? Control Your Own Stress Response with HeartMath Technology!

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Here at Philadelphia Integrative Medicine we use HeartMath technology for our patients and ourselves to help manage stress and improve our stress response.

In the office we carry the Inner Balance Lightning Sensor. You clip a small heart rate detector to your ear, and the other end of the device plugs into your iPhone and connects to the inner balance app. The device then tracks your heart rate variability. It will light up green if you are in a state of coherence, blue if you are somewhere in the middle, and red if you are incoherent!

What is coherence?

The HeartMath organization says:

“When we speak of heart-rhythm coherence or physiological coherence, we are referring to a specific assessment of the heart’s rhythms that appears as smooth, ordered and sine-wavelike patterns. From a physics perspective, when we are in a coherent state, virtually no energy is wasted because our systems are performing optimally and there is synchronization between heart rhythms, the respiratory system, blood-pressure rhythms, etc.”

What is the purpose of HeartMath?

The purpose of HeartMath is to develop skills to self regulate your own stress and anxiety while building mental clarity and emotional resilience. It creates concrete evidence for the mind-body connection.

Stress is not caused by an event, but by how we respond to the situations that arise. When we become stressed, we are out of sync. Stressful emotions like anger, anxiety, frustration and worry deplete our energy and can lead to disorders of the nervous system.

If we intentionally change our thoughts to feelings of appreciation, care, and kindness, then we can create “coherence,” or order, within our being. This leads to greater mental clarity, creativity, and resilience. Having control over your emotions allows you to respond more effectively and with more peace to stressful events.

What does HeartMath do?

HeartMath measures Heart Rate Variability (HRV) which represents how much variation there is in your heartbeats in a specific timeframe. This variation is controlled by your autonomic nervous system. A higher and steadier HRV equates to higher resilience and flexibility, allowing you to switch gears faster.

Emotions that create coherence:

-Courage -Honor -Dignity -Confidence -Appreciation -Kindness -love -care -compassion -tolerance -patience -enthusiasm -joy

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Quick Coherence Technique:

Step 1. Focus your attention on your heart area. Imagine breath flowing in and out of your heart/ chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual. Suggestion: Inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds (or a comfortable rhythm).

Step 2. Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling like the ones listed above, or feel appreciation and care for someone or something in your life. Suggestion: Try to re-experience the feeling you have for someone you love, a pet, a special place, an accomplishment, or focus on a feeling of calm or ease.

How to use:

  1. Download the inner balance app on your IOS device

  2. Attach the sensor  to the charger port of your device and clip the ear pulse sensor to the center of your earlobe.

  3. Now, tap once to activate the menu bar with the Start and Stop button. Tap Start to begin your session!

  4. Tap once to activate bottom toolbar (Start button located here).

  5. You will see the mandala shown to the right when beginning your session. The top of the screen initially shows your Pulse then switches to your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) pattern.

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PIM wants to hear from you! Do you have an experience with  HeartMath technology? Do you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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If you or your loved one needs help, perhaps you are suffering from the effects of ongoing stress, mood or hormone imbalance, including thyroid imbalance, or you or they are already working with a doctor to address a condition but want a more comprehensive, empowering approach schedule your a 20 minute free consultation or an appointment with Annmarie McManus, MMSc, PA-C, PT, IFMCP or Lauren Houser, MS, MSN, CRNP today! Not quite ready to schedule and have questions, quickly get in touch with us today!

Written by Dani Mortimer, Clinic Manager


“Research FAQs.” HeartMath Institute, www.heartmath.org/support/faqs/research/.

“HeartMath Institute.” HeartMath Institute, www.heartmath.org/.

“Quick Coherence® Technique.” Health Professionals Comments, 7 Nov. 2018, www.heartmath.com/quick-coherence-technique/.

“Article Explains Importance of Heart Rate Variability for Your Health.” HeartMath Institute, 2 May 2015, www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/science-of-the-heart/article-explains-importance-of-heart-rate-variability-for-your-health/.