The Hearthmath® Method now in my consultations

By Natalia Otero Sancho | Chelsea Nutritionist

Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (IFMCP)
Registered Nutritionist MBANT CNHC FNTP

May 28, 2018

I came across Heart Math® technique five years ago when an American doctor introduced me to it as a tool to help my eldest son’s nervous tic. Great improvements were noticed after a few months, so I decided to do more research and get my coach accreditation to help my clients. 

As a nutritional therapist, I am very aware of my clients’ emotional state and it’s my belief that we should treat the whole person – mind, body and spirit and HeartMath®has definitely helped me to achieve this.

Here is an overview of the wonderful method….

HeartMath® is a scientifically validated system of techniques and technologies that, until only recently, was a method understood by only a small number of experts.

At the HeartMath lab, it was discovered that coherent heart rhythms and positive emotions enhance immune system response, immediately lower stress hormones, raise anti-ageing DHEA hormones levels, balance nervous system and alleviate pain (Rein, Atkinson, and McCraty et al.1996; McCraty, Barrios-Choplin, et al. 1998; McCraty and Atkinson 2003; McCraty and Childre 2004), and so the heart was not just a simple pump as it was believed.

Practicing HeartMath approach can play an important role in:

·      Health promotion and prevention

·      Achieving peak mental and intuitive performance

·      Supporting many stress-related physical and mental problems such as:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • emotional eating disorders
  • lack of confidence
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • hypertension
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • Improving your heart rate for maximum longevity.

The research conducted by the California-based not-for-profit Institute of HeartMath has been featured in respected publications such as Harvard Business ReviewWall Street JournalFinancial TimesAmerican Journal of Cardiology and Stress Medicine.

The techniques are used by over 50,000 business leaders, professional sports coaches, health professionals and people from all walks of life, in over 60 countries. HeartMath’s client list includes global companies such as BP, Cisco Systems, Boeing, Unilever, and world class organisations such as the U.S. Army.

HeartMath® tools are taught at the Stanford Business School and London Business School.

Some intriguing facts that the research carried out by HeartMath has uncovered:

•   The heart generates by the far the most powerful and most extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field produced in the body. When electrodes placed on the body are used to measure the ECG, it is the electrical component of the heart that is measured. It has been found that the electrical voltage of the heart is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity produced by the brain.

•   The magnetic component of the heart’s field is approximately 5,000 times stronger than the magnetic field produced by the brain.

•   Research has shown that the human nervous system is tuned to the heart fields of others and is able to detect and decode this energetic information.

•   Coherent energetic fields are interrelated and act to amplify and mutually reinforce each other.

•   Research has also shown that when an individual is in a coherent state (HeartMath trains to achieve coherent state), one’s sensitivity and awareness of this encoded information is increased.

•   The heart’s neural circuitry enables it to learn, remember and make functional decisions relative to the heart’s activity, all independent of the cranial brain.

•   The heart is itself a hormonal gland that manufactures and secretes numerous hormones and neurotransmitters. The heart releases atrial natriurectic factor (ANF). This hormone exerts its effects widely: on blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands and a large number of regulatory regions in the brain.

•   The heart also secretes oxytocin, commonly referred to as the “love” or “bonding” hormones. Remarkably, concentrations of oxytocin produced in the heart are as high as those found in the brain.

•   The heart communicates with the brain in four ways: a neurological communication through the nervous system (electrical); a biophysical communication – the pulse (pressure wave); a biochemical communication-the hormones (chemical); a energetic communication –(electromagnetic).

How does HeartMath work during consultations?

The training is based on the HeartMath® resilience-building system. In a nutshell, HeartMath® consists of very simple breathing exercises combined with emotional awareness techniques that enable powerful, long-lasting shifts in attitudes, promoting individual wellbeing whilst facilitating organisational change.

There is also an accompanying portable biofeedback technology that allows participants to check their progress as they practice.

The beauty of HeartMath® is its simplicity, and the fact that it’s an “in the moment” system, alas you don’t need to close your eyes, or book a room with soft lighting, cushions and joysticks.

It’s not meditation or mindfulness, and although it shares some of the benefits of both of these, it is much simpler, which makes it incredibly powerful.

The self-regulation HeartMath® techniques work by promoting balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the Autonomic Nervous System, promoting flexibility that is measured by means of Heart Rate Variability (HRV), a scientifically and medically validated biomarker of Autonomic Nervous System activity, and of resilience. Click on the cover of the Harvard Business Review below (or here!) to read a case study of how a session would work in practice. Because everyone is different, I’ll be working with you to ensure that your training session addresses the aspects you’d like to tackle, and this means that the techniques and technology used will vary from case to case.

·      The first HeartMath session is included in the first nutritional consultation. HeartMath follow up sessions will be planned individually, depending on everyone’s need.

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