What is HeartMath?
Heartmath is a collection of tools and strategies especially designed to lower stress and increase emotional and physical resilience. HeartMath interventions help to establish a new physiological baseline – a measurable change in heart rate variability (HRV) that clients can both see (on a computer screen) and experience within the counseling session. Clients learn to sustain this change outside the therapeutic setting in the midst of their challenging daily lives. As a result of using HeartMath interventions, children, teens and adults experience better sleep, more energy, better mood, less stress, less anxiety, more joy, greater mental clarity, improved intuition, improved concentration, more optimism, improved performance and greater overall well-being. These factors naturally enhance physical and mental health.
How is HeartMath Different from Other Stress Management Approaches?
HeartMath is a scientific approach to emotional and behavioral change. Grounded in more than twenty years of research, HeartMath protocols actually measure events occurring in the heart, enabling clients to objectively recognize the consequences of their moment-by-moment emotional status. Unlike general stress management programs that suggest lifestyle modification, HeartMath suggests very specific INTERNAL adjustments that heal stress at its roots. While a walk in the woods may offer temporary refreshment, HeartMath offers a continuous, consistent way to experience calm, positive energy.
HeartMath provides extremely simple tools that allow anyone of any age to immediately shift into greater physiological coherence – a state that feels good and is beneficial on every level. Stress creates chaotic bodily rhythms resulting in emotional, mental and physical blockages. In a state of stress, we not only feel tied up in knots, but our system actually functions that way: cortical inhibition (blocked thinking processes) results in poorer performance; emotional conflict leads to exhaustion and burnout; physical symptoms of stress further deplete our energies and our resources. In the opposite state – the state of coherence – everything flows! We experience a balance of energy and calm that facilitates every physical, mental and emotional process.
Who Can Benefit from Learning the HeartMath Approach?
Everyone can benefit from learning HeartMath tools, as they address the normal day-to-day and moment-to-moment sour notes of our existence. Feelings of upset, anger, fear, worry, sadness, distress, panic, overwhelm, irritability and other regular negative emotions all respond instantly and positively to HeartMath Interventions. Since we all experience these kinds of feelings from time to time, we can all benefit from learning and using the HeartMath strategies. HeartMath tools are simple enough to be employed by young children but sophisticated enough to be employed by adults who have used many other psychological, mental and spiritual practices to enhance their growth and well-being.
HeartMath is also valuable for those whose stress is more intense. People suffering from mood issues, chronic or intense feelings of anxiety, sleep disturbances, pain syndromes, attention deficits, addictions and other conditions can also add HeartMath Interventions to their toolkits for superior emotional regulation and natural self-soothing benefits. Qualified practitioners combine HeartMath with other interventions such as EMDR for a comprehensive treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Similarly, HeartMath can be combined with Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy in the treatment of mood, anxiety and stress issues. In fact, HeartMath can be combined with virtually any psychotherapeutic modality in order to enhance treatment effects. Over time, the practice of HeartMath techniques facilitates emotional restructuring – offering a more profound level of internal reorganization than cognitive restructuring alone.
Where does HeartMath Fit In?
HeartMath is currently being used in many different types of settings such as hospital programs, medical and wellness clinics, corporations, academic settings, professional sports training programs, and the U.S. military (both for prevention of and treatment of the symptoms of combat-induced PTSD). It is a flexible program with a wide-range of applications for physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. Today, many health professionals including cardiologists, family doctors, pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, nurses, chiropractors and other health care practitioners are certified through the HeartMath Interventions Program. These professionals employ HeartMath Interventions as an important component of the therapeutic and/or counseling process.