What Is HeartMath and Why Does it Matter?
Posted 2/23/2016 by UHBlog
Although National Heart Month concluded, heart disease never ends. As the leading cause of death for both men and women, doctors and scientists know that some of the causes of heart disease are preventable, such as smoking, while others may be controllable through lifestyle modifications.
According to psychiatrist Francoise Adan, MD, studies by neurocardiologists are also examining the role emotions play in heart disease and other chronic conditions. In particular, neurocardiologists, who look at the neurological origins of cardiac disorders, have studied the effects of stress on the heart, and how this impacts the peripheral and central nervous systems. Their findings seem to indicate that if you can control your emotions, you can minimize stress, illness and disease.
“An organization called the HeartMath Institute has taken this research and its own evidence-based science and applied it in ways that help people manage their emotions,” she says. “They’ve created a number of programs and integrative health tools that are used to shift habits and responses to stress.
“During the HeartMath practice, an important part of the process is learning to shift attention to the heart while activating a positive feeling or attitude,” Dr. Adan says. “This process results in thoughts becoming more positive, which helps the mind to create the same shift away from negative feelings of emotional stress.”
If you’re curious to actually see how stress affects your body, you can through HeartMath’s biofeedback device. The machine allows you to see – with precise measurements that include pulse rate and body temperature – just how stress affects your body’s biological responses.
“It’s a simple and easy-to-use mobile technology that helps you achieve mental and emotional wellbeing,” Dr. Adan says. “We use the device as part of our Stress Management and Resilience Training (S.M.A.R.T.™) program offered through University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network. People in the program receive the HeartMath equipment to keep, which allows them to continue to monitor and improve their stress resilience and build an effective stress management practice.”
To learn more about HeartMath coaching or the S.M.A.R.T.™ program, contact UH Connor Integrative Health Network at 216-285-4070.
Francoise Adan, MD is a psychiatrist and the medical director of UH Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Dr. Adan or any other UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.