Natural Family Health Care
Health care professionals often use heart rate measurements as indicators of a person’s general health. For example, a normal heart rate is 70 – 75 beats per minute.
Your heart rate is controlled by your autonomic nervous system (ANS). You have no direct control over your heart rate; it speeds up or slows down in response to what is happening in and around your body. The sympathetic system, one component of your ANS, controls increases in your heart rate; the parasympathetic system, the other component of your ANS, controls decreases in your heart rate.
Let’s say that you are out for a walk and a big dog comes rushing at you. Your heart rate increases as a result of your sympathetic nervous system. Once the dog starts licking you, and you no longer perceive any danger, your heart rate slows and returns to normal as a result of your parasympathetic nervous system. When you are healthy, these two systems balance each other, and neither is dominant.
Heart rate variability (HRV) uses time and frequency measurements to check whether these two systems are in balance. A higher rate of variability indicates that your systems are better able to respond and adapt to external events and you are, therefore, healthier!
Heart rate variability measurements help to determine how your body adapts to constant changes in your environment. When your systems are in balance, you adapt well, you have high heart rate variability and you are healthy; low heart rate variability signals poor adaptability and health.
Chiropractic adjustments can help to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic components of your autonomic nervous system. They can help to achieve the desired beneficial effect on your heart rate variability and therefore, improve your overall health! Even if you have no known heart problems, numerous research studies indicate that better HRV readings are related to better cardiovascular fitness.