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Posted on 03-12-2018

HRV – Three Letters You Should Know        Article of the week March 12 to 16, 2018

This week I want to talk about a phenomenon known as heart rate variability (HRV).  You may be familiar with the term heart rate, which refers to the total number of times your heart beats in one minute.  HRV is a little bit different and refers to the amount of time between each heartbeat.  Did you know that everyone, including very healthy people, has variability in the length of time between heart beats?  A healthy heart beat has healthy irregularities.  For example, there may be 970 milliseconds (slightly less than a second) between two successive heart beats, and then 1100 milliseconds (slightly more than a second) between the next two heart beats.

When resting, it is desirable to have a high HRV.  Having a higher HRV means you have more variance between your heart beats.  Scientists have shown that higher HRV is a sign that your heart is more flexible and your body has a strong ability to tolerate the different stresses we all encounter.  Having a low HRV means that there is less variability in the amount of time between heart beats.  Scientists have shown that having a low HRV is a sign that your body is less capable of dealing with stress.  To summarize, you want to do things that help you maintain a high HRV and prevent a low HRV.

One of the reasons HRV is so important is because having a low HRV is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death!  To grow old in a healthy way, you definitely want to do things that maintain a high HRV.  Cardiovascular exercise such as walking or cycling regularly increases your HRV.  And now for the take home point of this article of the week...adjustments also increase HRV.  Specifically upper cervical (neck) adjustments were found to have this effect.  Go to the following link if you would like to see for yourself: 
J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):92-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0031. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

The reason chiropractic adjustments influence your HRV is because they balance your autonomic nervous system.  I have written in the past about your autonomic nervous system which is the part of your nervous system that automatically controls your heart rate, breathing, digestion and more, without you consciously controlling it. 

The autonomic nervous system consists of the parasympathetic nervous system which is active when you are at rest or digesting food, and the sympathetic nervous system which is active when you are active and busy or in a “fight or flight” situation.  In people under chronic stress, the fight or flight part of their nervous system rarely if ever turns off, and their bodies are constantly flooded with stress hormones.  It is essential to take measures to balance your autonomic nervous system so that your body can effectively respond to stress and adapt to it so that it does not cause disease in the long-term.

Whether you are a child or an adult, a regular adjustment schedule helps your body achieve a condition called homeostasis, which simply means your body is in balance and adapting to life and its stresses as they unfold.  Increasing HRV is one more example of why ongoing chiropractic care moves your body away from disease and sickness and toward optimal health and well-being so that you can grow old with vitality. 

Yours in Health,

Dr. Tim

Grace Chiropractic – 1-3230 Monarch Drive – 705-323-9100 – http://gracechiropractic.ca

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For the first time in 10 years I didn't have a headache when I woke up - after only one adjustment!

Orillia, ON

Highly recommend Grace Chiropractic. Their approach to chiropractic care is truly life changing. Myself and my family have all been customers of Grace and have had excellent experiences. Since starting my program with Dr. Tim I have experienced significant relief and continue to receive treatments weekly!

Bromley Automotive
Orillia, ON

I have been seeing Dr. Tim and his team since December 2016. I am grateful for every adjustment I've received. Instead of just treating your current ailment, Dr. Tim goes after the overall health of your spine and nervous system as you will learn at your info session. I came to Dr. Tim with tingling hands and numbness in both my arms, not only has this improved but I'd say by February I was feeling the best I've felt for the past 7 years.....body, mind and soul. And I have my Grace team, my denne roll and the few stretches Dr. Tim has given me to thank for it! So what are you waiting for.....give my Grace family a call today....you will not regret it!!

Laura Finlay
Orillia, ON

I have been attending Grace Chiropractic for many years now. Dr Tim was the first chiropractor I saw, and he is is much more than just a chiropractor. Dr Tim and the rest of the office staff are so focused on the well being, mind, body and soul, of each of their patients. You never walk into the office without a warm greeting, and you always leave with an uplifted spirit. Dr Tim not only makes adjustments and corrects any pain, but he gives you the tools to adjust your lifestyle to ensure you are the healthiest version of yourself. I am very grateful to all the staff at Grace Chiropractic!

Rebecca Ruiter
Orillia, ON