Cardiac coherence: foundations and application in the HypnoVR experience

The relaxing power of breathing on our organism has been recognized for millennia, and is evoked in ancestral practices such as Qigong and pranayama. These traditions highlight breath control for its medical virtues, prefiguring cardiac coherence. Based on sound physiological and psychological principles, it induces a state of deep relaxation, relieving anxiety and promoting lasting well-being. Cardiac coherence is thus an accessible method for improving our mental and physical health.

What is cardiac coherence?

Respiratory sinus arrhythmia – a direct link between cardiac activity and respiration

Cardiac coherence is a stress and anxiety management practice based on controlled breathing exercises. It regulates our respiratory rhythm, directly influencing our nervous system and promoting a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic components of our stress response. This technique results in a state of synchronization between heart rate, blood pressure and breathing, improving heart health and reducing stress. The effect of this practice is based on respiratory sinus arrhythmia, where inhalation speeds up the heart rate and exhalation slows it down, underlining the importance of deep, balanced breathing.

Why cardiac coherence?

The benefits of cardiac coherence are numerous and supported by scientific evidence. Regular practice helps reduce anxiety, stress and pain, improves heart rate variability (HRV), an indicator of good heart health and resilience to stress, and can lower blood pressure, benefiting those with hypertension. These effects stem from increased parasympathetic tone, associated with relaxation of the body, and a measurable reduction in anxiety, with studies showing a 15% drop in anxiety scores after a few minutes of deep breathing.

The role of cardiac coherence in the HypnoVR experience

Integrating cardiac coherence into the virtual reality medical hypnosis experiences offered by HypnoVR is crucial to an effective hypnosis session. Harmony between heartbeat and breathing is essential to create a psychological and physiological state conducive to hypnotic induction, and therefore directly influences the therapeutic effectiveness of the session. In a HypnoVR session, the user follows a cardiac coherence exercise, guided by a voice but also a visual, whose imagery is adapted to the nature of the universe and whose movement serves as a visual cue for inspiration and expiration.

The exercise guides the patient towards a rhythm of 6 breaths per minute, which is the rhythm with the greatest impact on cardiac variability and therefore on anxiety.

Depending on the world chosen by the patient, the visual of the exercise changes.

Towards a new era of well-being and therapeutic innovation

Virtual reality medical hypnosis session to treat patient pain and anxiety.

Cardiac coherence is a proven method for improving stress management and promoting well-being. Its integration into HypnoVR’s virtual reality experiences represents a new, accessible and engaging approach to practice. This approach enriches the hypnosis experience and demonstrates the potential of ancient breathing techniques to be adapted to modern contexts to improve mental and physical health.

Claire Terzulli, PhD, R&D Project Manager

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