Heart Rate Variability: for real doctors. Regulation in human health. Mental stress

Yabluchansky N.I., Martynenko A.V.

Heart rate variability: for real doctors. Translation from the Russian version of the book, published at Kharkiv, 2010, 131 p.
The basics and practice of the clinical use of the technology of heart rate variability are outlined for doctors of all specialties and students of medical faculties of universities.

8. Regulation in human health

Mental stress

Mental stress accompanies by a drop in TP power due to the predominant HF decrease not only in basal conditions but even with modulated breathing.
When solving arithmetic problems alone and in a competitive environment, the LF/HF ratio is much higher for type A individuals than for B, which is due to the regular average activity. When performing a search in memory, all parameters of HRV significantly reduces. Psychological stress induces noticeable changes in the middle and rapid regulation (LF / HF) with an increase in the mid-frequency link (LF). Individuals with greater LF also show faster adaptation of the cardiovascular system to stress. Relaxation for 3-5 minutes no significant effect on the LF/HF ratio. When assessing HRV and the level of cortisol in saliva as indices of mental load, it has been established that HRV more accurately reflects the degree of difficulty of the task in the case when the subject is interested in spending maximum efforts.
In children with attention concentration (watching TV programs), HRV decreases and returns to normal 5 seconds after the cessation of stimulation.
Under the influence of hypnosis, the power of the high-frequency component (HF) increases, and the mid-frequency component decreases, and these changes correlate with the degree of hypnability. The balance of LF/HF is shifting towards increasing fast activity (HF).
Mental stress is the natural “habitat” of a modern person, and it is vital that the regulation respond adequately to it. In this regard, the control of HRV in persons “mental professions” is essential.
It is necessary to focus on two points – the organization of intellectual labor so that the “regulatory losses” of mental stress are minimal; and the inclusion in intellectual work of timely and effective relaxation breaks that restore energy capacity and stability of regulation. There are many programs, such as those from HeartMath, successfully solving problems of this kind.


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