Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this blog and the entire website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live a vibrant, meaningful life while living with chronic health challenges or other life challenges.

Every Tuesday I post a new, very brief video from my presentations or interviews. Every Friday this Q&A column appears.

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: continuation of answer on breathing

ANSWER: Researchers at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1992 found that reduced heart rate variability (HRV) is a strong predictor of mortality following myocardial infarctions. In 1999, Karolinska Institute researchers found that reduced HRV is often conceptualized as a lack of ability to respond by physiological variability and complexity, making the person physiologically rigid and, therefore, more vulnerable. This translates into an underactive parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Poor parasympathetic tone is a signal finding among people with reduced HRV; their autonomic nervous system is strikingly unbalanced in favor of sympathetic (fight or flight) responses, and this is reflected in rigid (not variable) cardiac function. The Framingham Heart Study found that this rigidity is a clear-cut contributor to ventricular arrhythmias. It is now common knowledge that parasympathetic tone and reasonably good HRV are essential for the maintenance of the electrical stability of the heart, which directly correlates with the prevention of lethal dysrhythmias. Even physically fit individuals who are depressed, anxious, or commonly feel hostile probably have low HRV. In 2000, Ohio State Medical School researchers found that preventricular contractions (PVCs) are a common symptom of people with reduced HRV.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges or issues related to wellbeing. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.
What questions do you have about living a life of mindfulness-based mastery or about the relationship between the mind and health or wellbeing?
Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. An answer to your specific question may not appear in this column. The reason for that is I wait until I get a certain number of related questions, then I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. People attending my presentations asked most of the questions appearing in this column, and I repeat them here so you may benefit.