Heart rate variability (a talk from the SuperHuman conference)

clinical naturopathy Aug 12, 2020
Life is busy.  Society commands it on many levels.
I would honestly have to say that around 3/4 of the people that I see in the clinic are there because they have hit some sort of wall and are beginning to burn out emotionally, physically, or both.
It is now very well documented that "stress" is a major driver of so many inflammatory and chronic diseases, however, what most of us don't recognize is the early signs of what these can look like.
We tend to think of disease as a full-blown set of symptoms and do not value that they are usually more like the end result of a long chain of events.
Here in our Western Culture, we define "fitness" as how much strength, tone, or endurance we have... and unfortunately this has created a mindset that we need to constantly strive for something bigger and better- often pushing ourselves above and beyond.
Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderful thing, and I myself have a background in both competitive sport and the fitness industry.. (and I was also once caught in the chase for exponential gains... and then I burnt out!)
What we tend to lack is the ability to then switch off and find a balance to this extreme: Really, the definition of "fitness" is more about adaptability; how well can the body adapt to what it Is being challenged with? Most of us can push forward fine, but if I ask you to consider that your body needs a rest, and have you perhaps tried meditation? Breathwork? Yoga?... The looks I get are astounding! "Nope, they're really not my thing!" -Words I hear multiple times a day.-
For anyone who questions why am constantly suggesting that you SLOW down for a while, here is really great visual explanation for why increasing a thing called "vagal tone", (tone of the Vagus nerve), is one of the greatest things you can do to improve your health!
The Vagus nerve is responsible for slowing our function down, as well as stabilizing our primary bodily functions (heart rate, digestion, etc), and is directly stimulated when you deliberately hold your breath (amongst other things).
This video, from the SuperHuman conference, is speaking about a thing called Heart Rate Variability, and how it can be used as a measure for a person's health, based on their nervous system's ability to adapt to the changes of breathing.

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