HRV and Chiropractic

I began paying attention to this several years ago after getting a fitness band that tracks HRV.  So what is HRV you say?  HRV stands for heart rate variability. Your first thought might be – “Is that a good thing? Should my heart rate vary?”  The answers are yes and yes.

According to my Whoop fitness band, HRV is ”literally the variance in time between the beats of your heart. So, if your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, it’s not actually beating once every second. Within that minute there may be 0.9 seconds between two beats, for example, and 1.15 seconds between two others. The greater this variability is, the more “ready” your body is to execute at a high level.”

HRV is controlled by your autonomic nervous system, which has two branches, sympathetic (fight or flight response) or parasympathetic ( rest and repair).  The sympathetic branch of your nervous system responds to stressors and activates your body to respond.  The parasympathetic branch slows you down, allowing for rest, repair, growth, and digestion. 


If your nervous system is responsive to the environment around you, these two branches will be constantly seesawing back and forth, depending on what you need at the immediate moment.  This is what creates the variance in time between heart beats.  If you have a high HRV, your body is t responsive and better able to adapt to stress.  If your HRV is low, it often indicates that your nervous system is unable to adapt efficiently to stress along with the possibility that you  may not be getting enough sleep, aren’t fueling your body properly, or not drinking enough water.  Typically, a low HRV indicates that your nervous system is stuck in a sympathetic dominate state, which revs up your body, and over time, creates fatigue. 

The human body is designed to be self-regulating and self-healing.  HRV is a great indicator of your body’s overall adaptive ability and capacity to handle stress. 

How does HRV relate to chiropractic? As a chiropractor, it is my job to help support the function of your nervous system.  Regular adjustments help your nervous system “reset” to where both the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches are functioning appropriately. 


Are you wondering now what your HRV is like?  In our office we utilize scanning that helps us see how balanced your nervous system is.  Part of that scanning process is detecting your HRV. By performing update scans during care, we can track how a patient’s nervous system is responding to chiropractic care.  If you are interested in finding out how well your nervous system is working and what your HRV is, please reach out to schedule a scan appointment today. 

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