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Heart Rate Variability Examination/Assessment

What is Heart Rate Variability?

Heart Rate/pulse graphic The principles of Heart Rate Variability are simple. The heartbeat is measured with the help of an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) signal which is obtained from a standard device.

From the ECG/EKG recording we can measure how your heart beats vary from beat to beat. As the heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute. Heart rate variability (HRV) is the fluctuation in the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats.

HRV is a modern biomarker that indexes your neuro-cardiac function and is generated by heart-brain interactions. It assesses the balance of your autonomic-nervous system’s activity (the sympathetic one: “the flight or fight” and the parasympathetic one: “the rest or digest.”)

Indeed, the autonomic nervous system is an important part in the control of our different physiological systems, e.g., the heart, the respiration, the digestion, the hormones productions but as well as our emotions, behavior and cognition processes.

HRV is an easy and non-invasive way to identify imbalances in your autonomic-nervous system’s activity. It is used to determine your health condition and can predict diseases (like cardio-vascular ones). A high HRV is a marker for health and a low HRV a marker for diseases.

Anyone can benefit from an HRV assessment, just like, once a year we go for blood work which is an invasive way to assess other biological markers.

HRV is a system indicator!

Why and when should I go for an HRV examination?

If you feel healthy you can just decide to confirm your health status as monitored by your autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance and go for an HRV once a year for a routine checkup –just like blood work.

If you are not feeling particularly well or if you are having general health challenges, the autonomic system that regulates your physiological systems may not be functioning properly. A heart rate variability (HRV) assessment is an effective and non-invasive method for assessing autonomic function.

If you are suffering from a specific condition, disease, syndrome etc., HRV analysis will clearly demonstrate any abnormalities in the proper functioning of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) and provide information to help guide restoration of proper balance

The autonomic nervous system’s function varies throughout the day and is also influenced by external factors such as stress and diet. It is important when having your HRV analysis performed that it is completed in the morning after an overnight fast and without the consumption 12 hrs prior to testing of alcohol and any caffeinated products such as energy drinks, coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, etc…

Which conditions will show an imbalance in my autonomic-nervous system?

The following conditions usually show an imbalance of your ANS activity (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Stress/fatigue
  • Burnout
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Non-restorative sleep
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anxiety
  • Mental stress/Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectral Disorders
  • Chronic migraines/headaches
  • Temporomandibular disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Tinnitus/dizziness
  • Concussion
  • Post stroke
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Auto-immunes disease (MS, Rhumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, etc.)
  • Cardiovascular disease (fibrillation, myocardial infarctus, idiopathic bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome like POTS, etc)
  • Digestive disease (gastritis, acid reflux, gastroparesia, IBS, IBD, SIBO, H. Pylori infection, etc)
  • Diabetes I and II
  • Thyroid and other hormones related disease (Addison, Cushing, etc)
  • Dysmenorrhea (primary)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer (solid tumor)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lack of exercise /over exercising
  • Addiction (sugar, salt, drugs, alcohol)

How the HRV assessment is performed:

You will be comfortably resting in a lying position for 10 minutes, at which time we will perform an active position test:

First, while you are lying down, we will take a 5 minute ECG/ECK recording. After that first recording, you will stand-up for another 7 minute recording.

When the recording is complete, we will process the assessment immediately and review the results with you. If indicated by the results, we will advise you of steps to be taken to improve your autonomic nervous system’s activity and help in restoration of your health.

The examination will last approximately 45 minutes to a hour


Kinesis Health Associates | (902) 464-2225