HeartMath – What have we learned?
In medical school nearly 100% of the education and clinical internship is spent learning and practicing physical medicine. In 2003, as graduation from medical school was rapidly approaching, I searched for a way to become a holistic practitioner. Part of the solution was HeartMath, a tool to help patients learn and apply skills for emotional management.
In 2004, when I first began using the HeartMath system, the available technology was cumbersome and relatively expensive. While I was able to work one on one with patients to teach these skills, the ongoing practice by patients of the skills was less than adequate.
In their commitment to improving their system, HeartMath Research began by raising the level of expertise of its healthcare practitioners. The newly established certification program meant 10 hours of additional study and submitting an actual case to a review board. In 2008 I became the first licensed HeartMath practitioner in the state of Connecticut. This designation is designed to bring a level of professional credentialing to this growing field of emotional management and sustained behavioral change.
The certification program turned out to be substantially more advanced than the previously published books and materials. The program developed a higher level of scientific understanding of the applications of heart rate variability to health conditions such as: high blood pressure, heart failure, heart arrhythmias, heart attack risk reduction, diabetes, and breast cancer. In my published case review, I showed that a patient with chronic Lyme disease had a weakened immune system due to the fear and anxiety associated with the illness. Using only HeartMath tools, the patient became aware of these negative emotions and strengthened the immune system. Within a couple of months of practice the patient was able to return to normal activities at work and family life.
Learning and practicing these HeartMath skills set a new standard for achieving lifetime person mastery. According to the HeartMath Interventions Manual for Healthcare Practitioners, “The HeartMath System is a research-based system of scientifically validated tools, techniques, and technology to increase emotional self-regulation.” In 2013 HeartMath integrated their technology into the smartphone and tablet platforms, making HeartMath practice easier and consistent for the patient. Through this technology, called InnerBalance, the patient may use a personal device to learn, practice, and advance in the HeartMath System while providing a database of information for the doctor to monitor and review progress with the patient. HeartMath has created a win-win strategy for the doctor-patient relationship.
To learn more about the InnerBalance tool for smartphone and tablet, please watch this short video: