Heart rate variability (HRV) is a medical index for morbidity and wellness. Lower HRV accompanies many illnesses; high HRV accompanies healthy states, resilience, and optimal functioning. Heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB) uses real-time electronic feedback of the moment-to-moment changes in HRV to train patients to produce increases in HRV. Outcome studies on HRVB have shown therapeutic benefit for a wide variety of medical and mental health disorders. Lehrer and colleagues have published evidence-based protocols for HRV assessment and HRV treatment. Here, the authors review outcome studies on a sampling of common disorders: asthma, chronic muscle pain, depression, heart failure, hypertension, and posttraumatic stress disorder. HRVB offers promising therapeutic benefit for any medical or mental health disorder known to be accompanied by autonomic nervous system dysregulation.

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