HRV4Biofeedback is the sister app for HRV4training. As the names imply, the former analyses your perceived feelings vs. HRV, and the latter looks at HRV in the context of training and readiness to train.
If you are looking at your first foray into a more detailed look at HRV as an athlete then HRV4Training is probably the app for you.
HRV4Biofeedback is perhaps for those of you looking for a more subtle understanding of some aspects of your physiology.
You perform a guided breathing session for at least 3 minutes whilst using a quality source of HR data. I used a Polar H10 chest strap.
However, before you start the guided breathing you subjectively score how you are feeling in terms of Anger, Anxiety, Energy, Mood, Stress and Tiredness.
With your HRV data from a completed guided breathing session and this subjective data, HRV4Biofeedback discovers correlations over time.
You are also asked if your feelings have improved as a result of the breathing. This sounds a bit wishy-washy, however, performing a guided breathing session CAN act as a positive stressor to your HRV readings and so might improve your HRV scores.
Think about it: As an athlete, you might be inclined to accept that a hard workout or work stress are both negative stressors that will lower your HRV. You will probably also accept that rest/sleep is a positive stressor and that will raise your HRV. It’s not a huge leap of faith to then accept that some form of pseudo-meditation is also a positive stressor for HRV. Maybe it can even improve your recovery times slightly?
HRV4Biofeedback – Key Components
The two key areas of HRV4Biofeedback for me were BREATHING RATE and CORRELATIONS.
My interest in HRV4Biofeedback was piqued by a concept called Resonant Breathing. In a nutshell, each of us has an optimal respiration rate that will give the highest HRV score and that optimal rate is your Resonant Breathing rate. Thus any kind of rested breathing exercises that you perform will probably be best performed at your resonant frequency. Specifically, I now use that when I take my waking HRV reading in HRV4Training but if you do some sort of meditative yoga then you might use your resonant frequency there as well.
The second area of interest turned out to be the correlations of my subjective scores with changes to HRV.
The resonant frequency test is a guided breathing session that guides you through variable breathing rates whilst simultaneously measuring your HRV. In my case, my resonant frequency was 5 or 5.5 breaths/minute and 6 is more normal.
I found that my subjective scores were almost identical from day-to-day and thus only very weak correlations were found between them and HRV. I would say that I am a calm and chilled out person and wasn’t especially surprised by this. If you are a more tempestuous soul then perhaps you will learn something here!
I also found that I felt the same after my daily 3-minute breathing routine.
The science section at hrv4biofeedback.com should be a good resource for more detailed opinions and links to the scientific literature.
It’s been one year since we launched https://t.co/0lYJuwDZig, making it easier and more affordable to practice deep breathing at your resonant frequency
Interestingly, we found that low HRV can be improved, at least acutely, with deep breathing (any dose). See below
— Marco Altini (@altini_marco) June 25, 2021
In A Nutshell
If you are an athlete looking for ‘proper’ readiness to train stats (most of those on watches and apps are, err, less than perfect shall we say?), then HRV4Training is THE one to go for.
If you are looking to manage a stressful lifestyle then HRV4Biofeedback might give you some insights AND practical breathing exercises that will help.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, links are not affiliated. I got a free copy of the software.