See instructions for use at the bottom of this page.
We can think of Heart Rate (HR) as an accelerator, like the gas pedal in a car. The higher your HR, the more energy you have for moving your body and moving your thoughts and feelings. But if your Heart Rate is 60/minute, the intervals between beats are not all 1.0 second. Rather, the intervals between beats changes from 1.2/sec, to 1.0/0, to 0.8 sec, and so on. At the end of the minute the heart has beat 60 times. But the intervals between the beats has changed, more or less, over the minute. These changes are Heart Rate Variability (HRV). It functions to control or brake energy. The degree of braking can change rapidly, literally within a heartbeat. It is like tapping down on the brakes of a car when you need to slow down to take a curve; then, releasing the brake to accelerate out of the turn.
Acceleration and braking systems can be more or less in alignment at any one moment. For example, when running HR goes up. HRV should also increase in high arousal situations to manage the direction of running and to avoid falling down. Similarly, when one is energized mentally by strong thoughts and feelings, high control (HRV) is necessary. With low control, strong emotions can cause anxiety, confusion, and rapid mood shifts. These can, in turn, disrupt decision making and social behavior.
The Body-Mind Reader measures both Energy (Heart Rate) and Control (Heart Rate Variability) moment to moment. So, the alignment of energy and control processes can be assessed. Alignment is usually a function of unconscious processes. But with biofeedback, one can learn to influence alignment. Mental changes and bodily changes affect each other. To understand the science behind the device see:
Bernstein, W.M. (2015). A basic and applied model of the body-mind system. In, G.H.E. Gendolla et al. (Eds). Handbook of Biobehavioral Approaches to Self-Regulation: 397-418. New York: Springer.
Bernstein, W.M. (2014). The Realisation of Concepts: Infinity, Cognition, and Health. London: Routledge.
Porges, S.W. (2011). The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation. New
HOW TO USE THE DEVICE
(1) Charge the sensor and phone. Turn off other apps on the phone. Strap the plastic part of the sensor over the middle, inside of your forearm. It should fit securely half the way up the forearm.
(2) Start the sensor by pressing on the middle of the grey plastic square. A flashing blue light indicates the sensor has connected successfully with your phone. Press ‘START’ on the phone to begin measuring for 20 seconds your baseline Heart Rate & Heart Rate Variability. After 20 seconds the device will provide feedback about how Heart Rate (HR) and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) are changing from your baseline measures. If you are sitting when taking your baseline, remain sitting during the session. If you are standing, walking or running during the baseline measurement, remain standing, walking or running during the session. Press stop to end the session.
(3) Changes in HRV above baseline are shown in GREEN, which indicates control is increasing. BLUE indicates no change from HRV baseline. RED means HRV is higher than baseline which indicates decreasing control. So in general, you want to be in the GREEN not the RED.
There are three gradations of each color from darker to lighter. The brightest shades of GREEN, RED, and BLUE indicate increases of HR over baseline. That is, bright colors indicate increases in energy–increasing Heart Rate. Darker shades indicate decreasing energy. But that is fine if you are not moving around much. One need not use too much energy when sitting. But you still have good body-mind alignment as long as you are seeing GREEN, regardless of the shade of green. When very active, HR should increase–the colors will get brighter.
The colors will change more or less quickly. Sometimes fast sometimes slow. You can view changes in your alignment on the grid screen or the simple color box screen. You can change the view by touching the switch under the word “Stop” in the red banner.
HOW TO USE THE FEEDBACK
Biofeedback works by trial and error. Overtime you will somehow notice a correlation between changes in the colors and changes in your mental and physical states. Try to get into the green. Your unconscious and/or conscious minds will figure it out. You can change HR and HRV levels of alignment via breathing, moving, or just thinking.
You should experiment to see how changing thoughts and feelings work to change HR & HRV. We can change thoughts and feelings by altering the direction of attention of the ‘mind’s eye’. One can pay attention to happy ideas, intentions, and memories or to past mistakes, losses, and anxiety, and sadness. HR and HRV will change depending on what you pay attention to. They will also change when physical posture and activity are altered which in turn, can lead to mental changes. Over time you can learn ways of thinking and moving that put you into aligned states as indicated by seeing GREEN feedback. In some sense, we can think of the Body-Mind analyser as a ‘mood ring’ that actually works!
The Device: Components
The Device consists of three components
- A smartphone (currently, only iPhone is supported)
- A heart rate monitor
- The Body-Mind Analyzer App (soon to be on the Apple Store)
Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband.
The official Body-Mind Analyzer heart rate monitor. Build a Body-Mind Device by pairing this bluetooth heart rate monitor with your iPhone running the Body-Mind App. Click on the image to purchase.