The immediate effect of basic body awareness therapy on heart rate variability

A study conducted by researchers from Brazil revealed that basic body awareness therapy causes significant improvements in heart rate. This finding was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

  • The heart rate is affected by many physiological factors. Among these the autonomic nervous system is the most important. An increase in sympathetic activity and in parasympathetic activity lead to an increase and a decrease in heart rate, respectively.
  • Heart rate variability, which is the interval between successive heartbeats, is commonly used to evaluate the relationship between these factors. High frequency is mediated by vagal activity while low frequency involves sympathetic modulation.
  • Psychological factors like anxiety and depression predict the pathology of chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Basic body awareness therapy is a holistic therapy wherein attention is focused on internal body sensations to understand how the body is used for behavior. Exercises used for this form of therapy include stopping motion while sitting, lying down, standing or walking.
  • This form of physical therapy is used in clinical settings to improve chronic pain conditions and mental health problems. However, the relationship between basic body awareness therapy and the mind and body has not been thoroughly investigated.
  • In this study, the researchers observed the immediate effects of a 50-minute session of basic body awareness therapy in 13 healthy young participants. They based their results on changes in sympathetic and parasympathetic modulation, as well as heart rate variability from before to after the study.

The researchers observed a significant increase in the low-frequency domain of heart rate variability as well as in sympathetic and parasympathetic modulation after basic body awareness therapy. Based on this, they concluded that this form of therapy works by improving the different functions of the autonomic nervous system.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

For more articles about maintaining heart health, visit

Journal Reference:

Mantovani AM, Fregonesi CEPT, Lorençoni RMR, Savian NU, Palma MR, Salgado ASI, Oliveira LVFD, Parreira RB. IMMEDIATE EFFECT OF BASIC BODY AWARENESS THERAPY ON HEART RATE VARIABILITY. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. February 2016;22. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.10.003

comments powered by Disqus