Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the interval of time between heartbeats but unlike your Heart Rate (HR), which averages the number of heart beats per minute, your HRV focuses on the small fluctuations of the heart that occur in response to internal and external events.
Heart Rate Variability is a direct link to your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which means that it can be used to gain insights into your nervous system, stress and recovery activity. This also means that if your Autonomic Nervous System is not working properly, it can affect your HRV. A subluxation (misalignment) in your spine can affect the functioning of your ANS, and thus also, your HRV.
Similarly, poor functioning of your Autonomic Nervous System and poor reading of your Heart Rate Variability can be indicators of a subluxation (misalignment) in your spine.
The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a study of the correlation between the HRV and subluxations in the spine. The researchers proposed that since subluxations can cause interference to the functions of the nervous system, the effects of subluxations should also be seen in HRV readings. In the study, bilateral heat readings along the spine were used to measure change or improvement.
In the cases where individuals were found to have a subluxation in the spine, HRV and Bilateral Heat Readings were taken. Each then received the corresponding correction to their subluxation, and their readings were taken again. In each instance, the HRV and bilateral heat readings showed improvement after receiving the correction.
Researchers of the study concluded that “there appears to be a relationship between the improvements in bilateral skin temperature pattern analysis and heart rate variability following an upper cervical chiropractic technique. It is feasible that upper cervical chiropractic care can have a positive effect on the autonomic nerve system and there may be a connection between pattern reduction and improved heart rate variability.”