Effect of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback on Sport Performance, a Systematic Review
- 1.1k Downloads
Aim is to determine if the training with heart rate variability biofeedback allows to improve performance in athletes of different disciplines. Methods such as database search on Web of Science, SpringerLink, EBSCO Academic Search Complete, SPORTDiscus, Pubmed/Medline, and PROQUEST Academic Research Library, as well as manual reference registration. The eligibility criteria were: (a) published scientific articles; (b) experimental studies, quasi-experimental, or case reports; (c) use of HRV BFB as main treatment; (d) sport performance as dependent variable; (e) studies published until October 2016; (f) studies published in English, Spanish, French or Portuguese. The guidelines of the PRISMA statement were followed. Out of the 451 records found, seven items were included. All studies had a small sample size (range from 1 to 30 participants). In 85.71% of the studies (n = 6) the athletes enhanced psychophysiological variables that allowed them to improve their sport performance thanks to training with heart rate variability biofeedback. Despite the limited amount of experimental studies in the field to date, the findings suggest that heart rate variability biofeedback is an effective, safe, and easy-to-learn and apply method for both athletes and coaches in order to improve sport performance.
KeywordsHeart rate variability Biofeedback Sport performance Athletes Autonomic nervous system
No funding was received to perform this systematic review.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
- Boutcher, S. H., Park, Y., Dunn, S. L., & Boutcher, Y. N. (2013). The relationship between cardiac autonomic function and maximal oxygen uptake response to high-intensity intermittent-exercise training. Journal of Sports Sciences, 31, 1024–1029. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2012.762984.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Buccelletti, E., Gilardi, E., Scaini, E., Galiuto, L., Persiani, R., Biondi, A., … Silveri, N. G. (2009). Heart rate variability and myocardial infarction: systematic literature review and meta-analysis. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 13(4), 299–307. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006577.pub3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Culbert, T., Martin, H., & McCraty, R. (2004). A practitioner’s guide: Applications of the freeze-framer interactive learning system. Boulder Creek, CA: Heart Math Institute.Google Scholar
- da Silva, F. A. K., Penachini da Costa de Rezende Barbosa, M., Marques Vanderlei, F., Destro Christofaro, D. G., & Marques Vanderlei, L. C. (2016). Application of heart rate variability in diagnosis and prognosis of individuals with diabetes mellitus: Systematic review. Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology: The Official Journal of the International Society for Holter and Noninvasive Electrocardiology, Inc, 21(3), 223–235. doi: 10.1111/anec.12372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- de Bruin, E. I., van der Zwan, J. E., & Bögels, S. M. (2016). A RCT comparing daily mindfulness meditations, biofeedback exercises, and daily physical exercise on attention control, executive functioning, mindful awareness, self-compassion, and worrying in stressed young adults. Mindfulness, 7(5), 1182–1192. doi: 10.1007/s12671-016-0561-5.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Gross, M. J., Shearer, D. A., Bringer, J. D., Hall, R., Cook, C. J., & Kilduff, L. P. (2016). Abbreviated resonant frequency training to augment heart rate variability and enhance on-demand emotional regulation in elite sport support staff. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 41, 263–274. doi: 10.1007/s10484-015-9330-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hautala, A. J., Makikallio, T. H., Kiviniemi, A., Laukkanen, R. T., Nissila, S., Huikuri, H. V., & Tulppo, M. P. (2003). Cardiovascular autonomic function correlates with the response to aerobic training in healthy sedentary subjects. American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 285, H1747–H1752. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00202.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- HeartMath® Intitute. (2008). The Quick Coherence® technique for adults. Retrieved from https://www.heartmath.org/resources/heartmath-tools/quick-coherence-technique-for-adults/.
- Hill, L. K., Hu, D. D., Koenig, J., Sollers, J. J., Kapuku, G., Wang, X., … Thayer, J. F. (2015). Ethnic differences in resting heart rate variability: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 77(1), 16–25. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000133.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Krisanaprakornkit, T., Krisanaprakornkit, W., Piyavhatkul, N., & Laopaiboon, M. (2006). Meditation therapy for anxiety disorders. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, 25(1), CD004998.Google Scholar
- Lagos, L., Vaschillo, E., Vaschillo, B., Lehrer, P., Bates, M., & Pandina, R. (2008). Heart rate variability biofeedback as a strategy for dealing with competitive anxiety: A case study. Biofeedback, 36(3), 109–115.Google Scholar
- Lehrer, P. M., Vaschillo, E., Vaschillo, B., Lu, S. E., Eckberg, D. L., Edelberg, R., … Hamer, R. M. (2003). Heart rate variability biofeedback increases baroreflex gain and peak expiratory flow. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 796–805. doi: 10.1097/01.PSY.0000089200.81962.19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Nideffer, R.M. (1986). Concentration and attention control training. In J. Williams (Ed.), Applied sport psychology (pp. 257–269). Palo Alto: Mayfield.Google Scholar
- Nideffer, R.M. (1989). Theoretical and practical relationships between attention, anxiety, and performance in sport. In D. Hackfort & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.), Anxiety in sport: An international perspective (pp. 117–136). New York: Hemisphere Pub. Corp.Google Scholar
- Tanis, C. J. (2012). Performance enhancement and stress reduction using biofeedback with women collegiate volleyball players. Athletic Insight, 4(2), 127–140.Google Scholar
- Thayer, J. F., Åhs, F., Fredrikson, M., Sollers, J. J., & Wager, T. D. (2012). A meta-analysis of heart rate variability and neuroimaging studies: Implications for heart rate variability as a marker of stress and health. Neuroscience and Behavioural Reviews, 36(2), 747–756. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.11.00.CrossRefGoogle Scholar