A virus, a first containment, a second wave, a curfew for residents of several large cities and a new containment … The Covid-19 crisis does not end, “but we are already measuring the effects on mental health”, advises Franceinfo specialist in positive psychology Florence Servan-Schreiber. According to a study by Public Health France reported by France Bleu, the number of people suffering from a depressive condition simply doubled between the end of September and 6 November. “This epidemic is stressful, anxiety-provoking and can cause psychological suffering for many of us,” stated on Tuesday, November 17, the Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, during his press conference on the epidemic. To overcome this stress, a new method from the United States has been making its way in France for ten years: heart failure.
This method originated in California, where the HeartMath Institute (in English) “discovered the link between heart rate variability (HRV) and our nervous system”, track to franceinfo Florence Servan-Schreiber. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the function of the autonomic nervous system. “Although the heart is relatively stable, the times between two heartbeats can be very different” and reflects the agitation of the nervous system, explains the specialist in positive psychology.
“The nervous system is on automatic pilot, depending on what we go through, it reacts regardless of our will. With heart consequence, we regain control of it.”, the cousin informs the doctor David Servan-Schreiber who was the first to introduce this method in France. The author of several bestsellers on health, Cure (ed. Robert Laffont, 2003) and Anticancer (ed. Robert Laffont, 2007), who died in 2011, democratized heart consequence.
What does this method consist of? “It is a breathing technique that allows you to restore the nervous system. It allows you to calm down, relax, rest. We are in permanent tension between two systems: the sympathetic, which accelerates and the parasympathetic, which decelerates.”, details Florence Servan-Schreiber. To put it simply, with each breath, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and the heart rate increases. Upon exhalation, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated and the heart rate drops, the heart slows down.
“With heart coherence, we do not press any pedal, neither the accelerator pedal nor the brake. This method neutralizes our impulses, in both directions.”Florence Servan-Schreiber, specialist in positive psychology
“It’s a physiological condition, complete for franceinfo doctor and nutritionist David O’Hare. But no one can say that he invented it, just as the creator of the thermometer can not claim to have invented the fever. ” David O’Hare has been one of the proponents of heart failure since he discovered it twenty years ago “moreover, by translating biofeedback software documents”. This makes it possible to visualize on a computer thanks to the curve of heart rate variation, the balance of the nervous system.
Author of several books on the subject, including Cardiac context 3-6-5 – Guide for breathing stress relief (ed. Thierry Souccar, 2019), David O’Hare went so far as to theorize an exercise of cardiac consequence, the 3-6-5 method. “It’s an exercise to do three times a day for five minutes each time, he explains. During this exercise, you should take six breaths per minute, or one every ten seconds. ” Hence the name 3-6-5. “It’s a mnemonic device. Five minutes is a compromise, adds the doctor. I recommend that you do this exercise every four hours as the effect of heart failure gradually diminishes after this time. “
All specialists interviewed by franceinfo are unanimous: cardiac coherence can be prescribed for stress and anxiety. “This technology lowers cortisol, the stress hormone”, says David O’Hare. “Cardiac interconnection makes it possible to control the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system”, summarizes Laurent Uzan, sports cardiologist. “We can teach it to people who have anxiety attacks, to children to cope with the fear of exams, to deal with anxiety or even to sleep”, assures Florence Servan-Schreiber.
“This method is useful for very stressed patients and it poses absolutely no risk or side effects.”Laurent Uzan, sports cardiologist
This method was tested in particular in the Academy of Poitiers (Vienne), where 800 students tested it, or in Reunion. David O’Hare had come to class to demonstrate this. “In particular, elementary school takes three minutes to do synchronous breathing. All children breathed together when they entered the classroom, after the delay, after lunch, and in the afternoon.”, he says. And the results are there, too “significant advances in mathematics, especially in geometry “, writes the newspaper The new republic. The classroom atmosphere is also affected. “Because we put it in place, it’s been a lot easier to get to work, it really allows for a transition between breaks when the kids have a lot of emotions to deal with and work where you have to channel yourself,” he said. primary school teacher Gaëlle Dudognon advances to France 2.
This method is also recommended by nutritionists for digestive diseases. “When we practice heart consistency, we improve the parasympathetic that is critical for digestion, we use it to treat irritable bowel syndrome (stomach pain, bloating, constipation …)”, assures nutritionist Fabien Piasco. But be careful, this will prevent you from losing weight. “It would be a bit of a short abbreviation to say that, explains nutritionist Carole Copti. But this is not entirely wrong because stress can cause obesity, so cardiac coherence can have an indirect effect. “
Twenty years after it was discovered, Heart Consequence already has its followers, as evidenced by the ten applications available in smartphone stores on this topic or the videos (this one or this one) have been viewed millions of times on YouTube. “More than 4,000 healthcare professionals have taken our training”, says David O’Hare, whose programs are available on his website. However, studies on the subject are lacking, to the regret of the physician who regrets that all scientific studies on this issue are conducted or funded by the HeartMath Institute, which manufactures the world’s best-selling cardiac impact software. “A dozen dissertations are in progress or are in projects as far as I know, it’s good because they will be university publications, there is nothing to sell”, rejoices over the doctor. Marie-Josée Grasso, a psychotherapist, often recommends it to her patients. “In psychotherapy, we work with the origins of stress and anxiety, but patients need tools to deal with them, so that’s one of the things I can offer,” she assures.
“It does not cure the cause of stress, but it is a good complement to therapy.”Marie-Josée Grasso, psychotherapist
“It is a very attractive concept, but the method 3-6-5 does not reduce the risk of heart attack by 30%, it is an element that can be used in addition, says Laurent Uzan. But it will not replace a healthy lifestyle, regular sports and a healthy and balanced diet. “
Florence Servan-Schreiber and David O’Hare understand the doubts and skepticism that sometimes meet. “It’s so simple you can underestimate its impact, ensures the first. We are free to test or not, if we are curious or if we feel the need. It turns out that there is an effective technology that is breathtakingly simple. ” This method, once explained and demonstrated with software, proves to be convincing, according to the doctor: “This method has the best profit / investment ratio. I tell people “take a breathing guide, it’s available on the internet or in smartphone stores, give yourself three weeks, take 15 minutes a day and you’ll see what happens.”