Influence of HeartMath quick coherence technique on psychophysiological coherence and feeling states
This small scale study used mixed, quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate whether HeartMath practice of at least five consecutive sessions would be associated with higher psychophysiological coherence levels, decreases in negative feeling state, and increases in positive feeling state, ratings and experiences. A convenience sample of six participants, four women and two men, with a mean age of 38.3 years, recorded low, medium and high psychophysiological coherence scores achieved after each HeartMath practice session. Before and after each session, participants also rated negative feeling states involving anger, anxiety, boredom and sadness, as well as positive feeling states of contentment, peacefulness, happiness and excitement. After all five sessions, participants provided written descriptions of their experiences of the HeartMath practice. Quantitative data were analysed using non-parametric Spearman rank order correlations, Wilcoxon Z and Friedman’s X2 statistics for collective changes, as well as parametric Analysis of Variance with repeated measures for longitudinal, individual, dependent variable changes over time. Qualitative data in the form of participants’ phenomenological descriptions were analysed into individual, experiential summaries and then synthesized into a group profile. Integral findings converged in consistently supporting the research hypothesis of significant changes in psychophysiological coherence, negative feeling states and positive feeling state clusters. There were also significant changes in specific, dependent variables such as increased percentages of high psychophysiological coherence, decreased feelings of sadness and increased feelings of peacefulness. Psychophysiological and emotional state findings are discussed in relation to health and sport psychology, theory and practice.
Keywords: Biofeedback, physiological coherence, Quick Coherence Technique, feeling states.