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Research Library

One‑Minute Deep Breathing Assessment and Its Relationship to 24-h Heart Rate Variability Measurements

    • Published: 2018
    • Rollin McCraty1, Mike Atkinson1, and Joe Dispenza2
    • Heart Mind 2018; 2:70-7. DOI: 10.4103/hm.hm_4_19.1. HeartMath Institute, CA. 2. Encephalon, LLC, WA, USA.
    • Download the complete paper, click here.



Heart rate variability (HRV), the change in the time intervals between successive pairs of heartbeats, is influenced by interdependent regulatory systems operating over different time scales to adapt to psychological challenges and environmental demands. Low age-adjusted HRV is predictive of upcoming health challenges in healthy people as well as a wide range of diseases in patients and correlates with all-cause mortality. 24h HRV recordings are considered the "gold standard" and have greater predictive power on health risk than short-term recordings. However, it is not typically costeffective or practical to acquire 24h HRV recordings. This has led to the growing use of short-term recordings in research and clinical assessments.


The first study examined the correlations between a 10min restingstate period, a 1min paced deep breathing protocol, response to handgrip, and 24h HRV measures in 28 healthy individuals. Based on the results of the initial study, the primary study examined the correlations between the 1min paced deep breathing assessment and 24h measures in a general population of 805 individuals.


The highest correlations for the HRV variables were with the vagally mediated sources of HRV. The 1min paced deep breathing was positively correlated with 24h highfrequency power (r = 0.60, P < 0.01), root mean square of successive difference (r = 0.62, P < 0.01), lowfrequency (LF) power (r = 0.64, P < 0.01), veryLF power (r = 0.57, P < 0.01) total power (r = 0.42, P < 0.01), standard deviation of normaltonormal interval (SDNN) index (r = 0.59, P < 0.01), and SDNN (r = 0.41, P < 0.01).


The findings from this study suggest that the 1min paced deep breathing protocol is an ideal shortterm assessment that can be used in a health risk screening context. When low values are observed, it is recommended that a 24h assessment be conducted.