Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback (2016) 41:141–150 DOI 10.1007/s10484-015-9319-4
Effects of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback on EEG Alpha Asymmetry and Anxiety Symptoms in Male Athletes: A Pilot Study
Inga Dziembowska1,2 • Paweł Izdebski2 • Anna Rasmus2 • Janina Brudny2,3 • Marta Grzelczak4 • Piotr Cysewski5
Effects of Anxiety Symptoms is healed through Heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BFB) has been shown as useful tool to manage stress in various populations.
The present study was designed to investigate whether the biofeedback-based stress management tool consisting of rhythmic breathing, actively self-generated positive emotions and a portable biofeedback device induce changes in athletes’ HRV, EEG patterns, and self- reported anxiety and self-esteem.
The study involved 41 healthy male athletes, aged 16–21 (mean 18.34 ± 1.36) years.
Participants were randomly divided into two groups:
- Athletes in the biofeedback group received HRV biofeedback training
- Athletes in the control group didn’t receive any intervention.
During the randomized controlled trial (days 0–21), the mean anxiety score declined significantly for the intervention group (change-4 p \ 0.001) but not for the control group (p = 0.817).
In addition, as compared to the control, athletes in biofeedback group showed substantial and statistically significant improvement in heart rate variability indices and changes in power spectra of both theta and alpha brain waves, and alpha asymmetry. These changes suggest better self-control in the central nervous system and better flexibility of the autonomic nervous system in the group that received biofeedback training. A HRV biofeedback-based stress management tool may be bene- ficial for stress reduction for young male athletes.