Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback (2016) 41:263–274 DOI 10.1007/s10484-015-9330-9

Abbreviated Resonant Frequency Training to Augment Heart Rate Variability and Enhance On-Demand Emotional Regulation in Elite Sport Support Staff

Mike J. Gross1 • David A. Shearer1 • Joy D. Bringer2 • Ross Hall1 • Christian J. Cook3 • Liam P. Kilduff4

Abstract: Augment Heart Rate Variability

Support and management staff in elite sport experience work-related stress and emotional disturbance to a similar extent as athletes (Fletcher and Wagstaff 2009). 

The resonant frequency breathing technique (Lehrer et al. 2000) can inhibit autonomic changes associated with stressful situations or events and as such provides a potential emotional regulation tool. 

The Study

The present study utilized five practitioner-led heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback sessions and home practice via mobile applications to train support and management staff (n = 9) in resonant frequency breathing techniques. 

Although base- line HRV did not change from pre to post training, par- ticipants increased total HRV (i.e., SDNN; p = .006), parasympathetic HRV (i.e., RMSSD; p = .028) and HRV reflective of baroreflex function (i.e., low frequency power; p = .018) while accurately performing resonant frequency breathing without a breath pacer. 

Post-intervention questionnaire data revealed an increase (p = .032) in the habitual use of somatic strategies for emotional regulation, and social validation data suggested that the technique enhanced emotional regulation at home, work, and during international competition. 

Augment Heart Rate Variability biofeedback and the resonant frequency technique provided an on-demand emotional regulation technique for elite sport support and management staff.