Big Difference In Hrv Sense App And Inner Balance App

Hey There,


 


I've been using a Polar H7 chest strap with the HRV Sense app to monitor my stress levels. What i've noticed is that when I use both. Inner balance with sensor on ipad and polar h7 with hrv sense on iphone. My inner balance will say I'm in high coherence, upper green wth with coherence at ~6/8 but my HRV Sense app will say I'm high in stress :-S.


 


Does anyone have a logical explanation for this.


 


Thank you!


Comments

  • I had the same question when I was first learning about HRV.


     


    The reason they can be so different is that they are totally different measurements.  With the Inner Balance, Heart Math is measuring how smoothly your heartrate increases as you breathe in and decreases as you breathe out.  While this absolutely decreases your stress and sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight), it is not a direct measure of true HRV.  Sweetbeat/HRV sense get the stress score most likely from the RMSSD (root mean square of standard deviation between heartbeats), which has been shown in research literature as a fairly accurate surrogate for parasympathetic nervous system tone (opposite of fight or flight).  I've tested probably a dozen HRV related apps and read everything I could get my hands on, and this is my conclusion. 


     


    Training with Inner Balance/emWave may help reduce your stress score on HRV sense over time.


     


    I've used both systems quite a lot, and my advice for Sweetbeat/HRV sense is to use it under the same circumstances many times over a period of time.  Then, you can use it to really see if things you are doing are decreasing your stress as measured by HRV.  A simple setup would be to take a 1 minute reading every morning when you first wake up (most research has been done with 5 minutes, but 1 minute is nearly jsut as good).  Try an intervention like meditation for 3 weeks, and track if your readings improve. 


     


    Cheers,


    -Gabe

  • Thanks for your explanation Gabe, sounds logical! I will test out your recommendations about the HRV sense.


     


    I've also read that some people meditate using the inner balance sensor and app. When I do that, i will always get a low coherence because I'm probably way to relaxed and not alert. Do you know if there is a right or specific way to meditate with the inner balance app?


  • I'm no expert, but practice and making it a habit are the best recommendations I can give.  If you want "green" with the Inner Balance, you have to breathe with the pacer.  If you are so relaxed that your breathing isn't in sync with the device, you will not get "green" reliably. 


  • After committing to daily emWave training, where I now routinely get in the green zone at Highest level, I went from a resting HRV (measured by HRV sense just sitting down for 5 minutes with a Zephyr chest strap) in the low 50s back in December to being in the low 70s today.  I'm fairly certain that this would not have been possible without doing the daily emWave training. 




  • After committing to daily emWave training, where I now routinely get in the green zone at Highest level, I went from a resting HRV (measured by HRV sense just sitting down for 5 minutes with a Zephyr chest strap) in the low 50s back in December to being in the low 70s today.  I'm fairly certain that this would not have been possible without doing the daily emWave training. 




    Nice.

  • SystemSystem mod
    edited August 2014


     If you want "green" with the Inner Balance, you have to breathe with the pacer.  If you are so relaxed that your breathing isn't in sync with the device, you will not get "green" reliably. 




    In real-life stressful situations, you won't be afforded a breathing pacer. Therefore, it's best to practice without looking at it, imo.


     


    Dave really mastered the whole HRV thing by practicing while driving, which obviously means his eyes were not on the pacer.


  • There's a reason why the Green Bay Packers prepare for home playoff games in a heated facility.  You need to master the fundamentals under ideal conditions before you can worry about the elements.  I say use every crutch that the software provides to get yourself into the Green zone 80% of the time on highest level consistently - then start taking things away.


     


    I do think it is important to establish ideal contidions if you're going to use your emWave scores to quantify your health.  1 five minute session at the same time every day under the same conditions will give an indication about whether you are overtrained, overstressed, or really just shouldn't be drinking bourbon the night before.


     


    I'm seriously impressed with those who can keep it green while driving - anybody doing that on highest level?  I'd be shocked.  Not sure it's a good idea to do while driving unless you're stuck in traffic.


  • SystemSystem mod
    edited August 2014


    There's a reason why the Green Bay Packers prepare for home playoff games in a heated facility.  You need to master the fundamentals under ideal conditions before you can worry about the elements.  I say use every crutch that the software provides to get yourself into the Green zone 80% of the time on highest level consistently - then start taking things away.


     


    I do think it is important to establish ideal contidions if you're going to use your emWave scores to quantify your health.  1 five minute session at the same time every day under the same conditions will give an indication about whether you are overtrained, overstressed, or really just shouldn't be drinking bourbon the night before.


     


    I'm seriously impressed with those who can keep it green while driving - anybody doing that on highest level?  I'd be shocked.  Not sure it's a good idea to do while driving unless you're stuck in traffic.




    I like the football analogy. Speaking of the Packers, I'm hoping the o-line stays healthy this year. They were working with a patch-work offensive line last year.


     


    Also, hopefully, the secondary is shored up now with the addition of HaHa Clinton-Dix.


     


    I emwave while driving about an hour a day. I could get in the green zone for about 70% of the time on the high setting (level 3). I haven't used the breathing pacer in a while. Maybe I should start using it again.


  • It's impressive.  Do you not think about the breathing at all?  


     




    I like the football analogy. Speaking of the Packers, I'm hoping the o-line stays healthy this year. They were working with a patch-work offensive line last year.


     


    Also, hopefully, the secondary is shored up now with the addition of HaHa Clinton-Dix.


     


    I emwave while driving about an hour a day. I could get in the green zone for about 70% of the time on the high setting (level 3). I haven't used the breathing pacer in a while. Maybe I should start using it again.




  • It's impressive. Do you not think about the breathing at all?




    I just breathe in and out very deeply and try to make each breath as consistent as possible in terms of duration to the next breath. I also focus on the area of my heart.
  • Many of you have probably seen a version of the graphic below.  I would like to explain it from a physiology standpoint first.


     


    The tracing below that is called "normal" is what Heart Math refers to as coherence.  It is much easier to achieve this state if one is relaxed or feeling centered.  That said, rhythmic deep breathing produces a tracing like this even under stress.  When you breathe in, there is a decrease in intra-thoracic pressure, allowing more space in the chest for the heart and coronary blood vessels.  This is one mechanism that allows for the heart rate to speed up with inhalation.  Also, there is a decrease in vagus nerve tone, which is like releasing your foot from the brake pedal in a car.  This happens because the diaphragm muscle is relaxed.


     


    When we breathe out, there is an increase in intra-thoracic pressure, and less room for the heart and coronary vessels in the chest cavity.  This compression leads to a physiological decrease in blood flow, which slows the heart rate.  At the same time, there is more signal from the vagus nerve, caused by contraction of the diaphragm.  This is like the brain putting on the brake pedal in a car to slow heart rate.  


     


    Try it out for yourself under various conditions (stress, relaxation, really anytime).  A simple pulse-oximeter can be used to see the effect, or you can watch your heart rate tracing with an emWave connected to your computer.  Stress Doctor by Azumio is a great app for iOS to see a nice graph of increase and decrease in heart rate over time using the phone's camera.


     


     


    heartmath-innerbalance-hrv.jpg


     


     


    The tracing on top in the image that says "stressed" would not be possible if the person was taking rhythmic deep breaths, even if under stress.  That said, usually when we are stressed, or angry, we take shallow and irregular breaths, which probably leads to a tracing like the one in the picture. 


    Deep rhythmic breathing, and focusing on the heart/breathing is likely to produce a coherence pattern and relaxation.   Zeke is right that you don't have to watch the meter the whole time to accomplish this.  You will probably score "green" more easily if you do, however.


     


    I also need to give credit to Alex from the forums for finding the post below.  Sweetbeat actually measures stress as a high LF/HF (high frequency/low frequency) ratio, not from RMSSD as I suggested in my first post.  iThlete and HRV4T use RMSSD as a surrogate for parasympathetic nervous system activity (higher number = less stress).


     


    http://sweetwaterhrv.com/blog/uncategorized/what-if-your-sweetbeat-stress-level-is-high-because-of-coherence/


     


    If you want to convert RMSSD into the numbers you get from iThlete or HRV4T, use the formula below:


     


    iThlete score = ln(RMSSD) * 20


    HRV4T score = ln(RMSSD) * 2


     


    I've spent way too much time reading about heart rate variability, and playing with apps and devices.  This includes reading research literature, so feel free to hit me up with any questions.


     


    -Gabe


  • thanks for the info gabe! you broke that down really well,  but i would definitely like to take you up on the offer to answer some questions! i've never heard of ithlete or hrv4t, is there a way to get your hrv from emwave/innerbalance coherence score? out of all of the various devices and apps you've tried, which ones have you found to be most useful/informative/enjoyable? do you have any favorite articles that you can share that really demonstrate the value of hrv training, something that will make even the biggest skeptics consider trying it? its one of those things that is kind of challenging to tell skeptical people about without setting off their new age bullshit detector.


     


    i use my emwave pretty regularly, usually at least once or twice a day, sometimes a few times, and i always have my sessions be 6 minutes long for consistency, that way i can look at the scores and notice dips/spikes in my ability to maintain high coherence. sometimes i question whether its really measuring anything of value because i'll find myself getting high scores at times i wouldn't expect and vice versa. like, really good sessions 30min. after an intense workout, or not-so-good sessions when i am actually in a pretty good mood. it makes me tempted to dismiss the whole thing as a barnum effect where everyone using it is justifying their good or bad scores regardless. but then there are times where it is consistent and gives scores that seem like they were definitely representative of the state i was in. 


  • GabeGabe
    edited August 2014

    drumminangoleiro,


     


    1.  emWave/Inner Balance doesn't measure "true" HRV, it measures "coherence".  I love Heart Math and what they do, but it is not really heart rate variability in the scientific sense.  I think of these devices as stress trainers.  They are totally valuable in that way.


     


    2.  There are several standard measures in research literature on HRV that are measured and talked about.  This includes HF, LF, LF/HF, AVNN, SDNN, rMSSD, pNN50.  In my own reading I have found that rMSSD is the easiest and most commonly used measure to use to get a sense of your parasympathetic (not stressed) nervous system activity. 


     


    This article shows a significant increase in death rates in epileptic patients with lower RMSSD scores:


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20667792 - RMSSD, a measure of vagus-mediated heart rate variability, is associated with risk factors for SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy): the SUDEP-7 Inventory.


     


    This article shows that both obesity and stress lower heart rate variability (RMSSD):


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25042859 - Impact of obesity and stress on neuromuscular fatigue development and associated heart rate variability.


     


    There are hundreds of articles out there.  HRV has been studied extensively in congestive heart failure patients, and has been used as a predictor of mortality.  Try searching for "heart rate variability" on PubMed.gov, you will find a plethora of info.  You can suggest that your skeptical friends look there for information.  It will be harder to find scientific data on "coherence" outside of what is done at the Heart Math Institute, although there are some articles on the benefits of HRVCB (Heart Rate Variability Coherence Biofeedback) on PubMed as well.


     


    3.  I have gone through phases with favorite apps and devices.  The three that I use currently with consistency are for iPhone:


    • - HRV4Training by Marco Altini - I check a daily HRV reading when I wake up in the morning.  It helps to think about what you have been doing in the days prior that may affect it, like strenuous physical activity, eating well or poorly, sleep quality and quantity, emotional stress.  My highest scores by far recently were during a much needed vacation to Seattle to visit one of my best friends from residency.
    • - Camera HRV also by Marco Altini - I use this app to "spot check" my HRV whenever I want to during the day.  I record for 1 minute, then look at the RMSSD.  I sometimes do the math to compare results to what HRV4Training gives me.  I love it because Marco has validated that you can measure true HRV with the phone camera (no chest strap), and shows how it's done on his website with nice graphs and statistics. 
    • - HeartRate+ by SoftArea - The closest approximation to an InnerBalance/emWave experience without need for an external sensor

     


    4.  Remember that "coherence" is just a smooth sinewave pattern on the graph of your heart rate.  It can be achieved in times of stress and times of relaxation if you do the right things to cause the expected physiological change that is being measured.  Try to "game" your device by doing fairly foreceful breathing from your diaphragham on your next session.


     


    5.  Good stress can temporarily lower HRV as well.  During and after exercise HRV would be expected to go down compared to baseline.  In the longterm HRV will increase with more training (as long as you are not overtrained). 


  • No, but I do like his apps
  • Thanks Guys, very useful information!


  • You are most welcome Moodswing!


     


    So I don't seem too biased in favor of Marco Altini's apps, here are some of the other iPhone apps I've tried.  


     


    1.  BreatheSync (Stillworks) - a great HRV based breath pacer.  Very minimal, nice design.  I used this for quite a while, but eventually dropped it in favor of HeartRate+ because it provided more options and more feedback.  If minimalism and elegance are your thing, this is your app.


    2.  Stress Doctor (Azumio) - this is still an excellent app.  It can be hard to figure out how to get a high score (yin-yang's), but as a visual tool to see your heart rate go up and down, this one is perfect.  Doesn't generate any HRV data like RMSSD.  Works fairly well to practice coherence.  I would like to see it updated for larger screen iPhone's.


    3.  Inner Balance (Heart Math) - probably the best coherence trainer.  Downsides are price, requiring an external sensor, and lack of providing true HRV data.  


     


    Disclosure for why I like Marco's stuff so much is that he's an indie developer, but also a PhD candidate.   His PhD focus is "to develop algorithms able to derive individualized assessment of physical activity behavior (activity type recognition, energy expenditure estimation) and health markers (cardiorespiratory fitness estimation) in free living conditions, using wearable sensors".  In other words, he's a smart, motivated, passionate guy, and i think he's trying to help us all.   


  • what would you say are the main differences between his various apps? i got the HRV4Training one, 3 more days before i have a baseline for that. but there are a few others...how are they different? its kinda hard to tell just  by reading the descriptions what the value of each one is. 


  • 1.  HRV4Training - Daily AM measure of HRV for athletic or other training


    2.  Camera Heart Rate Variability - True HRV using iPhone camera without need for external sensor


    3.  Heart Rate Variability Logger - same as Camera HRV, but for use with a bluetooth chest strap.  Good for continuous monitoring (like during an event you want to track


    4.  Stressed Out - Similar to HRV4Training, but designed to use to coach decreasing psychological stress.  I tried it but found that I didn't need it, so I can't comment much on this one


    5.  Activity App - Multi tracker.  Requires at least iPhone 5s for Activity tracking.  I downloaded this one, but never had a need for it yet so I deleted it from my phone.




  •  


    The reason they can be so different is that they are totally different measurements.  With the Inner Balance, Heart Math is measuring how smoothly your heartrate increases as you breathe in and decreases as you breathe out.  While this absolutely decreases your stress and sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight), it is not a direct measure of true HRV.  Sweetbeat/HRV sense get the stress score most likely from the RMSSD (root mean square of standard deviation between heartbeats), which has been shown in research literature as a fairly accurate surrogate for parasympathetic nervous system tone (opposite of fight or flight).  I've tested probably a dozen HRV related apps and read everything I could get my hands on, and this is my conclusion. 


     


     




     


    Hi Gabe, it's not the RMSSD that's used for stress monitoring in SweetBeat, it's the ratio of LF to HF - thus balance of sympathetic vs. parasympathetic as you pointed out.


     


    I interviewed Ronda Collier (CEO sweetbeat) for the Quantified Body podcast earlier this week, we talked about all the metrics and got into a lot of detail about pulling them apart and using them - I'll post up a link when I publish it.

    The Quantified Body Podcast 

     

    Gain Confidence in What You Invest Your Time & Money In.

    Learn from Data-Driven Experiments using New Tools & Tactics to Improve Health, Performance and Longevity

  • Thanks Damien.  Looking forward to checking out your podcast.  


     


    I saw that as well about Sweetbeat using the LF/HF.  Did Rhonda mention why they chose that metric over RMSSD?  I've seen more research literature about RMSSD.  I'm curious what her take on the advantage of either approach is.  Maybe at some point I'll do some comparisons of my own data and see what my relationship between the time-domain and frequency-domain measures gets me.  


     


    As you can probably tell, I'm fairly pleased with a daily AM RMSSD reading for 60 seconds.  I have found it totally useful.  


  • Hi Gabe,


     


    I am curious about the differences you have seen between  Marco Altini's apps and SweetBeat/Hrv Sense.


     


    I use SweetBeat in the morning when I wake up with their 3 minute session that measures HRV and that also gives you the history of your other morning HRV sessions over time.  It does seem to correlate well with good sleep/lack of sleep etc...


     


    I don't look much at their stress score as it doesn't seem to correlate well with how I feel about my stress level.


     


    The HRV number produced by SweetBeat is based on the RMSSD and so is the one by Marco Altini right?


     


    Have you seen some big differences between the HRV number calculated by SweetBeat versus the one calculated by Marco's app?

  • Ioan,


     


    I think they do a similar job in terms of quality of information.  If you want to record data while exercising, or over time, I would go with SweetBeat.  If you want to take a simple spot reading for 1-5 minutes without external hardware, I would use Marco's apps.  I would break that down into using HRV4Training if you want an app that graphs HRV over time and correlates it with training by design.  I would use Camera HRV if you want more flexibility and more data, and feel like you have a better understanding of how to interpret HRV metrics (or you want to learn).


     


    -Gabe


  • NickatNickat
    edited September 2014

    Goldmine of info on this thread. Thanks. The android versions seem more reliable than in the past and that has rekindled the flame to try them out again.


  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    Just scanned through this thread... FYI  all your questions are FAQs in this forum, Daves podcast and on the sweetbeat homepage as well... Stress can be seen as something positive as well..like excitement... so this is why HRV and Stress are seen as two different things..


     


    The algorithms for the apps are different. all apps I know go from 1-100 but it doesn't mean HRV 100 on app a is necessarily 100 on app b. sweetbeat just changed their algorithm because people reached the 100 score and couldn't go beyond...


     


    HRV and Coherence are two different thing. HRV is your heart rate variablity. The ability to change time between heart beats quickly. Coherence is basically a state of mind that has positive influence on you HRV.


     


    See it as the opposite state of fight or flight mode which probably isn't correct but kind of what you are trying to achieve by being in a coherent state.... :) We should make a sticky for these questions.


     


    Cheers


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  • JohanJohan

    Hello,

    I would like to use HeartMath for its healt benefits.

    Is there an app out there that does the same thing as HeartMath and does it as well?

    An app that attracts me is called EliteHRV. It has guided breathing among other things. Does its guided breathing do the same thing as what HeartMath does?

    FYI, the last comment in this discussion was two and a half years ago.

    Thank you!

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