Ever wondered why acupuncture is beneficial for so many different health problems? One of the reasons is that it helps regulate some of the physiological systems that control the balance between our stress response and our relaxation response. Measuring Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is one of the ways that we can measure this balance.

HRV is a measure of the dynamic balance between the sympathetic nervous system (‘fight or flight’) and the parasympathetic nervous system (‘rest and digest’). The Chinese classics refer to these aspects as Yin and Yang.

Measuring HRV is a good way to measure the benefits of acupuncture because, it’s a Western biomarker that’s consistent with Chinese medical theory. Improving HRV is tantamount to improving resilience, adaptability and inter-systems communication, thus promoting the body’s self-healing mechanisms. This global homeostatic regulation may be why acupuncture is helpful for so many different clinical conditions.

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