Frequently Asked Questions

Software/App If you have a problem with your software or app then in the first instance, please go to our US site where we have a comprehensive support library. You can access it here https://www.heartmath.com/support/

Devices/Hardware If you have a problem with your hardware (sensor) then please email info@heartmath.co.uk and we will assist you from our UK office.
HeartMath is a way to transform stress into resilience in the moment. We have created a number of fast and powerful techniques which put you into an optimal state called coherence. Coherence is a real, scientifically measurable state in which the Autonomic Nervous System is in balance. When you are coherent you are able to think clearly and objectively.

In addition to the HeartMath techniques there is biofeedback technology.
Wikipedia defines biofeedback as “… the process of gaining greater awareness of many physiological functions primarily using instruments that provide information on the activity of those same systems, with a goal of being able to manipulate them at will.”

HeartMath’s innovative emWave® and Inner Balance™ biofeedback technologies give you real-time insight into your emotional, mental and physical state. In simple terms you use our biofeedback to learn and practice coherence.

The emWave and Inner Balance devices provide measurement of your heart rhythms (known as Heart Rate Variability or HRV) and let you see your level of coherence as you practice. This increases your metal, physical and emotional self-awareness and helps you develop the ability to achieve coherence on demand. When you are coherent you are able to self-regulate emotions and behaviours. And because coherence is an optimal state which creates inner balance, it means that your body and brain are able to respond flexibly to demands and to rebalance and recover quickly and effectively after challenge and stress. So using biofeedback to practice coherence regularly is a great way to manage your inner resilience battery.
No. HeartMath’s biofeedback is for practising coherence. There are very few other device which do this.

Most HRV biofeedback devices and apps do not measure coherence. They are used to measure the autonomic nervous system (ANS) either every day (e.g. for 1 minute first thing in the morning) or over a longer period (e.g 36 hours). The purpose of these measurements is to determine the activity within the ANS and to understand how stressed or resilient the individual is. Currently most HRV measurement is used for either sports training (i.e. how over or under trained the individual is and how to optimise their training) or for wellbeing analysis (i.e. how stressed the individual is or is not).

These applications are very useful but they are not the same as HeartMath nor are they a substitute. In fact HeartMath’s HRV technologies and techniques complement these other devices and measurements very well as coherence is a great way to improve sports training recovery and to benefit wellbeing.
No… a bit maybe… it depends what you mean

The word Mindfulness has become very popular and its definition has become very broad. Wikipedia defines it as “… the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”

Here are some of the differences between HeartMath and mindfulness.

  • HeartMath techniques are designed to be used in the moment, with eyes open, especially during challenging and stressful experiences.
  • HeartMath techniques create coherence. Coherence is not relaxation, it is a state of balance within the body and brain (specifically within the autonomic nervous system or ANS). This state is much more appropriate for many of the activities we perform during the day and coherence (balance) can be achieved with both high and low heart rates. For example, you can be coherent in a game of tennis as you prepare to return serve (relatively high heart rate) and you can be coherent as you sit and listen to a friend who is having a hard time (relatively low heart rate). Mindfulness promotes a relaxation response within the ANS. That is hugely beneficial, and we advocate that people practice mindfulness too, but it is not often appropriate or even possible to practice mindfulness during many of the events of our daily lives. It tends to be something you make time for during your day. HeartMath is designed to be practiced as you navigate the highs and lows and ups and downs of your day.
  • Most HeartMath techniques are designed to help you to actively engage in a situation, problem or challenge but from the more balanced and objective state of coherence. Coherence is, therefore, a high-performance state. Mindfulness tends to promote disassociation, non-judgement and observation. Again, this is a very useful skill, but not always appropriate or possible when you need to make decisions, solve problems, engage in objective thinking and navigate challenging communications and relationships.
  • HeartMath promotes a specific breathing pattern, a focus on the heart area and the intentional shift into a positive/pleasant emotion conducive to the situation you are in. Mindfulness promotes attention on breath but not control of it, and observation of emotion but not direction of it.
  • The focus on intentionally shifting emotions in HeartMath has a direct impact on hormones. For example, positive/pleasant emotions like care, appreciation and compassion tend to stimulate the production of both Oxytocin (which buffers the stress response) and DHEA (the “vitality hormone” which helps the body to recover and repair itself). Mindfulness does not impact hormones in this way.
  • HeartMath uses biofeedback as an objective measure and way to practice and validate the impact of the techniques. Mindfulness does not generally utilise biofeedback.
We advise practising using the Inner Balance or emWave for at least 5 minutes 3 times per day. Obviously, more is better, and you tend to get out what you put in!

However, the techniques are designed to be used when you need them, in real time. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have access to the biofeedback technology and so we also advise that people practise the techniques without the technology during situations like difficult conversations, before presentations, when commuting or delayed for meetings – any time you feel stressed.

The technology is like going to the gym to train your coherence muscle. If you train your coherence muscle is will always be strong whenever and wherever you need it.