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Heart Rate Variability, the autonomic nervous system, and Chiropractic

"Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measurement of the time intervals between adjacent heartbeats. Variability in heart rate reflects the vagal tone and sympathetic function of the autonomic nervous system, and has been used as a monitoring tool for clinical conditions characterized by altered autonomic nervous system function." The above quote is from a review paper by Dr. Christopher Kent regarding the association of heart rate variability in assessing autonomic nervous system function and vertebral subluxation. Dr. Kent proposes that thermography and heart rate variability (HRV) can be used as a measure of a chiropractic patient's autonomic nervous system in relation to the neurological dysregulation associated with vertebral subluxation.  What this means is that if your spine is interfering with your nerves, your heart rate variability could be bad.  By measuring this change in a patient, clinical improvement can be measured and observed objectively. This same technology is making is found in smart watches and other devices.  I personally have used this technology as a measure of exhaustion and performance through my Suunto watch for running.  Keep an eye out for heart rate variability to make it into more and more devices, as it offers a view into the functioning of your brain and nervous system!

What other industries are finding connections to heart rate variability or HRV?

A 2018 paper by Kent (link just below), highlights studies that have "...reported the potential utility of HRV" Kent C (2018) titled Chiropractic and Mental Health: History and Review of Putative Neurobiological Mechanisms. Jou Neuro Psy An Brain Res: JNPB-103.
"studies have reported the potential utility of HRV in the evaluation of conditions and states associated with autonomic dysregulation. These include": -carotid intima media thickness -prediction of mortality -multiple sclerosis -eating behavior -burnout and depression -chronic posttraumatic stress disorder -working memory performance -dementia -inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis -insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome -type 1 diabetes -cardiac autonomic nerve function in obese school-age children -cancer prognosis -cognition 
Follow the links above and grow your interest in how the Autonomic Nervous System influences our lives.   What are you doing to help your Autonomic Nervous System function?    " ["post_title"]=> string(41) "Autonomic Nervous System and Chiropractic" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(37) "autonomic-nervous-system-chiropractic" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-10-26 20:38:25" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-10-26 20:38:25" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(39) "https://www.erinmillshealth.com/?p=1050" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } -->
Chiropractic care

Autonomic Nervous System and Chiropractic

Chiropractic care can help many health problems due to its impact on the autonomic nervous system.


 The brain controls the body’s ability to adapt

Transcript from video of Dr. Peever speaking in Mississauga:
Your body has a far greater ability to heal then you’re led to believe and the curious part that connects to this, it’s co-ordinated by your brain! Remember that your brain connects to everything. It co-ordinates how your body heals, functions and adapts – It is essentially an adaptation machine. It adapts, you challenge it, it adapts. It takes time but it learns. It figures out new ways to solve problems.

I hope that you are curious to learn more about how the brain adapts and how the autonomic nervous system connects to chiropractic.  Read on and get curious to make changes to your nervous system! Chiropractic can help.


The research paper linked below highlights the evidence to date (2009) regarding the impact that the spine and nervous system has on the function and healing of the body functions. As a practicing Chiropractor, I enjoy reading papers like this that summarize the research in the past as well as pull it together to learning points with quotes. Check it out:


What a great read of some of the evidence to date regarding the autonomic nervous system.

The quotes were great to read in terms of quick lessons with great wording. The list of papers that have researched into this domain is impressive as well.

In Chiropractic, we have a huge admiration for the nerve system. The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nerve system which is out of our conscious control. It is the “automatic” system. This autonomic system is incredible at running our bodies and has an incredible ability to adapt itself and our bodies to the experiences it runs into.

As a Chiropractor, we try to stimulate, assist, encourage, support, and adjust the autonomic nerve system. When this system functions better, the body is able to handle so much more. This is why we see so many incredible things happen in our patients who are adjusted. They come in to our offices with problems that they “…thought would go away.” These problems can be anything from athlete’s foot to adenoids problems. When we check the patient’s spine, we are looking for where the spine and nerve system are struggling. The term we use to describe this in Chiropractic is subluxation. The term in this paper to describe this process is segmental neurospinal dysfunction as well as the vertebral subluxation complex. When we use specific Chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxations in the patients spine and nerve system, the autonomic system gets back into the proper gear and can appropriately address the challenges that have been negatively impacting the patient.

Besides watching the improvement of a patient clinically over time, the autonomic nerve system can be watched working through special tests. Some of the tests include thermography, surface emg, and heart rate variability. It is really amazing to see patients whole neurological system balance after a course of Chiropractic care.

Check out this article on the effect of Chiropractic care on heart rate variability and pay in a multi-site clinical study.

This paper also describes aspects for researchers to look into in the future which will be exciting for a practicing Chiropractor in the field to read, watch evolve, and further our understanding of how a specific Chiropractic adjustment of a subluxation positively impacts a person’s health naturally.

Read this story below from Dr. Fred Barge as he communicates how Chiropractic can help with people suffering with many different health problems because of its impact on the nervous system.

“If this is your first Chiropractic experience, you may wonder why you see so many patients at this clinic. Let’s say you came to us for care of your backache because this is a common reason for people to seek Chiropractic care. You may wonder then that so many, many people are suffering like you, assuming that they all have backaches. Wrong! The patients you see are suffering from many different problems. I often say, “From adenoids to athlete’s foot.” Now before you say, “absurd, you Chiropractors claim to cure everything,” let me explain. Chiropractors do not claim to cure anything! We quite simply say only the body heals, but if your body has nerve pressure because the spine is out of line, it can cause many health problems.” – Dr. Fred H. Barge, D.C.

Dr. Fred Barge had an amazing ability to communicate Chiropractic.

The above description from him is one of my favourites. It not only comments on how people suffering with many different health challenges find help through Chiropractic care, but also touches in the vitalistic values of Chiropractic.

Here to help,

Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health

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