Science by Sport

Cross country runner looking at sport watch


Baseball

Research on the use of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback has shown a number of positive results when used by athletes, particularly with baseball players. HRV biofeebak is safe, painless, and evidence-based. It focuses on training one’s mental and physical health by using signals from one’s own body. Benefits of HRV biofeedback include:
  • faster reaction time
  • improved hormone balance
  • enhanced cardiac health
  • improved immune system
  • reduced anxiety
  • improved mood
  • clearer thinking
  • reduced muscle tension
After a high school baseball team underwent six (6), 30-minute sessions of HRV biofeedback, a research study found the players experienced:
  • 60% improvement in batting performance (21% improvement in controls)
  • Improved focus, relaxation, and the ability to stay within one’s self during at-bats in game situations
  • Improvements in hitters’ precise timing of live pitches and ability to differentiate between pitches that were balls vs strikes

Gymnastics

  • Competitive performance improvements on the balance beam after neurofeedback and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) training
  • Training consisted of ten (10) sessions over five weeks (Perry, et al, 2011, Biofeedback)

Hockey

  • Hockey players using respiration, skin conductance, and heart rate biofeedback were able to decrease their respiration rates were able to increase the accuracy of their shots on target (stationary-puck and passed-puck conditions)
  • Training consisted of eight (8) sessions focusing on breathing at 6 breaths per minute (Perry, et al, 2011, Biofeedback)

Musicians & Performers
The International Conference of Symphony & Opera Musicians (ICSOM) conducted a survey on the health issues of artists. The results found:

  • 76% reported pain severe enough to affect their performance
  • 72% reported nonmuscular complaints with 24% of respondents experiencing music performance anxiety
  • 68% reported musculoskeletal problems (47.4% in the neck or upper back and 28% in the arms or shoulders)

Biofeedback is a safe, non-invasive approach that teaches performers how to develop their mental and physical skills while reducing disruptive symptoms. More specifically, biofeedback can address stress and anxiety-related symptoms such as, cold, sweaty hands, racing heart, breathlessness, muscle tension, tremor (shaky hands, legs, etc.), shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), and skin changes (blushing & temperature regulation problems).

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