Characteristics of resonance in heart rate variability stimulated by biofeedback

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2006 Jun;31(2):129-42. doi: 10.1007/s10484-006-9009-3.


As we previously reported, resonant frequency heart rate variability biofeedback increases baroreflex gain and peak expiratory flow in healthy individuals and has positive effects in treatment of asthma patients. Biofeedback readily produces large oscillations in heart rate, blood pressure, vascular tone, and pulse amplitude via paced breathing at the specific natural resonant frequency of the cardiovascular system for each individual. This paper describes how resonance properties of the cardiovascular system mediate the effects of heart rate variability biofeedback. There is evidence that resonant oscillations can train autonomic reflexes to provide therapeutic effect. The paper is based on studies described in previous papers. Here, we discuss the origin of the resonance phenomenon, describe our procedure for determining an individual's resonant frequency, and report data from 32 adult asthma patients and 24 healthy adult subjects, showing a negative relationship between resonant frequency and height, and a lower resonant frequency in men than women, but no relationship between resonant frequency and age, weight, or presence of asthma. Resonant frequency remains constant across 10 sessions of biofeedback training. It appears to be related to blood volume.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / physiology*
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Carbon Dioxide