Background: Eurythmy therapy (EYT) is a mind-body therapy used in anthroposophic medicine. Recently, the authors were able to show that at comparable workloads, EYT stimulated heart rate variability (HRV) whereas conventional ergometer training attenuated HRV. Furthermore, a long-term improvement of quality of life (QoL) and stress coping strategies by EYT could be shown.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the long-term effects of EYT training on HRV.
Design: A total of 23 healthy women (mean age = 44.57 ± 8.04 years) performed 10 hours of EYT over a period of 6 weeks. Electrocardiograms were recorded before and after the EYT trial. HRV was quantified by the extent of high (HF), low (LF), very low (VLF), and ultra low frequency (ULF) oscillations of heart rate.
Results: Autonomic regulation was significantly changed following the EYT training compared with baseline. Especially the proportion referring to the total power (P) of HF/P and LF/P increased, whereas ULF/P and (ULF+VLF)/P decreased after the training period.
Conclusion: EYT shifted the autonomic regulation proportionally referring to the total power mainly caused by changes of ULF and VLF components of HRV. The LF and HF spectral components were also decreased following EYT while their proportion in relation to the total variance of the power spectrum was increased. The proportional enhancement of the higher frequency and the decrease of the ULF and VLF components are probably an indicator of an improvement of autonomic regulation processes by more relaxed physical activity after the EYT training, thus supporting the plausibility of the improved QoL and better stress coping strategies.