Autonomic Rehabilitation: Adapting to Change

Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2020 Nov;31(4):633-648. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2020.07.003. Epub 2020 Sep 8.


Adaption to changes of external environment or internal health, the body-mind connection, or autonomic nervous system must be flexible and healthy. Population health studies with wearable technology and remote monitoring will lead to paradigm shifts in how to approach the physiology of emotion. Heart rate variability as a whole health biomarker could emerge as a foundation for a process beginning with objective habits and skills of real-time modulation with focused breathing for healthier decision making and autonomic health trajectory change. Physical medicine and rehabilitation is uniquely poised to refine an autonomic rehabilitation process in an integrative manner to help individuals adapt.

Keywords: Adaptation; Autonomic health and rehabilitation; Dysautonomia; Heart rate variability and biofeedback; Parasympathetic health; Placebo analgesia; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Chronic Pain / physiopathology*
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Respiration*