Singing at 0.1 Hz as a Resonance Frequency Intervention to Reduce Cardiovascular Stress Reactivity?

Author: Sandra Tanzmeister1, Christian Rominger1, Bernhard Weber1, Josef M Tatschl1, Andreas R Schwerdtfeger1
1 Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
Conference/Journal: Front Psychiatry
Date published: 2022 Apr 27
Other: Volume ID: 13 , Pages: 876344 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.876344. , Word Count: 194

Slow breathing at 6 breaths per min (corresponding to ~ 0.1 Hz) has been found to benefit psychological and physical health. In this study, we aimed to examine if paced singing at 0.1 Hz has beneficial acute effects on physiological function as compared to slow breathing. Participants were randomized to one of four experimental interventions prior to performing a mental stress task: paced breathing at 0.1 Hz (n = 26), paced singing at 0.1 Hz (n = 26), spontaneous breathing (n = 24), or spontaneous singing (n = 25). Heart rate, heart rate variability in the low (LF-HRV) and high frequency (HF-HRV) domain, blood pressure and affective wellbeing were assessed. As expected, both paced breathing and paced singing resulted in elevated LF-HRV. Moreover, both singing groups evidenced increases in heart rate, blood pressure and positive affect, thus indicating elevated sympathetic activation. Breathing and singing at 0.1 Hz had no robust effect on cardiovascular stress reactivity. Findings suggest that paced singing could constitute a promising alternative to slow paced breathing as it increases cardiovascular coherence, although more studies are needed to elucidate whether slow breathing and/or singing could ameliorate acute stress responses.

Keywords: cardiovascular resonance; coherent breathing; heart rate variability; mental stress; resonance breathing.

PMID: 35573368 PMCID: PMC9091602 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.876344