Vagal Tone Biofeedback: Respiratory and Non-respiratory Mediated Modulations of Vagal tone Challenged by Cold Pressor Test
Deficient parasympathetic activity to the heart has been hypothesized to underlie some forms of cardiovascular disease. Consequently, this experiment attempted to induce non- respiratory mediated increases in cardiac parasympathetic activity. Thirty-nine subjects were asked to increase their vagal tone using biofeedback, paced breathing, biofeedback plus paced breathing, or quiet sitting. The cold pressor test was used to examine the relative efficacy of vagal tone increase to mitigate cardiovascular reactivity. Repeated measures ANOVAs and t-tests revealed significant increases in vagal tone for the paced breathing, and biofeedback plus paced breathing groups, relative to controls. However, the quality of these increases could not be tested using the cold pressor test because the test failed to produce homogeneous cardiac reactivity.
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