Measuring your physiological response to stress:
The Stress Test is a very effective and accurate method of measuring your physiological stress response. It is a 12 – 18 minute computerized test, a totally non-invasive examination using instrumentation found in research facilities around the world. Sensors are attached to different parts of your body this may include areas such as your shoulders and jaw muscles, the EEG sensor on the scalp, temperature / heart rate / sweat gland measuring from the palm of your hand. There are no needles or any form of skin penetration.
This portion of the exam concerns the ability of the brain to be busy when necessary and to rest when necessary. Stress events like the math test, noises and breathing exercise require brain activity (increased Beta) and when relaxed, increased Alpha/Theta.
Heart Rate Variability
Heart rate variability (HRV) is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats. It is measured by the variation in the beat-to-beat interval.
Heart rate variability is an effective method of measuring the effects that stress has on your cardiovascular system but also your resilience levels to stress. Heart rate variability monitoring offers an accurate look at your health, recovery, and performance potential.
We have long been aware of the importance of heart rate in maintaining good health responses; however, just taking a person's pulse isn't enough information to tell us what happens during stress situations. The stress test gives us a chance to see what speeds up the heart rate and how quickly it can return to normal. There is a direct relationship between breathing and heart rates.
The amount of moisture produced by the sweat glands in the hands is a direct result of stress. More hand moisture means a higher stress response. We can measure your ability to reduce the effects of your stressors. This means improved neurological responses.
The normal response to stress is for the body to withdraw blood volume from the extremities and pool it in the organs. This action reduces the temperature in the hands and feet.
While we are aware of changes in respiration rate during exertion, we seldom use it as a measurement of health. As there is a relationship between stress and oxygen requirement, the respiratory rate is very important. The pattern of breathing is equally as important, such as chest elevation versus diaphragmatic breathing.
We can measure muscle activity throughout the body in both relaxed resting mode or in active motion mode. The trapezius and the muscles of the face are good indicators of over-tightened muscles due to stress responses.
From this computerized interactive test, we can compare your neurological responses and recovery to different types of stress challenges. Then we can offer you choices and training programmes that will focus on improving your response /reaction towards stress in your life – enabling you to become more resilient.