One of the systems that helps regulate our cardiovascular homeostasis is the arterial baroreflex system.
Within this system are sensors in artery walls that stretch or relax the arteries in reaction to blood pressure changes. These sensors trigger reflexes that increase or decrease heart rate to compensate for shifts in blood pressure.
High baroreflex sensitivity in people is generally associated with health and wellness; as we age, become ill, or undergo stress, however, the sensitivity of the baroreflex sensors declines, making it harder to maintain homeostasis for the cardiovascular system.
This reduced sensitivity blunts the flexibility of the body’s self-regulatory system and can be associated with numerous problems and disorders.
We are developing systems to improve baroreflex sensitivity.
By exercising our baroreflexes through exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction we can improve baroreflex sensitivity.
There are other methods that fewer people have heard about.
In the 1960s, physiologists studying respiratory sinus arrhythmia — natural changes in heartbeat when breathing in and out — showed strong evidence of cardiovascular system resonance when breathing at a slow rate (about 5–6 breaths per minute), indicated by high swings in heart rate.
In the 1980s, Russian physiologist Evgeny Vaschillo theorized that the baroreflex system’s closed feedback loop has control processes that provide this resonant property.
Theoretically, any rhythmical stimulation of the cardiovascular system — breathing rate or another method — should elicit high amplitude oscillations in cardiovascular function at its resonant frequency.
This is what we’re working on at Vagus Labs.