Do you feel like you have lost your balance in life? Is your hormone fluctuation disrupting your overall health and well-being?
This week on The Hormone Prescription Podcast, we are delighted to have Dr. Jay T. Wiles, an international speaker, scientist, clinician, and influencer on the subject of heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback and how it can help restore balance in your life.
Dr. Wiles will discuss why HRV is so important for midlife women and how it can be used as a powerful tool to create hormonal balance through breath-work exercises and other techniques. He'll also explain the effects of stress hormones on health performance and optimization, providing practical tips on how to manage stress naturally through diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and more.
In this episode, you'll learn:
- What is heart rate variability and why it is important for midlife women
- How to measure your HRV and optimize its impact on health performance
- Practical tips to manage stress naturally through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise
- The connection between the human stress response and health performance/optimization
Don't miss this opportunity to join Dr. Jay T. Wiles in unlocking the essential hormone-balancing tool that almost everybody's missing! Tune in now for an insightful conversation about HRV biofeedback on The Hormone Prescription Podcast.
(00:00): "We suffer more often in imagination than in reality." - Epitectus And this affects your health and your hormones. Stay tuned to find out how.
(00:11): So the big question is, how do women over 40 like us keep weight off, have great energy, balance our hormones and our moods, feel sexy and confident, and master midlife? If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself Again. As an ob gyn, I had to discover for myself the truth about what creates a rock solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy after 40, in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue, now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results and to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenges. Join me for tangible, natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kyrin Dunston. Welcome to the Hormone Prescription Podcast.
(01:05): Hi everybody. Thanks so much for joining me for another episode of the Hormone Prescription Podcast with Dr. Kyrin. Today my guest is gonna help you get a concrete idea about what stress is doing to your body and how to know exactly what it's doing in an objective and quantified manner. He uses one of my favorite tools. Maybe you've heard me talk about H R V heart rate variability in a very unique way. So you're gonna wanna stay tuned and listen up. He really is a proponent of health and helping people optimize their health and has created some great tools that you can use. So I'll tell you a little bit about Dr. Jay Wiles and then we'll get started. He's an international speaker scientist, clinician, influencers, subject matter expert and authority on the interconnection between the human stress response and health performance optimization. Dr. Wiles is a clinical health and performance psychologist with board certification and heart rate variability biofeedback and peripheral biofeedback, and works as a leading consultant in psychophysiology to health influencers, professional athletes and teams, executives and high performers.
(02:20): He is the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Hanu Health and stay tuned to find out what HANU means. He has pioneered new and innovative means of using heart rate variability, H R V and respiratory training as both diagnostic indicators of the dynamic nature of the human stress response alongside therapeutic tools for regulating and conditioning this response for PCU performance. Dr. Wiles has an extensive history of working with top performing athletes in the PGA L P G A M mls, MLB, A T P and W T A. That's a lot. His consulting firm, thrive Wellness and Performance, has held contracts with leading biotechnology and health technology organizations where he has engaged in research development of therapeutics and development of behavioral retention programs. Dr. Wiles has operated as the co-host of the Ben Greenfield podcast since 2019 and host the Hanu Health Podcast. Welcome, Dr. Jay Wiles.
(03:22): Hey, thanks for having me. Glad to be here.
(03:24): So I'm really excited to talk about this topic in the unique way that really you pose it because I think heart rate variability is very complex and people's eyes glaze over the minute you start trying to explain it, but really you come up from it from the perspective of stress resiliency, which everybody's interested in. So let's start out by talking about stress and you know, what it is in a, from a more scientific biologic perspective and why people should be important about its effects on their body. And then we can get into this unique way that you have for people to really monitor their stress so they can manage it better.
(04:11): Yeah I think first and foremost, I always like to dispel the myth that stress is the bad guy. I think so often we, you know, read in the tabloids or we hear on the news or we listen to podcasts that stress is bad. Like it, it's just inherently this bad thing. And I would actually argue the exact opposite. I would argue that stress is inherently good. Now it's the compounding nature of stress that can be problematic to people's overall health and their wellbeing. But stress in and of itself is simply a warning sign. What stress is is a mechanism of taxation. It is just saying that your resources are being taxed. That can be physiological resources, that can be psychological resources. It's re experiencing some level of taxation and there are warning signs that we receive from that taxation that hopefully should signify and kind of ho help us to hone in that we need to either do something effectively to help ourselves out of this situation or maybe just acknowledge that what's going on isn't going to inherently harm us and therefore be okay with it.
(05:17): So more of like a mindful approach to stress, but kind of from the get-go. Stress in and of itself is not bad. It is inherently good. So we should always come in with the mindset that it is not this kind of, you know, nefarious thing around the corner. So when we think about how stress affects us from different perspectives, it affects us physiologically, it affects us psychologically. If it ever affects us psychologically, it always affects us physiologically. And then vice versa as well. It's a bidirectional two-way street. They're very much interconnected. And again, what I always come down to is that it is not just the singular experience of stress, but it's the compounding of stress experience that is the thing that can be problematic for people. Has it stacks up without dealing with it or acknowledging it or learning how to regulate it. That's where we find more problems.
(06:08): Yeah, we need stress to live actually , right? Yep. We need the stress of gravity on our bodies to make our bones strong. We need a certain degree of stress. They call it eres, right? You have a very unique perspective. I think a lot of people think about stress and they don't. It's just this nebulous concept, oh, stress, I'm stressed, I have too much stress, I need to de-stress. And you know, people tell them to meditate and there's really not a lot of objective data on am I meditating properly? So then people don't do it because they don't get immediate feedback. And you really kind of took a tool that is near and dear to my heart and positioned it in a way and educate people in a way that helps them monitor their stress. So talk about the technology that you use and how it can help people quantify and monitor and manage their stress better.
(07:06): So you're right in the fact that a lot of people are able to tap in to understanding their stress subjectively if they actually take the time to check in subjectively. But unfortunately, not a lot of people do that. And so what we see in the psychological literature is that a lot of people just simply kind of move along throughout their day, kind of compressing and compartmentalizing stress until finally they either do one of two things, they explode or externalize or they implode and internalize. And this happens to just about everybody. So one of the things that we are trying to do that has been kind of in the works for many, many decades now, is how can we help people to increase their awareness to the effects of stress and also those things that are triggering stress objectively? Well, there are are invasive ways of doing it, right?
(07:55): We can look at cortisol, we can look at neurotransmitter production, we can do those things, but it's debatable on number one, like can we give an accurate interpretation of that data for stress in terms of psychological stress? We can in some sense, but in other sense it's a little bit difficult to determine what came first, the chicken or the egg. But also too there are non-invasive ways of doing it. And the single greatest way of doing that, single greatest non-invasive way of tracking changes that are occurring in the human stress response or changes in the nervous system would be looking at something called heart rate variability. So heart rate variability isn't a new biometric, it's one that's been around for quite some time. But what we're learning is more and more how to not just use it as a mechanism for measurement, but also how do we use it to improve outcomes both acutely and then in the long run.
(08:47): So heart rate variability kind of at its most simple form is looking at what are the dynamic changes that are occurring in the nervous system at any given moment. In other words, it is a metric that we can use to determine changes in people's stress response as people experience stress, we see changes in in heart rate variability as people experience relaxation. We see people's changes in heart rate variability. When I explain heart rate variability, it's kind of like you mentioned earlier, it is something that sometimes people, it will just kind of, people will gloss over, like it kind of goes over their head. Like it's, it's a very in-depth type of metric, right? So I like to break it down in its most simple kind of form. A lot of people intuitively understand heart rate, right? So if you, like almost every watch now where people are just used to heart rate monitoring, if you see that my heart rate was beating at a rate of 60 beats per minute, well that means that in a span of 67 seconds, on average, it was beating every single second.
(09:47): So there was one min, one second in between every successive heartbeat. Well, for heart rate, that would be true. That would be an average of one second in between heartbeats, which would make 60 beats per minute. Now is that what's actually occurring? And the answer is no. That would not be what is actually occurring. The heart is pacing itself every single one Second, if it were, then if we go back to this metric that is heart rate variability, that person would have zero variants. So zero variability between the difference in time between successive heartbeats. That means that the heart is pacing itself like a metronome, which is not a good thing. It's actually what we see happen actually prior and during when people are having heart attacks is their heart rate variability reduces to basically zero because the heart is pacing itself. That's a sign of a lack of adaptability.
(10:38): The nervous system is, is unable to adapt. But what heart rate variability is, is it's looking at the changes in time that are occurring between your heartbeats, between the space of tumble. We call time in between heartbeats. One of the best ways to explain this is that a healthy nervous system, one that is able to adapt to stress is one that is going to be highly variable. And that may sound weird because a lot of people may think, shouldn't my heart be stable? Well, heart rate stability is very different than heart rate variability stability, which is a bit of a mouthful, but let me explain. When a natural healthy individual who is, who is, let's say more or less free of stress or quite relaxed, we see this natural event occurring in their breathing patterns and how it relates to heart rate. So we know that there's a natural phenomenon, a, an arrhythmia that occurs when people are breathing as they inhale, heart rate speeds up and as they exhale heart rate significantly slows down.
(11:38): We call that respiratory sinus arrhythmia or rsa. And what we know is that when someone has a huge increase in heart rate when they inhale and a huge decrease in heart rate as they exhale, that increases heart rate variability and creates more of what we call a resonance within the cardiovascular system. A process of what we call increasing the sensitivity of something called the barrow reflex mechanism, which is our body's maintenance of a blood pressure. It's a system when those two are acting in resonance with one another or in accordance with one another, the person that's going to feel that sense of relief, that sense of relaxation. But as someone experiences more stress, we see those two things go out of phase with one another. The blood pressure regulating mechanism in somebody's breathing rate and the way that they're breathing as well, which can cause heart rate to go up and heart cause heart rate variability to go down.
(12:32): So heart rate variability again is something that we can look at as a number and help us to determine like what is going on within the state of that person's nervous system. Because as that number goes up, we know that their parasympathetic or relaxation break is engaging. And as that number goes down, we know that something is causing a withdrawal within the nervous system and there's natural occurrences, the up and down that happen throughout the day. And then there are things that can trigger it and can cause more of a significant result in our decrease in heart rate variability indicating that someone is experiencing stress. So that's a long-winded way of kind of explaining what heart rate variability is, but that's the primary metric we're using in the technology that my company hanu, H A N U, what we created, which is a way to measure that at all times, which is very different than what most wearables are doing now, which are really just kind of looking at it either overnight or it's a spot check like let's say in the morning or some other time during the day. We're looking at what are those subtle changes in heart rate variability throughout the day that would indicate that person may be experiencing something that is triggering a stress response and their nervous system is having to kick in the high gear to respond. And the whole goal is to be able to catch it early so that we can intervene with different types of therapeutics to teach people how to better self-regulate that response.
(13:49): Yeah, I think H R V is such tremendous technology. I know that they've done some studies on covid infection looking at the H R V or heart rate variability profiles of those people who have a higher fatality rate, more severe disease compared to those who don't. And it's, it's really striking. So I love H R V not only for looking at stress resiliency, but looking at overall state of health. I used to have this rather expensive machine in when I had a brick and mortar office where we would get H R V profile every which way but loose That would really give us data on the overall health of a human. So I, I think it's valuable. So if, if people listening, you're concerned about covid or getting any type of illness and you really wanna know how fit is my system to handle it, H R V is is also useful for that. And the better your H R V V, the better you're fair if you do get a viral infection or any other illness. So I think it's super important. How do you counsel people that they can use H R V for more than just checking their stress resiliency