A classic dictionary meaning of Stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” However, According to yoga, stress is “an imbalance at the mental, physical or emotional level. Stress is not the cause of our ills rather the cause is our inability to cope with a changing condition”.
Simply speaking, when the body is challenged by anything, from getting out of bed in the morning or running up a flight of stairs or having to stand up and give a talk, the brain activates the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) – consisting of Sympathetic and Para-Sympathetic Nervous System. Stress is body's Automated Method of reacting to that challenge. It consists of Stress Response – Ability to react to a stressful situation and Relaxation Response – ability to come back to the relaxed state after over coming the stressful situation. Stress Response is regulated by Sympathetic Nervous System and Para-Sympathetic Nervous System regulates Relaxation Response of the body.
Under a stressful situation the Heart Rate, Respiratory rate and Blood pressure get impacted along with other physical manifestations. StressMetrix™ is a test developed by Yogaksema; to assess the balance between Stress Response and Relaxation response that can be a Predictor for Stress related ailments. It involves measuring the Heart rate, Heart Rate Variability (HRV - Physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats) and Respiratory rate.
Any stimulation to Sympathetic Nervous System (aka Stress Response) leads to an increase in heart rate and respiratory rate. This is indicated as Low frequency waves which in-turn is an indicator of Stress Response. On the other hand, High frequency waves are generated when a person is Stress free and symbolize a restful relaxed state (or activation of Para-Sympathetic Nervous System). The ratio of High and Low frequency bands quantifies the overall balance between the Sympathetic and Para-Sympathetic systems that is of utmost importance to maintain equilibrium within the body.
The Respiratory pattern under Stress will be shallow, jerky and involve withholding of breath in between inhalation and exhalation. The rate of breathing also increases in Sympathetic Stimulation (aka Stress Response). Deep and long breaths indicate a relaxed state of mind.
Results of StressMetrix™ can be analyzed and used as a predictive marker for Stress related ailments such as Heart Attacks, Anxiety Disorders, Hypertension and prognostic marker for recovery from these ailments. This test helps us to know the very root cause of such diseases and eventually know how to effectively treat the same.