A Guide To Monitoring Human Stress (& How To Use HRV, Breathwork, Stress Resiliency & Biofeedback) With Jay Wiles Of HANU Health.

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Hanu Health is a venture-backed health technology company at the intersection of HRV, breathwork, stress resiliency, and biofeedback.

They have designed what they call “the most sophisticated and accurate wearable for detecting changes in human stress response, using continuous HRV monitoring as its primary metric.”

Hanu (use code BEN40 to save 40%) is a non-invasive and easy-to-use hardware/software system that acts as a stress coach whenever you are wearing it. It uses gentle vibrations to alert you as to when you might be experiencing signs of stress and provides in-the-moment exercises and training to help you build stress resiliency. This close-looped feedback system means that Hanu is continuously monitoring your stress response and is always there to provide you with valuable means to better attend to stress in the moment. 

Dr. Jay Wiles, my guest on today's show, is no stranger to the podcast, as you've heard him and Ben cohost the Q&A episodes since 2019 (search “Jay Wiles” here to find his episodes). What you may not know about Dr. Wiles, though, is that he is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Hanu Health.

A clinical health and performance psychologist with board certification in heart rate variability biofeedback and peripheral biofeedback, Jay works as a leading consultant in psychophysiology to health influencers, professional athletes and teams, executives, and high performers. Jay has pioneered new and innovative means of using heart rate variability (HRV) 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 peak human performance.

Jay Wiles has an extensive history of working with top-performing athletes in the PGA, LPGA, MLS, MLB, ATP, and WTA. 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 also hosted the Hanu Health Podcast since October 2021.

An international speaker, scientist, clinician, and influencer, Jay Wiles is a subject-matter expert and authority on the interconnection between the human stress response and health performance/optimization.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-What does “Hanu” mean?…07:50

  • Hanu a Hawaiian word that means breath

-Jay's personal journey to becoming an expert in HRV…09:15

  • Specialized in “health psychology”
  • “Demoralization”: learned helplessness and hopelessness
  • Chronic ailments can be traced to demoralization
  • Biofeedback training with military veterans produced noticeable improvements in health and well-being

-How is the Hanu wearable different from other devices that track HRV?…15:46

-What causes HRV to vary from day to day, even if stress levels don't appear to vary…25:30

  • Talking can significantly suppress HRV (utilizing energy)
  • Sleeping is of course far more potent than any daytime activities
  • Hormonal responses will affect stress responses, even if not stressed out
  • Shoot for staying within a certain range, versus a particular number throughout the day

-The heart rate strap, and what the Hanu wearable might look like in the future…30:10

  • Need the most precise instrument to track HRV as possible
  • Calculated very different from heart rate
  • Nearly as accurate as an ECG strap, without some of the inconvenience of wearing it
  • Integrate Hanu software and platform with other wearables (use code BEN40 to save 40%)
  • The app will trigger a notification to do a breathing exercise if the HRV dips below a certain level
  • Rate subjective experience
  • Train self-regulation and resilience via resonance breathing

-About the Resonance Frequency Assessment…

  • Set resonance breathing at 6 breaths per minute
  • Hanu app offers true resonance breathing based on the assessment (use code BEN40 to save 40%)
  • Heart responds to different rates of breathing
  • Assessment developed by Dr. Paul Lair
  • Find the most optimal rate for stimulating vagal tone, parasympathetic response
  • Breathing trials lead to resonance breathing rate

-Resonance breathing and box breathing contrasted…45:45

  • Physiological sighs – Andrew Huberman
  • Most people will see some change in HRV when engaged in resonance breathing
  • Breath-hold stimulates a bit of a stress response
  • Conscientious breath holds are different from unconscious

-What is a BOLT score and why is it important…50:30

-When a high HRV is not necessarily a good thing…56:50

  • Significant spike or drop in HRV corresponds with an increase in resting heart rate is a sign of fatigue
  • Overtaxed nervous system (burnout), heart rate goes up
  • Snapshot feature on the app; first thing in the morning
    • Consistent reading within context while still in bed
    • After rest and recovery, where is HRV compared to other days

-Rapid-fire questions on HRV…1:02:36

  • Why do men tend to have higher HRV than women?
  • Do strength or endurance athletes have a leg up when it comes to HRV?

-And much more…

-Upcoming Events:

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Dr. Jay T. Wiles:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback about HRV, the Hanu wearable, or anything else Jay and I talked about in this episode? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

2 thoughts on “A Guide To Monitoring Human Stress (& How To Use HRV, Breathwork, Stress Resiliency & Biofeedback) With Jay Wiles Of HANU Health.

  1. Flow says:

    What if one already has a polar heartrate strap?

  2. HRV says:

    I wonder why no one mentions russian HR(V) studies.
    They were the first to really dive deep into analysis of HRV data (Dinamika HRV) which brought forward reliable/reproduceable results.

    It’s called Fractal Neurodynamics, and delivers advanced metrics. interesting pdf, page 58 onward

    https://web.archive.org/web/20210707163714/https://lspa.eu/files/research/Journal_of_Sport_Science/2012_3_1/LASE_JOSS_2012_3_1.pdf

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