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First off, sorry if this is inappropriate for this board. I couldn't find a "Health" sub-SE.

A few years ago, I was messing around with the concept of "psi" (an energy that supposedly exists in everybody that can be mentally manipulated). One of the exercises called for focusing on your solar plexus. I tried it over the course of a week, and found a spot that if I focused on it, a glowing, tingly feeling would "surround me" (It feels like a kind of warm feeling that extends out from my trunk to my extremities). I noticed though that while doing it, my heart rate seemed to increase, which I confirmed using a monitor.

I eventually developed a "muscle feeling" that could be "flexed" and controlled like how you flex an arm. I thought I had finally managed to manipulate psi (I now doubt that this is the actually mechanism), so I kept practicing it, and can now do it fairly easily (although it actually requires a fair amount of concentration to maintain). My record was increasing it to just under 200 bpm while in a near-silent classroom hooked up to a monitor (yes, that was dumb. I never do it to that point anymore). It's interesting because it speeds up as soon as I begin "flexing" it, and it drops immediately after "releasing it".

Does anyone have any idea of what this could be? I doubt its directly related to the heart (because I'm not consciously controlling every beat, just the ramping up/down). The only thing I can think of is it being related to my Adrenal Glands, and I'm somehow controlling the release of adrenalin into my system (it feels similar to an adrenalin rush, but not exactly like one. It dies off much faster and isn't near as strong.)

And what are people's thoughts as to the safety of this? My Dad recommended not doing it simply because "putting excess stress on the heart is bad" (but that alone can't be bad as exercise is quite stressful on your heart).

Thank you. Edit: I just tried it again for the first time in a while with a monitor. My baseline HR was 60 with a BP of 122/78 (near perfect). I measured again while focusing, and my HR was 122, with a BP of approx. 129/80 (my monitor turned off while I was writing this, so that's off of memory)

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How is this exercise related? –  JohnP Jul 21 at 14:20
Do you tense your body while doing this? That would increase your heart rate and seems to be something people do when they concentrate. –  user10019 Jul 22 at 0:37
@user10019 Interesting, I never thought of that. I'll check. Thanks –  Carcigenicate Jul 22 at 2:08

1 Answer 1

No, you can't directly control your heart rate.

Your heart (and your adrenal glands) is controlled by your autonomic nervous system, which means it is controlled by your subconscious, lower brain stem.

You can however influence your heart rate, meditation and stress can increase or decrease your heart rate, or by consciously slowing your breathing rate you can reduce your heart rate. In the long term, long term cardiovascular activity, like running or swimming will reduce your resting heart rate but again this isn't directly in your control.

Is it dangerous to try and change your heart rate? Not in the least. It is impossible to consciously reduce your heart rate more than a few beats per minute (if at all). And trying to stop your heart would be about as effective as trying to drown yourself. Increasing it is slightly easier as people are quick to startle, if you sat perfectly still and pictured a large animal chasing you threatening to eat you, yes your heart rate would increase, because this is your fight-or-flight reflex kicking it.

From an evolutionary perspective and overactive fight-or-flight reflex is advantageous as it prevents you from being eaten, so its unsurprising that its not hard to get into this kind of mindset. But again, its unlikely that this would have any long term effect. Although, long term anxiety issues which can elicit the same response are less harmless.

As for the idea that you had any conscious control over your adrenal glands, that is scientifically impossible.

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Thanks for the reply. I know it's not direct control, as I pointed out in the fourth paragraph, and the adrenal glands was just a shot in the dark. I'm also not picturing anything though; it requires enough concentration that imagining anything would lessen it. –  Carcigenicate Jul 21 at 14:09

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