Cardiac coherence

3.6.5 = 3 times / day ... 6 respirations ... for 5 minutes

« Respiration is the force of life, it can be mastered, worked on, and channeled »

- Dr. David O'Hare in his bestselling book 3.6.5

Cardiac coherence has been presented in french in 2003 by Dr David Servan-Schreiber in his bestselling book Guérir.


For David O’Hare, cardiac coherence is a state of physiological, physical, mental and emotional balance which induces a refocusing, a rejuvenation, and a strengthening of each of these areas.


It’s therapeutic effects are scientifically recognised and the French Federation of Cardiology has made it it’s n°1 golden rule to deal with stress.


This method is summarised by the “3.6.5”: 3 times a day, 6 respirations per minute, during 5 minutes. This means breathing in for 5 seconds, and breathing out for 5 seconds. This method can be used whilst sitting or standing. With some practice it is also possible to use this method whilst walking, and therefore it is possible to make the most of “lost moments” in public transport, waiting rooms, or whilst going to a meeting.


Cardiac coherence is simple to put in place and allows you to quickly obtain results (in less than a month).

The autonomic nervous system (ANS)

The aim of cardiac coherence is to restore a balance so as to be able to come back to a homeostasis, defined as follows: “the ability of the human body to stay stable inside whilst facing an unstable environment”.


Homeostasis is a dynamic balance which keeps us alive. All illnesses are an unbalance in the homeostasis.


The conductor of this mechanism is the ANS which manages the automatic regulations of the organism, such as body temperature, digestion, sugar levels, hormone levels, sleep patterns, and much more…


Autonomic means that the ANS works independently.


Respiration (lungs) is the only organ of the ANS which you can work on willingly and with which we can penetrate the ANS!

ANS has two branches :

  • The (ortho) sympathetic, which mobilises energy to be able to escape, battle, save our own lives; it involves stress, actions, and amongst other things: the acceleration of breathing and of the cardiac frequency, and the increase in adrenaline and cortisol
  • The parasympathetic, which re-establishes calm after the action, the danger, the stress: restores energy, allows us to recuperate, slows our breathing and cardiac frequency, and increases acetylcholine and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA = hormone which peaks in early adulthood).

It is thanks to the ANS that we are alive, and that we stay alive despite an unstable environment, which can often be menacing (pesticides, pollution etc…).


The heart permanently balances these two branches of the ANS, ensuring therefore the good functioning of all of our physiology.


Cardiac coherence is recognised as a marker, but also as a powerful modifier of the ANS balance.


The variability of the cardiac frequency is the interval of time between two consecutive heartbeats, that we can measure thanks to technology, and which gives a good marker concerning our health.

How does cardiac coherence act on the ANS ?

When we breathe in, our heart beats faster because of the stimulation of the sympathetic system, a very complex mechanism.

When we breathe out, our heart beat slows: breathing out boosts the stimulation of the parasympathetic system and so, therefore: the heart slows.

To summarise: our heart permanently goes faster then slower so as to allow a good adaptation to our environment.


Cardiac coherence being a guided respiration at a specific rhythm, regular and ample, whilst resting, allows a balance of the ANS. It has physiological, psychological, and emotional effects.


The variability of the cardiac frequency is the interval of time between two consecutive heartbeats, that we can measure thanks to technology, and which gives a good marker concerning our health and to measure and observe our homeostasis.

Our heart and our brain are permanently interacting...

When one gets carried away, the other follows. That is why our emotional state influences our heartbeats.

Our heart rate reflects our emotional state, and varies continuously: when we are angry, our heartbeat accelerates straight away.

This heart-brain link works both ways: by regulating our heartbeat we can influence our emotional state.

Thanks to simple techniques and with the help of bio-feedback software, we can learn to act on our heartbeat to calm our emotions and better deal with our stress.


Based on rhythmic breathing, which can be taught and learnt, cardiac coherence is considered to be a quick, natural, and efficient anti-stress technic.


Hesitate no more ! Breathe !

Indications and effects

The therapeutic applications are numerous.


Cardiac Coherence is today used in medical infrastructures, psychiatric clinics, schools, and in the police. High level sportsmen and women, spas, centres for well-being, as well as businesses, are integrating cardiac coherence and are more and more aware of the positives of this method.


The list of indications and effects is far from complete !


  • prevention of cardio-vascular illnesses,
  • dealing with stress
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • anxiety and depression
  • eating disorder and obesity
  • addictions
  • psychosomatic affect
  • professional (businesses, stress management within the police force, etc.)
  • sleep and memory disorders
  • physical and psychological support of sportsmen and women

Physiological effects

  • increase of energy and resilience
  • improvement of sleep
  • better weight management
  • reinforcement of the immune system
  • prevention of illnesses
  • reduction of cardiovascular risks
  • reduction of arterial hypertension
  • improvement of diabetes
  • better tolerance to pain
  • reduction of cortisol (stress hormone)
  • increase of DHEA levels (youth hormone)
  • reduction of cholesterol levels
  • increase of the cerebral alpha waves (waves of calm awakening an attentiveness)

Psychological effects

  • you will find calm and serenity
  • reduction of stress levels
  • increase of emotional balance
  • a greater mental clarity, and better decision making
  • impression of being able to take a step back and of letting go
  • better listening capacity, better presence
  • better concentration, memorisation, and learning
  • increase of intellectual and creative capacities

There is no medium or long term effect without regular practice of cardiac coherence.


In the hours following the session, the most important effect is the decrease of cortisol, “the stress hormone”, which allows a decrease of anxiety, and a better regulation of your emotions.


Putting cardiac coherence in place regularly allows you to improve your quality of life and find a new balance.

How do the sessions take place ?

During the session, I shall explain the functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), the influence of stress, cardiac frequency, the variability of cardiac frequency, chaos, coherence, and much more.


Next, I shall show you an activity with a recording and evaluation software (EmWave Pro Plus) of the state of cardiac coherence.

The state of cardiac coherence is visible on the screen, it is then possible to practise staying in coherence despite negative thoughts, emotions, memories etc.

The session :

I shall place a pulse sensor on your ear lobe or on your finger. This sensor will measure the cardiac frequency and transmit it to the software which transforms it into a graph so as to give easy to interpret results.


I will show you and explain variability, chaos, coherence and cardiac resonance. You will see that, when in good health, the heart is not regular. It is what we call cardiac chaos. This is totally normal, the more there is chaos, the more you are in good health.


I will teach you breathing exercises, and how to practise cardiac coherence.

The data will be saved so as to monitor the progression over the period of practise.


After the session :

You will be able to put into practise the 3.6.5 method at home.


Despite the fact that this method is simple, regular practise in the long term is more difficult to put into place.

Without practise at home, there will be no results.

With the practise of 3.6.5: you will find effects after around ten days, and after two weeks you will know how to put cardiac coherence into place on command!



" The practise of cardiac coherence is simple, but not easy. Not easy to take the time to practice three simes a day... even if it larjely increases the quality of life...

The aim will be achieved once you will no longer be able to live without doing three sessions a day "


- David O'Hare



Please find joined three examples of 3.6.5 : these "respiratory-guide" videos are at exactly 5/5 seconds, which is not the case of everything that we find of the internet.

Joke Elfring

  • Psycho-énergéticienne et Hypnothérapeute
  • 06 70 19 36 49
  • Loc-Ornézan, locaux de la mairie, Village 32260 Ornézan, entrée: la porte à droite de la mairie et dans le grand sud du Gers