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Relaxation Technique Might Improve Arousal in Women

Feb 27, 2018

Researchers noted that low heart rate variability (HRV) has been linked to sexual arousal problems in women. HRV refers to time between heartbeats. If your HRV is low, you might be anxious or stressed. Higher HRV is associated with a more relaxed state.

Past research has shown that autogenic training can improve HRV. Autogenic training is a relaxation technique during which listeners respond to verbal prompts directed at certain parts of body. Listeners might hear, “My right arm is heavy” or “my right arm is warm.” Listeners then imagine these sensations and become more aware of their bodies as they relax.

With the links between autogenic training and HRV in mind, the scientists explored whether this approach could help women with sexual arousal disorders.

They worked with 25 women between the ages of 20 and 44 (average age: 31) who met diagnostic criteria for sexual dysfunction. Almost two-thirds of the women said they were exclusively heterosexual; the rest considered themselves predominantly heterosexual. About half were single and dating. Thirty-six percent were in committed relationships, and the rest were single and not dating.

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