To date, there is no quantitative review examining the influence of heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV BFB) on the athlete population. Such an undertaking may provide valuable information on the autonomic and respiration responses of athletes when performing HRV BFB. Thus, purpose of this preliminary systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of HRV BFB on HRV and respiration of athletes. Searches of Springerlink, SportDiscus, Web of Science, PROQUEST Academic Research Library, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect were conducted for studies that met the following criteria: (1) experimental studies involving athletes that underwent randomized control trial; (2) availability of HRV BFB as a treatment compared with a control (CON)/placebo (PLA); (3) any pre and post HRV variable and/or breathing frequency as dependent variable/s; and, (4) peer-reviewed articles written in English. Four out of 660 studies involving 115 athletes (25 females and 90 males) ages 16-30 years old were assessed in this review. Preliminary findings suggest the promising ability of HRV BFB to improve respiratory mechanics in athlete population. More work is needed to determine the autonomic modulatory effect of HRV BFB in athletes.
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