HRV Regulation by Calligraphic Finger-writing and Guqin Music: A Pilot Case Study

  • Stewart P.W. Lam University of Hong Kong
  • Henry S.R. Kao University of Hong Kong
  • Xiaoyang Kao University of Illinois-Urbana-Champagn
  • Miranda Mei Yan Fung China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Bejing, China
  • Tin Tin Kao University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Keywords: Finger-Writing, Guqin-Music, Emotion, HRV-Biofeedback, Rehabilitation, calligraphy

Abstract

Introduction. Previous research shows that brush Chinese calligraphy handwriting (CCH) improves one’s
cognitive functions as well as emotional and mental health. Similarly, Guqin, the popular Chinese musical
instrument, induces positive emotions and emotional stability. The present study tested the efficacy of using the index finger to achieve similar mind–body changes. Methods. We employed a heart rate variability (HRV)
Calligraphy–Guqin biofeedback intervention that was implemented with a Zephyr HxM Bluetooth chest heart rate monitoring device and an Android smartphone. A web-based HRV big database app stored the data from three consecutive sessions: (1) 5 min of Guqin music listening; (2) 5 min of CCH finger writing of calligraphy; and (3) again 5 min of Guqin music listening. The second session was designed to explore additive effects of the fingerwriting task. One subject participated with the index finger employed for the writing task. Results. The results showed that the first and third Guqin sessions elicited 55% and 68% HRV coherences, respectively, while the CCH finger writing in the second session elicited 31% of high HRV coherence. The increase in HRV coherence between the two Guqin sessions was attributed to the calligraphy finger writing training effect. The practice of finger writing contributed to increased HRV regulation through heightened attention and concentration.

Author Biographies

Stewart P.W. Lam, University of Hong Kong

Department of Psychology

 

Henry S.R. Kao, University of Hong Kong

Professor Emeritus

Department of Psychology

Xiaoyang Kao, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champagn

Department of Electrical Engineering

Tin Tin Kao, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Department of Psychology

References

Appelhans, B. M., & Luecken, L. J. (2006). Heart rate variability as an index of regulated emotional responding. Review of General Psychology, 10(3), 229–240. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.10.3.229

Chalmers, J. A., Quintana, D. S., Abbott, M. J.-A., & Kemp, A. H. (2014). Anxiety disorders are associated with reduced heart rate variability: A meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 5, 80. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00080

Chen, W., Chen, C., He, Y., Wang, Y., & Wang, W. (2016, June). Long-term Chinese calligraphy handwriting reshapes the cingulate gyrus: A VBM study. Poster session presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Organization for the Human Brain Mapping, Geneva, Switzerland.

Chen, W., He, Y., Gao, Y., Zhang, C., Chen, C., Bi, S., … Wang, W. (2017). Long-term experience of Chinese calligraphic handwriting is associated with better executive functions and stronger resting-state functional connectivity in related brain regions. PLoS One, 12(1), e0170660. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170660

Chiu, M. L., Kao, H. S. R., & Ho, S. M. Y. (2002, January). The efficacy of Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) on stroke patients: A multiple cases study. In A. D. Korczyn (Ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Vascular Dementia (pp. 207–212). Salzburg, Austria.

Chu, K.-Y., Huang, C.-Y., & Ouyang, W.-H. (2018). Does Chinese calligraphy therapy reduce neuropsychiatric symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 18, 62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1611-4

Dong, X.-P., Jia, J.-M., Wang, J., Cui, Z. L., & Zhang, R. A. (2006). A control study of calligraphy training plus venlafaxine in the treatment of anxiety disorder. Chinese Journal of Behavioral Medical Science, 15(5), 027.

Fung, M. M. Y., Han, J., & Lee, C. Y. (2014). Guqin music and mind–body coherence: An EEG experimental study. In B. C. Duan, W. D. Wang, Y. M. Cheng, H. L. Geng, Z. W. Liu & M. Gong (Eds.), The Study of Guqin Music. Shandong: Qilu Book Press.

Fung, M. M. Y., Kao, H. S. R., Lam, S. P. W., & Kao, T. T. (2019). Chinese Guqin music and calligraphy for treating symptoms of primary insomnia. Chinese Medicine and Culture, 2(1), 48–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/CMAC.CMAC_15_19

Fung, M. M. Y., & Wang, W. D. (2011). Guqin music treatment of insomnia: A clinical trials study. World Chinese Traditional Medicine, 12(6), 79–81.

Gindrat, A.-D., Chytiris, M., Balerna, M., Rouiller, E. M., & Ghosh, A. (2015). Use-dependent cortical processing from fingertips in touchscreen phone users. Current Biology, 25(1), 109–116. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.026

Kao, H. S. R. (1999, June). Psychogeometric Principles of Chinese Character Writing. In C. G. Leedham, M. Leung, V. Sagar, & X. Xuhong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th Biennial Conference of the International Graphonomics Society (pp. 107–110). Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Kao, H. S. R. (2000). The visual-spatial features of Chinese characters and a psychogeometric theory of Chinese character writing. In H. S. R. Kao (Ed.), Chinese Calligraphy Therapy. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Kao, H. S. R. (2006). Shufa: Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) for health and behavioural therapy. International Journal of Psychology, 41(4), 282–286. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207590544000059

Kao, H. S. R. (2010). Calligraphy therapy: A complementary approach to psychotherapy. Asia Pacific Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 1(1), 55–66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21507680903570334

Kao, H. S. R., & Lam, S. P. W. (2011, May). iPad calligraphy: Fingering characters for elderly health and therapy. Abstract and presentation at the Person-Centered Care for Persons with Dementia Conference, Hong Kong.

Kao, H. S. R., Lam, S. P. W., Guo, N. F., & Shek, D. T. L. (1984). Chinese calligraphy and heart rate reduction: An exploratory study. In H. S. R. Kao & R. Hoosain (Eds.), Psychological Studies of the Chinese Language. Hong Kong: The Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong.

Kao, H. S. R., Lam. S. P. W., & Kao, T. T. (2018). Chinese calligraphy handwriting (CCH): A case of rehabilitative awakening of a coma patient after stroke. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 14, 407–417. http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S147753

Kao, H. S. R., Lam, P. W., Robinson, L., & Yen, N. S. (1989). Psychophysiological changes associated with Chinese calligraphy. In P. Plamondon, C. U. Suen, & M. L. Simner (Eds.), Computer recognition and human production of handwriting. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

Kao, H. S. R., & Smith, K. U. (1969). Cybernetic television methods applied to feedback analysis of automobile safety. Nature, 222, 299–300. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/222299a0

Kim, H.-G., Cheon, E.-J., Bai, D.-S., Lee, Y. H., & Koo, B.-H. (2018). Stress and heart rate variability: A meta-analysis and review of the literature. Psychiatry Investigation, 15(3), 235-245. http://dx.doi.org/10.30773/pi.2017.08.17

Kumru, H., Albu, S., Pelayo, R., Rothwell, J., Opisso, E., Leon, D., … Tormos, J. M. (2016). Motor cortex plasticity during unilateral finger movement with mirror visual feedback. Neural Plasticity, 2016, 6087896. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/6087896

Lam, S. P. W. & Kao, H. S. R. (2007). A biofeedback-based system of calligraphy therapy. Innovation Expo 2007. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Convention Centre.

Lam, S. P. W., Kao, H. S. R., & Fung, M. M. Y. (2012, April). Calligraphy-Guqin for brain health and emotion. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, New Orleans, LA.

Mather, M., & Thayer, J. F. (2018). How heart rate variability affects emotion regulation brain networks. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 19, 98–104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.12.017

McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Tomasino, D., & Bradley, R. T. (2009). The coherent heart: Heart–brain interactions, psychophysiological coherence, and the emergence of system-wide order. Integral Review, 5(2), 1–106.

Smith, K. U. (1961). The geometry of human motion and its neural foundations. II: Neurogeometric theory and its experimental basis. American Journal of Physical Medicine, 40, 109–129.

Smith, K. U., & Smith, W. M. (1962). Perception and motion; An analysis of space-structured behavior. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders.

Smith, T.J., & Smith, K.U. (1988). The cybernetic basis of human behavior and performance. Continuing the Conversation: A Newsletter of Ideas in Cybernetics. Official Newsletter of the American Society of Cybernetics, 15, 1–30.

Wagner, S. (2018). Calligraphy therapy interventions for managing depression in cancer patients: A scoping study. Alternative & Integrative Medicine, 7(1), 260. http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2327-5162.1000260

Wang, M. Q. (Ed.). (2006). Music & Health. Beijing: Chinese TCM Press.

Xu, M., Kao, H. S. R, Zhang, M., Lam, S. P. W, & Wang, W. (2013). Cognitive-neural effects of brush writing of Chinese characters: Cortical excitation of theta rhythm. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 975190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/975190

Yang, X.-L., Li, H.-H., Hong, M.-H., & Kao, H. S. R. (2010). The effects of Chinese calligraphy handwriting and relaxation training in Chinese Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma patients: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47(5), 550_559. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.10.014

Yeh, M. M. (Ed.). (1991). The art of Guqin music (pp. 111–139). Beijing: Commercial Press.

Zhu, Z. H., Wang, R., Kao, H. S. R., Zong, Y., Liu, Z. K., Tang, S., … Lam, S. P. W. (2014). Effect of calligraphy training on hyperarousal symptoms for childhood survivors of the 2008 China earthquakes. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 10, 977–985. http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S55016

Published
2019-03-25
Section
Technical Notes