The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Balance indicates the relative balance between the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) and the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), indicating the balance between recovery and physiological stress (both physical and mental).
The ANS is responsible for regulating many of the body’s involuntary functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. It also plays a role in emotional self-control and executive functioning. It’s also responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response that is triggered in times of stress. Because of this, the autonomic nervous system can be easily overloaded, resulting in a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, and gastrointestinal problems.
Knowing the relative balance of the ANS helps the user better understand the current state of the body and determine the best course of action towards reaching certain goals without working against yourself.
The ANS balance results from the calculation of the PNS and SNS indices. The starting point of the calculation of these two indices is the photoplethysmogram signal (PPG signal) acquired from the face. The PNS index is based on the following 3 parameters (compared to their normal population values):
- Mean RR interval;
- Root mean square of successive RR interval differences (RMSSD);
- Poincaré plot index SD1 in normalized units.
The SNS index, on the other hand, is calculated using the following parameters:
- Mean HR interval;
- Baevsky's stress index (SI);
- Poincaré plot index SD2 in normalized units.
Our overall wellbeing and feeling of mental resilience is generally regulated by our ANS. Many studies show a good correlation between an ANS balance shift towards SNS and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and mental health issues.
Understanding the balance of the ANS holds significant therapeutic benefits, allowing for tailored wellbeing interventions aimed at restoring this balance. By doing so, a more personalized and effective feedback mechanism can be achieved. Furthermore, individuals facing elevated or chronic mental health challenges may encounter difficulties in reducing the SNS activity and require additional active training or support. Addressing these nuances can substantially enhance the overall efficiency of therapy.
When an ANS imbalance is detected, this is the starting point of personalised feedback to take action. Detect underlying issues through a short questionnaire, connect with a therapist or other healthcare provider, recommend stress management modules and/or guide the user to relevant platform content/offerings.
ANS Balance is returned as an integer on a scale of -5 to 5 as a part of the output response JSON, with the key ans_balance.
(no specified unit)
Example Color Indicator
Example User Text
(-5) and (-4)
Strong imbalance towards SNS activity.
Your ANS balance indicates a greater dominance of the sympathetic branch, which is associated with the "fight or flight" response. The body is experiencing deeper levels of stress or fatigue. To avoid over training or over stressing it is highly recommended to prioritize rest.
Moderate imbalance towards SNS activity.
Your ANS balance indicates a greater dominance of the sympathetic branch, which is associated with the "fight or flight" response. Indicates greater than usual stress (from all sources). Energy levels may be elevated. For long term results, consider lighter exercise and/or reducing stressful activities.
(-2), (-1), 0, 1 and 2
Relatively balanced PNS and SNS.
The ANS balance indicates the balance between recovery and physiological stress (both physical and mental). The body is typically the most flexible and capable when the ANS is balanced.
Moderate imbalance towards PNS activity.
Your ANS balance indicates a greater dominance of the parasympathetic branch, which is associated with the "rest and digest" response. Recovery activity is slightly elevated. Energy levels may be lower. This state is often correlated with overreaching in training or fighting off mild or early illness.
4 and 5
Strong relative PNS activity.
Your ANS balance indicates a greater dominance of the parasympathetic branch, which is associated with the "rest and digest" response. Indicates excessive recovery activity, often in response to cumulative stress or elevated immune system activity.