Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    conscious control of heart rate
    spies88 posted:
    first, a little history... I have found that i am able to consciously raise my heart rate on command. i am an emt, and have verified this with a pulse oximeter. i am able to achieve an increased heart rate without any physical exertion or change in breathing pattern, any time i so desire. the highest heart rate i have taken myself to is 180 bpm. i am certain i could have gone higher, but fear dysrhythmia if i do so. when i showed this to a paramedic co-volunteer, he told me his theory was that i had a hyper-sensitive sympathetic tone: more specifically that i could control my sympathetic nervous system.

    now, my question... I was wondering if there was any known condition that could explain this ability, or if i could be referred to a cardiologist or endocrinologist who may be able to answer my question.

    thank you for your time and assistance.

    sincerely, mr. spies
    Samuuuuel responded:
    Hi, my names Sam. I have the same thing! I just realised i could do it about 20 mins ago. Its like a wierd sensation inside isnt it? I can immediately and drastically increase my heart rate at rest, without moving or panting. I also realised a few moths ago tht I could dilate my pupils without changing the light or anything.....its very similar to the heart thing in the way of doing it, you should try it. by the way, whats an 'emt'. you said your one, could i be one? ive no idea what a pulse oximeter is or anything. whats the sympathetic nervous system? any info regarding this would be fantastic, im sorry i cant be of more help to you though. Bit about me - Im Sam, im male, 18 years old and live in Birmingham, England. You have no idea how much your message has already helped me, i almost screamed when i did it for the first time, and ive never heard of this ability before. i would greatly appreciate it if you could get back to me, preferably by e-mail [email protected] thanks so much mr.spies!!!!!
    Samuuuuel responded:
    Hi again....ive just some research online, and it turns out that its more than just out heart and eyes we control. the sympathetic nervous system means increasing things ready for fight or flight. that feeling is us releasing adrenaline....resulting in an increased heartrate, pupil dilation and relaxation of the trachea muscle thingy's (open airways).....and plenty more, including blood divertion and artery contraction. apparently very few people can do it consciously, its even considered by many as impossible. Only bhudda masters and stuff are considered by some to be able to minimally control it. the parasympathetic nervous symstem means the oppostie effects.....basically relaxation...slower hears, contracted pupils and airways etc. I dont think i can control that seems to be a different system entirely. Can you? get back to me when you can ([email protected]) thanks, Sam
    James_Beckerman_MD responded:
    Pretty impressive!

    People can commonly alter their heart rate primarily by controlling their breathing. Breathing very slowly and gently will often lower the heart rate, as will yoga, meditation, or just relaxing.

    Increasing the heart rate might be accomplished by concentrating on things on that cause anxiety or fear, and the power of suggestion likely has a role too. I am surprised, however, that you manage to reach a heart rate of 180 without changing your breathing or doing anything else.

    I am not familiar with a textbook medical condition that would explain this. A cardiologist might ask you to perform this feat in the office to confirm it, but I am not aware of any specific cardiac testing that would explain why you are able to do this.
    spies88 responded:
    Thanks for your reply Dr. Beckerman.

    i try to avoid tying up medical resources, and as such was wondering if you could tell me if i should visit a cardiologist or an endocrinologist for an answer. i was also wondering if it would be possible for you to ask any of your coworkers if they have any information on this ability. i would not ask you to do me this favor had i not already scoured the internet and exhausted all other sources short of pestering a doctor.

    thanks again for your time and assistance, Spies
    farnished responded:
    Mate i have trying for the past few months to get to the bottom of this thing i can do inside me. it feels like going over a hump back bridge in a car and i can do it whenever i want and at whatever intensity. ive been able to do it since i can remember! then i stumbled across your story and its pretty damn similar! ive read up about endocrynology and adrenaline and what not and im sure that we are controling our hormone system for some bizzar reason cus it does feel like the fight or flight butterflies in your stomach thing and quite frankly it feels great! however im under the impression its a drug release in the body used to fight infection boost energy, increase speed and reflex and all that jazz but the more we do it the less of an affect it has on your body. i dnt know im not a dr and am 22 years old. but that eye thing you said that feels like its controled the same way, i just did it then for the first time cus u mentioned it! is there anyone who has the foggiest idea whats going on?!

    please someone get back to me. [email protected]
    CultureAdddict responded:
    This is..interesting. I've always been able to do this since i was a kid but never really gave it much thought. It just felt natural. A few years ago my friend wanted to see just how fast i could make my heart beat, took my blood pressure and in less than a minute i got it up to 193 bpm just from sitting in one spot. right after i dropped my heart rate down to 53 bpm. It kinda scared him but i've been doing this as long as i can remember so it was no big deal to me. I always lower my heart rate to help me get to sleep quickly at night. But also, when dozing off at work, i would speed my heart up while sitting at my desk to help wake me up. I've also done this when moving furniture, as it makes things easier to lift. This has to be adrenaline related, but at the same time, I believe this is more than just releasing adrenaline as i can also slow my heart rate down immediately.

    After googling what was happening with me, i came across this article. Oddly enough, i tried dialiting my eyes and i could do it easily with no problem, my pupils became huge and everything became brigther and clearer, scared the crap out of my roomate lol. as he said i looked "possessed". I could also contract my pupil quite quickly,which made everything very blurry. The eye thing happened a few minutes ago and i had to register just to add to this article. Not sure what this is exactly but it sure does come in handy. I will do more research and add to this if i find something interesting or relevant.
    Mitoca57 responded:
    Hey everyone, I have the ability to voluntarily control my heart rate and pupil dilation as well. I've been dying to figure out what the heck this "condition" is. You would think the medical community would have come across this several times by now and documented it, maybe came up with some sort of term to refer to it?

    I use this ability to try and stay awake sometimes when I'm feeling drowsy, though it seems to wear off soon after I stop actively doing it. Also if I do it intensely over and over again, it does seem that it starts to lose its potency as if I'm using up my adrenaline reserves and my body just can't make more fast enough. It does seem as if it's coming from the kidney/adrenal region in my body when it occurs and sort of tingles upwards towards my shoulders and down to my knees. Sometimes I kind of twitch a little.

    I am very jealous of the person who can do the reverse and actively slow down their heart rate and contract their pupils. This happens quite quickly naturally once I stop the rush - but only back to my regular baseline. I have been trying to do the reverse, but I don't think I have control over that aspect.

    If anyone comes up with some more information on this ability such as a specific term please let us all know. I was getting to the point where I thought maybe I had a tumor somewhere on my adrenal gland or something, though I'm thinking that's less likely now.
    webb87 responded:
    I first realised I could do this several months ago (it started as a semi-conscious attempt to stay awake at work).

    It does definitely feel like adrenaline release, that was my first thought. My brother has been able to do it for years and came to the same conclusion.

    It feels like a jolt of electricity or, like another user said, like going over a humpback bridge. The feeling is short-lived and impossible to sustain, however it is possible to do it repeatedly (twice a second or so with a lot of concentration) for about 10 seconds.

    And yes, it affects my pupils too. I only tried this earlier today but if I do this repeatedly my pupils become huge.

    If I try to make a really big one happen often my body will twitch and my breathing goes funny.

    Someone needs to name/study this ability. It's difficult to talk about it when it doesn't have a name and I wish I knew if it was adrenaline/another hormone being consciously released. A psychologist friend of mine suggested it may be a conscious release of dopamine. Anyone got any ideas on that?
    BubblyAdela responded:
    Ahhh, me too!!! I can also make myself cry on command, but I'm not positive if it's related to this (I just focus the energy on my eyes/sinuses, and the tears flow effortlessly). Last night I tried dilating my pupils, and yup, I can do that too. I wonder what else we can do?? This is so interesting! I've had this my whole life & just assumed everyone else could do this too. I'm almost 25 now, female, and...I'm wondering if this would ever come in handy.

    At a very young age whenever I was really happy or excited, I realized that I could prolong the feeling by controlling the "electricity" (I guess that's the adrenaline surge) that I had stored in my gut. I think this might be why I'm always the last one to stop laughing.

    It wasn't until last night that I even considered that mayyyyybe not everyone else has this, and that I might be able to play with some involuntary processes. That's when I tried increasing my heart rate, and holy crap, I did it! Again & again & again. I came online & this is the most relevant info I found about it, and I'm so glad I'm not alone & totally lost! But...what now?
    MrSp325 responded:
    I have had the ability to change my heart rate for sometime now. Like others have said i feel it from within my chest and body. it usually makes me twitch and spasm a little when i do it for a long time, i have been able to get my heart rate up to around 180 on a pulse ox machine. As far as the eye dilation, I tried too, I can get them to dilate a little but im still not clear on how to make my eye dilate alone from my pulse going up but I am sure I will spend some time playing around with that. I have been able to dilate them by around 10-20% but by no means from closed dilation to fully open like I was on LSD or anything. I am going to try to figure out more and even possibly talk to a cardiologist about it.
    All I know is that the heart is an autonomic system meaning it controls it self, the only way around that is chemicals, i.e. the release of adrenaline or by going threw the sympathetic nervous system which will allow us to bi-pass the autonomic system. So from what I know we are either releasing adrenalin into our body or we are controlling out sympathetic nervous system.
    grace1366 replied to MrSp325's response:
    I can change the temperature of parts of my body. slow my heart beat and eliminate pain. Takes practice to be good at it.
    Death_By_Chocolate replied to grace1366's response:
    So you can eliminate pain as well? My theory is you're a mutant like Wolverine.

    Seriously though, I can't do this but I'm wondering if it would be possible to learn or if you have to be born with it. Being a diabetic, I'd like to know if controlling blood sugar in this way would be possible.
    CultureAdddict replied to Death_By_Chocolate's response:
    I haven't posted on this topic in over a year. With that said, i used this "ability" at the gym i joined after seeing others peoples responses. You'd be suprised how much you can lift and how quickly your muscle can developed. Blew my trainers mind. Consider we have been doing this all our life, there doesn't seem to be a downside. If you choose to, you can actually release the adrenaline for more than a few seconds, but i dont suggest that as your heart rate sky rockets. Just release it when lifting weight, or a boost while on the treadmill. I feel like superman at this point in my life. lol. Good luck guys.
    E_van replied to CultureAdddict's response:
    I learned about the ability to do this was possible for me for a while. I always thought I was just doing something weird that held no real connection. But I recently realized that it was increasing my heart rate, making me breathless, and dilating my pupils all at once. I can also contract them at will.I thought that anyone could do it, just that they wouldn't. I also got the "superman" feeling. Whenever it happens I can use more force, but after-wards I feel slightly more tired than normal. Now I know what it is!

    Helpful Tips

    potassium levels
    talk to your physician and check your meds on WebMD -- some med combinations either deplete or increase potassium levels in your ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    The Heart Beat - James Beckerman, MD, FACC

    Dr. James Beckerman shares how small, livable lifestyle changes can have a real impact on your risk of heart attack and stroke...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health General and Consultative Heart Care Center