Listening to your heartbeat could improve body image

7 February 2013

Women could feel better about their bodies if they listened to their heartbeat, a study has found.

Researchers at Royal Holloway University found women who 'listen' to their bodies tended less to think of their bodies as objects.

A team from the university's psychology department asked a group of female volunteers aged 19-26 to concentrate hard and count their own heartbeats.

According to the results, the more accurate the women were in detecting their heartbeats, the less they tended to think of their bodies as objects.

Researchers said the findings could lead to better understanding of body image dissatisfaction and clinical disorders such as anorexia.

Royal Holloway's Dr Manos Tsakiris said: "People have the remarkable ability to perceive themselves from the perspective of an outside observer.

"However, there is a danger that some women can develop an excessive tendency to regard their bodies as 'objects', while neglecting to value them from within, for their physical competence and health."

Women who self-objectify are vulnerable to eating disorders and a range of other clinical conditions such as depression and sexual dysfunction, he added.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)