Here's how to lower your heart rate to donate plasma:
- Leave your stress at the door. Stress creates high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart beat fast. Before going into the plasma center, focus yourself. Forget about your stress, marriage, job, money troubles - just concentrate on donating plasma. Then walk in.
- Wait 15 minutes before going back to the testing center. Sit in the little plastic chair a while. Watch some grainy TV. Listen to donors get called. You'll be more relaxed, and your heart rate will slow down.
- Breathe deeply while you're waiting to be tested. Do this while you're waiting to be called back. Breathing deeply is a great relaxation technique.
- IMPORTANT: breathe deeply while the pressure cuff is on your arm. Breathe in. Wait. Breathe out. Wait. Breathe deeply and slowly. Your heart rate will fall to a good level for donation.
- Optional: think happy, relaxing thoughts while your blood pressure is being tested. Combine happy, relaxing thoughts with your breathing techniques.
- Relax your arm during testing. Think wispy willow, not sturdy tree trunk. I can't tell you how many donors didn't pass the heart rate test because their arm was too stiff. When you stiffen your arm, you put more pressure against the blood measuring cuff, and the test reads the heart rate higher.
What Happens if I Fail the Heart Rate Test?
If you fail the blood pressure/heart rate test, you get to wait 15 minutes, and test again. If you fail the test the first time, breathe deeply, relax your body, and think relaxing thoughts before re-testing. If you fail the blood pressure test twice, you are deferred from donating for one day. You have to wait for another day to donate.
I've been donating plasma for 25 years. I use the techniques above, I've never been rejected because the donation center says my heart rate is too high. Just relax, breathe deep, and think about not having to get your finger pricked again tomorrow.