Gone are the days when you would head out for a run and only take your runners, water bottle, and towel. Now you may also put on your Apple Watch or Jawbone Up before hitting the trails. Apple what and Jawbone huh? Apple Watch and Jawbone Up are two examples of the latest technology craze known as wearable tech. These devices, and so many others like them, encourage users to stay active, but what about devices that encourage users to stay calm? Meditation goes digital as a new generation of wearable tech, targeted at helping users to find calm shows up on the market.
I have not personally tried any of these devices, although I admit to being curious, so what I present here are my findings from various product reviews I’ve read. I include a link to the products on Amazon so you can check them out for yourself.
Meditation goes digital – Devices may increase the effects of your mindfulness practice:
Designed by experts in the fields of neurobiology, neuroscience and consumer electronics, Thync is a small device (controlled by an app) that is worn on the forehead for 15 – 20 minutes at a time. It uses neosignaling to stimulate the specific pathways in the brain normally associated with energy or calm, in a non-invasive way (rather than drinking a cup of coffee or eating candy, for example). Neosignaling is defined as the effect caused by stimulating a neural structure (skin receptor, muscle, nerve, or brain) with a low-intensity electrical waveform to signal or initiate an effect.
- Low battery life means you may need to recharge the device after every use
- Need to buy new adhesive strips (10 for 20.00 US). The company recommends only using them once but several reviewers reported they can last for 7 – 10 sessions before they loose adhesiveness providing you do not wear make up, lotion or sweat much on the areas the pads adhere to.
- Currently only available for ios (iphone).
This device looks like a smooth stone and clips to your belt or bra. It measures breathing patterns and counts your steps throughout the day in order to pinpoint your tension levels and help you reduce your stress and tension levels. When the device detects you are becoming too stressed, it sends you a gentle reminder that your stress levels are higher than optimal.
- Requires a compatible iPhone running iOS 8.3 or higher it does not support Android devices.
- Spire measures breathing to give you insight into your state of mind. It is not a mood tracker or medical device.
Phyode W/Me Wristband:
A Bluetooth enabled rhythmic breathing coach, Phyode W/Me is a wristband that says it can measure your autonomic sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These are the systems that control your involuntary responses as well as your fight or flight reflexes. The wristband also has a lot of other gadgets included (like a clock and the ability to access your email).
- It is only compatible with iphone and ipads.
- Some of the reviews say that it is gimmicky, trying to do too many things rather than focussing on being the best at it’s main functions.
- On Amazon the consumer ratings were very low (poor) in comparison to other products.
This fitness and wellness tracker measures your Heart Rate, Respiratory Rate, Blood Oxygen saturation and Heart Rate Variability. It also provides mindfulness breathing exercises and returns a relaxation score based on your heart rate variability.
- Only iphone compatible
- Price is a bit better than other products reviewed
While you meditate, muse measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into sounds. When you’re calm, you’ll hear peaceful weather sounds. When your mind wanders, the weather will intensify, guiding you back to a calm state. After each session, you can review your data and set goals.
- It is available for both andriod and iphone.
- It is better to use earbuds with it as headphones are likely to dislodge it.
- It can be tricky getting all 5 of the sensors to work at once – one of the reviewers suggested that if you have this problem “pull the band out at the ears a little and push it in to tighten while on your head. This has a cinching effect that helps get the sensors touching.”
In conclusion, these apps should be thought of as a tool to help you relax into your meditation practice with a bit more ease NOT as a replacement for your meditation practice.
If you are considering purchasing one of these devices I suggest thoroughly reading the product reviews on Amazon first for more details about the pros and cons of the device.
To Your Health!