This is probably not the first article you read on increasing stress and stress levels in today’s society. With stress affecting our behavior, thoughts and feelings and ultimately our health, it will certainly not be the last. But you can actually train how to relax.
For example the Lumafit Sensor, is a device with a holistic approach targeting both body and mind. It can act as your fitness coach, track your activities, visualize your optimal heart rate and helps you to relax by teaching you how to meditate with simple exercises. Meditation reduces blood pressure and everyday stress. Worn on the ear the device can be used in the office, at home, or on the go to help you relax. The sensor tracks medical grade heart data and head motion tracking data and sends them to a smartphone.
A solution focusing on breathing is provided by BreathResearch. The product is called BreathAcoustics All-in-One Headset and will use acoustic sensors to analyze the quality of a person’s breathing to help alleviate stress, optimize athletic performance, lose weight and improve sleep. The company has partnered with Philips and HeartZones USA and is currently running a campaign on Indiegogo.
Tinké focusses on a combination of heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate and blood oxygen levels to monitor both, fitness and wellness. Using heart rate variability taken from a finger as a basis, the small box provides controlled breathing exercises to relax yourself and indicate your level of relaxation.
The HeartMath Inner Balance™ Trainer also offers an approach to improve wellness through training, education and self-monitoring. The product shows heart rhythm pattern (HRV) and a breathing pacer to go along with heart rhythms to train how to change these to a healthier, coherent state. The Inner Balance Trainer works exclusively with the so called HeartMath iOS connector that attaches to an iPhone or iPad and a person’s earlobe.
And then, there is the PIP device which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in July 2013 with a gamification centered approach. The idea is to manage stress by having a break and fun at the same time. The PIP biosensor is available for both iOS and Android and detects whether you are stressed or relaxing in real time. Held between the fingertips, the devices communicates the stress level wirelessly to an app running on a smartphone or tablet. An ever-expanding suite of gaming and entertainment apps is available to visualize and master stress in a fun and engaging way.
The military labs have something in the making too. The company TIAX, contracted by the U.S. Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), is in charge of this project. The system, entitled SENSORS (System for Evaluating Neurological Stress with Objective & Remote Sensors), will likely be in the form of a solid, lightweight garment, such as an under-helmet skullcap, containing multiple built-in biomedical sensors. The garment will measure a variety of physiological parameters such as sleepiness, brain activity, perspiration, and blood pressure, then broadcast them wirelessly to a remote location for real-time processing and evaluation. The biomedical data gathered from soldiers in simulated battle situations will allow the Armed Forces to accumulate a better understanding of how stress, workload and cognitive state can affect a soldiers’ performance and decision-making skills. While the system is intended for military testing facilities, it is applicable to other high stress sectors outside of the military including emergency medical services, public safety, commercial aviation, long-haul trucking and lie detection.
Another wristband tracking health was recently announced by AIRO. The AIRO health tracker claims to be the one band to keep all your health goals in sight, including stress management. In addition to tracking and offering advice for nutrition, sleep and exercise the new wristband helps the wearer to be proactive about stress. It measures heart rate variations, the aggregate response of your autonomic nervous system derived from heart rate, to measure the smallest fluctuations in your stress levels. AIRO warns as stress levels rise but can also provide recommendations as to how best to deal with it. Over time, AIRO gets smarter by learning what calms the wearer down and what doesn’t.
The icing on the cake comes from the hand of a Taiwanese company that started its adventure through Kickstarter: Phyode, which leads us to our final, but certainly not last wristband we will see on the market, that is supposed to help us manage our stress levels. The W/Me band (with-me) works with a special sensor called Life Spectrum Analyzer (LSA). This sensor is responsible for detecting your body´s harmonic frequency. Combined with the accompanying app the LSA maps out your subconscious mental state, your agility score indicating how capable your body is to adjust to the changes in your environment. It also tells you your ANS age. If it is higher than your actual age, you can improve it with a series of breathing exercises that leave you in a relaxed state, thus improving your ANS age.