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The Best Wearable Stress Relief Devices for Maximum Calmness

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As it arises, stress or anxiety can feel like a swirling vortex, somehow leaving you feeling tense and tired at the same time, with your brain unable to focus. But, in scientific terms, the impact of stress on the body is actually quite quantifiable: it comes from a cascade of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that create changes in your brain waves, heart rate and your breathing, known as “fight or flight”. answer. This quantifiable property is largely what has led to an increase in wearables that track stress through physical markers, which now paves the way for an even newer set of wearables designed not just to measure stress , but also to relieve him.

It’s true, some wearable stress devices (which you can place on your wrist, around your forehead, or even on your chest) claim to identify stress as it occurs and then provide physical intervention. , such as a certain sound or vibration, to help reduce the negative effects in the moment. The idea? Given what we know about the very real impact of stress on the nervous system, it may be possible to interrupt this mind-body feedback loop through physical means, just as you would through mental means (like , for example, mindfulness exercises or meditation).

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How do wearable stress relief devices work?

One of the main ways relaxation-focused wearables work to circumvent the stress response is by using a low-frequency version of sound or infrasound, which has a frequency that is usually barely audible (less than 20 hertz) and felt as a vibration. “These low-frequency vibrations are good for stress management because they promote relaxation,” says the occupational therapist. Brittany Ferri, PhDreferring to research into the power of binaural beats (i.e. two-tone sounds) in these low frequencies to induce soothing theta waves in the brain.

It is also possible that these vibrations could help stimulate the vagus nerve, which, in turn, signals the parasympathetic nervous system (aka “rest and digest”) response that neutralizes stress. Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Apollo Neurowhat makes a wearable that uses this vibration technology, David Rabin, MD, Ph.D.compare these vibrations to the soothing music effect– but, of course, without the potential distraction of the music itself: “Apollo brings the benefits of music to the body through the skin in a way that doesn’t require our ears to provide the same balancing effects .”

A similar device, Sensationwhich is a palm-sized “pebble” that you place on your chest, takes this idea one step further, resonating low-frequency vibrations through your body by means of bone conductionaccording to the inventor of Sensate Stefan Chmelik. Although research on how different types of vibrations affect the body is still emerging, Sensate’s soft rumble could be compared to the chest vibration effect of chanting “om” for a long period of time, which has been shown to activate the vagus nerve and promote calm.

A number of other wearable devices for stress relief use different variations of sound and vibration, as well as heat therapy, all of which can “serve as useful additions to any other stress relief practice,” says Ferri. In other words, these devices aren’t so much quick fixes to stress as they are methods that can help shift your mind to a space where it’s more effective to relax. Below, you’ll find a list of the best wearable stress relievers on the market, along with the science behind how they’re designed to work.

5 of the best anti-stress clothes to buy for maximum calm

Sensation 2 — $249.00

As stated above, feeling 2 looks like a palm-sized stone (like the one you would jump on a stream). To use it, you place it on your chest, near your sternum, where it emits inaudible low-frequency sounds that create a gentle vibration. If you’re wondering how it doesn’t slip, know that it comes with a lanyard to hold it on and you’re usually supposed to lay down while it’s running. These vibrations sync with soundscapes or mixed-frequency musical tones, via a phone app (you listen through headphones while the pebble is at work), where you can adjust the volume of sounds and the intensity of vibrations.

This sensory punch has the satisfying effect of flipping the switch on your mind. The tingling buzz and melodic tones make it easy to enter a sort of dreamy state, which I found particularly welcome when I tried it, given how work I usually need to stop my racing thoughts during a meditation.

Apollo — $349.00

Although it has a similar mode of vibrational action to Sensate, Apollo takes a different approach in terms of use; it is not intended to be used only during meditation or while you relax, but rather throughout the day. You strap it to your wrist or ankle (with the vibrating piece inside either, for maximum effect), then sync it to an app, from which you choose the one of seven modes, which range from ‘Sleep and Renew’ to ‘Energy and Wake Up’.

The idea is that at any time, the gentle, wave-like vibrations can help optimize your nervous system’s response to the current situation. “All of Apollo’s vibrations remind us that we are not actually under threat by balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic activity through our sense of touch,” says Dr. Rabin. (The company conducted a internal study which shows this effect through increased heart rate variability – a marker of a healthy stress response – although it has not yet been peer-reviewed.)

As you might expect, the vibrations of the more restful modes contain slower frequencies, while those of the more upbeat modes reflect higher frequencies and faster rolling pulses. But for each of them, you can adjust the intensity of the mode with a slider on the application. Because everyone reacts a little differently, it is recommended that you start using Apollo at a lower intensity (in any of the modes) and then increase it a bit, once you are comfortable with feeling.

Creek — $379.00

Forget the wrists, ankles, and chest for a second and instead imagine the soothing vibration signals from the wearables above occurring in your head. Yes, Cove is a device that wraps around the back of your head and emits a quiet vibration designed to stimulate the insular cortex of the brain, which is the region that processes “affective touch” (i.e. say the stress-dissolving touch of a gentle embrace).

Like the Apollo, it’s meant to be worn during your regular activities (this time, at 20-minute intervals, twice a day), although it does look a bit funky in action. To use it, you’ll need to link the app, which lets you monitor heart rate data from sessions, as well as purchase a subscription; $379 gets you a year, but you can also choose to pay $199 upfront and $29 per month (for six months) or $99 upfront and $19 per month (for 18 months).

Rather than instantly calming you down or tempering how you feel, Cove is designed to alter your stress response over time. And through a internal study of around 700 people over two years, the company found evidence of this benefit, in terms of stronger connections between the insular cortex and regions of the brain that process emotions. Even so, the vibrations emitted by the device itself are very gentle, almost imperceptible at times, according to one writer, who tried it out for a few weeks. Take-out? Its effects are subtle and gradual, tapping into your unconscious sensitivity to rest and calm.

Muse 2 — $250.00

If you ever felt like you weren’t meditating properly, or if you can’t quite calm your mind to the point where you can really relax, the Muse 2 is for you. Unlike the stress-busting clothes above, this one works with you using electroencephalographic or EEG sensors (which measure electrical activity in your brain) to track your brain waves, plus additional sensors like a heart rate monitor, gyroscope (to track your breathing) and accelerometer (to track your posture).

Essentially, you choose a guided melodic balance-focused meditation from one of the above measures and can be sure you’re getting the beneficial effect with the device’s real-time feedback. For example, with mind-focused meditation, you are prompted to choose a natural soundscape (rainforest, beach, city park, desert, or ambient), and as the meditation continues, the device will translate your brainwaves into weather sounds in this environment. If it picks up active (i.e. distracted) brain waves? You will hear a thunderstorm brewing. But as long as your brainwaves stay in the quiet zone, you will be rewarded with the sounds of a peaceful time.

Embr Wave 2 — $299.00

Originally designed to relieve hot flashes in postmenopausal women, the Embr Wave 2 delivers a burst of cooling to temperature-sensitive skin on the inside of the wrist with the push of a button. But its benefits don’t stop there; If you’ve ever felt the rush of heat or sweating that can accompany a stressful or anxious moment, you know how much a cooling sensation can be relieved in this context as well.

Not to mention that just being in a space that’s too cold or too hot can create distracting or stressful discomfort – and the Embr Wave 2 lets you choose from different cooling modes. or warming sensations depending on what you need to bring you back to your base comfort level. In the connected application, you can set the precise temperature of your session (degressive) and choose a duration from 5 minutes to 9 hours; it also tracks sessions, so you can get a better idea of ​​when your mind and body are working best at what temperature.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.