Harvard Health Ad Watch: Can a wearable device reduce stress?

With regards to your wellbeing and excellence of existence, stress matters. Being not able to dial lower levels of stress can impact sleep, mood, and appetite. And also the lengthy-term results of chronic stress happen to be associated with coronary disease, weight problems, and Alzheimer’s, among other health problems.

Obviously, defining stress is hard. Situations which are demanding for many are exhilarating or barely ruffle down for other people: to give an example, speaking in public might be energizing for just one person and cause paralyzing anxiety in another.

Recently, wearable products have guaranteed a number of health advantages, including stress management. One product caught my attention, partly due to how it’s promoted:

A wearable hug, for the not-so-nervous system… silent, soothing vibrations confer with your central nervous system, suggesting that you’re safe as well as in control.

Sounds great, right? Okay, I am not sure exactly what a ‘wearable hug’ is or maybe that’s something I’d want. However the idea that an individual can strap a band onto their wrist or ankle and turn back results of force on their lives is intriguing. I desired to find out more.

The merchandise

When you strap Apollo Neuro on your wrist or ankle, this watch-like gadget provides vibrations towards the skin. The intensity and frequency from the vibrations vary, with respect to the mode selected through the user. These modes include “energy and awaken,” “social and open,” “obvious and focused,” and 4 others. You do not put on this product constantly. The instructions suggest times of fifteen minutes (for meditation and mindfulness) to 2 hrs (for sleep and renew).

The claims

Ah, where to start? Their email list of the way the Apollo Neuro should really enhance your existence is lengthy and varied. Here’s an example from the claims produced by its makers:

“…delivers a singular touch therapy, felt as gentle waves of vibration [that] restore good balance to your body.”

“…retrains your central nervous system to handle stress better by yourself. With time you’ll sleep better, enhance your focus, and feel more balanced.”

“…your body learns to recuperate from stress more rapidly, so that you can relax, sleep better, and discover deep, significant focus – anywhere and anytime.”

Want more? Apollo Neuro also states strengthen and rebalance your autonomic central nervous system and improve heartbeat variability. The organization states this builds your resilience to demanding situations “which means you cut back amount of time in fight-or-flight mode and obtain additional time to relax and digest.” Words like renew, rebalance, and rebuild are peppered through the pitch.

The explanation

Why would vibrations put on the skin assist you to manage stress? The reason given is convoluted and, for me, unconvincing. Certain frequencies of vibration are meant to moist lower the energizing fight-or-flight reaction to stress mounted through the supportive central nervous system and activate “rest and digest” instructions from the parasympathetic central nervous system. Heartbeat variability (HRV) – the standard slowing lower and accelerating from the heart – offers a method to not directly spotlight which area of the central nervous system is active. HRV is commonly lower among those who have a panic or anxiety disorder or sleep problems, and individuals who feel stressed. It is commonly greater in those who are calm and focused. It’s important to note, though, that medications and heart rhythm disorders also affects HRV.

Okay, still beside me? The vibrations delivered by Apollo Neuro usually are meant to counter the results of chronic stress by activating the calming parasympathetic central nervous system. And according to HRV data collected by Apollo Neuro, their device assists in keeping the central nervous system inside a healthier condition and, consequently, cuts down on the dangerous results of chronic stress. When I stated, the reason is convoluted.


To the credit, the web site for Apollo Neuro provides greater than 50 printed articles on chronic stress, heartbeat variability, the outcome of vibration on your body, along with other topics. Particularly, however, none of those studies is one of the Apollo Neuro. Actually, it seems that no rigorous, large-scale studies of the device happen to be printed.

Three small studies described online describe results for pretty much every study subject in a few minutes of putting on the Apollo Neuro:

Inside a study of 38 healthy subjects (age not given), individuals while using vibration treatment reported feeling calmer, had improved precision on cognitive tasks, and elevated heartbeat variability.

Inside a pediatric trial, 15 children, ages 7 to 17, with mental health insurance and impulse control problems, autism, and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder used the unit. Based only on observations from clinicians, parents, and also the patients, enhancements were noted in “mood, behavior, engagement, and reducing stress in a few minutes in most participants.”

For 11 nurses while using Apollo Neuro, average stress scores fell by greater than 40% within two days, and sleep, energy, mood, focus, and stress improved.

Other preliminary studies apparently reveal that users achieved much deeper states of meditation, enhancements in Post traumatic stress disorder signs and symptoms, and reduced utilization of narcotics and sleep aids.

When the Apollo Neuro would be a drug as opposed to a device, no evidence presented could be sufficient for Food and drug administration approval. These studies don’t have been done by independent researchers, little detail is supplied on study subjects or methods, and findings aren’t printed in peer-reviewed medical journals.

The conclusion

Many different ways to reduce anxiety inside your existence don’t require purchasing a high-tech device. Even though it is always good if this type of gadget could securely reduce signs and symptoms and complications of chronic stress, without solid evidence it’s impossible to understand whether the claims produced by the manufacturers of Apollo Neuro are true. In my opinion, this gadget is much like a number of other healthcare products available to buy: the marketing has become way in front of the science.