Stress has reached epidemic proportions, with the Health and Safety Executive reporting last year that over 75% of all working adults experiencing chronic stress more than once a year.

And it’s chronic stress that drives sickness, presenteeism, relationship breakdown and poor decision-making.

Stress is at the core of most relationship issues
Stress is at the core of most relationship issues

Enter Stresstec - new technologies to reduce stress without any effort

By now the solution to stress is well known. Sleep more, get out in nature, do yoga, cut down on coffee, meditate, the list is exhaustive.

And yet people are still stressed, because they don’t have time to try all of these things.

And this is where new technologies come in. As we better understand the mechanisms that relieve stress, technologies are emerging that take advantage of biological stress relief pathways such as the vagus nerve on the go. The recently released Neuvana Xen is a great example of this.

So here are three technologies you can expect to see available in 2020 that promise to improve your wellbeing without you having to do anything other than look a bit odd whilst you’re wearing it.

Niraxx Near Infrared Headband - Feb 2020

Niraxx is a smart headband and app that delivers unique wavelengths of near-infrared light to activate brain’s natural calming and regenerative processes. You’ll be able to select personalized brain training regimens to restore and enhance your brain’s natural functions.

Niraxx uses naturally occurring Near Infrared Light at a wavelength that is proven to safely reach cells deeper in your body. This light stimulates the brain cells, which, research suggests, improves neuroplasticity, increases alertness and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation so that you are able to stay smart whilst under pressure.

Currently in production, funded by a campaign on crowdsourcing website Indiegogo, the company promises to have devices on consumer’s heads sometime in February. The device is a little odd looking, and not something you would wear about the office, but there is a large body of research to support their claims, so the device has the potential to provide significant benefits, albeit at a premium of £300 per unit.

https://niraxx.com

Sensate II Vagus Nerve Stimulator - March 2020

The Sensate Pebble uses vibrations on your chest to stimulate your vagus nerve, the nerve that controls your “calm down” response after stressful events.

Eastern practices such as Qigong, Yoga and Chanting have been stimulating the vagus nerve in a similar ways for millennia, so this is providing the same stimulation using vibration.

It purports to be something you can wear all day, but maybe isn’t to everyone’s style. The first version was released in 2019 to good reviews, and the Sensate II is expected in February or March this year.

It will retail at £299 but it currently listed at preorder for £199.

https://www.getsensate.com

Muse-S Meditation Headband - Spring 2020

Muse are now on their third iteration of their meditation headbands, and every generation sees improvement in their technology, apps and usability.

The Muse-S measures your brain activity, heart rate, breathing, and body movement through multiple biosensors to give you real-time feedback on your meditation practice and help you know when you’re in the zone.

Additionally this generation is designed to be comfortable enough to sleep in, so that you get detailed insights in to your sleep quality above and beyond the simple movement data that you get from your Oura ring or your smartwatch. Plus the app provides biofeedback sessions to help you get off to sleep.

Currently available in the US for £329, it will be available in Europe in the Spring.

https://choosemuse.com/

Research

Niraxx
Vatansever, Fatma & Hamblin “FIR, its biological effects and medical applications”, Photonics & lasers in medicine Vol 4 (2012) 255-266
Yenno, Amarnath, et al. “Prefrontal responses to Stroop Tasks in Subjects with PTDS assessed by Functional near Infrared Spectroscopy”, Scientific Reports Col. 6, no 1, 2016
Sensate
A Laine Green, Donald F Weaver, “Vagal stimulation by manual carotid sinus massage to acutely suppress seizures”, Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, Jan 2014;179-180
Bangalore G Kalyani, Ganesan Venkatasubramanian, Rashmi Arasappa, Naren P Rao, Sunil V Kalmady, Rishikesh V Behere, Hariprasad Rao, Mandapati K Vasudev, and Bangalore N Gangadhar, “Neurohemodynamic correlates of ‘OM’ chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study”, International Journal of Yoga, Jan-Jun 2011
Harry Cheadle, “ASMR, the Good Feeling No One Can Explain”, Vice, Jul 2012
Muse
Bhayee, Tomaszewski et al. “Attentional and affective consequences of technology supported mindfulness training: a randomised, active control, efficacy trial”, MBC Psychology, 4 article 60, 2016

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