In this article I’ll be taking a first look at the Beurer Stress Releazer, which claims to offer a low cost solution by combining breathing, vibration and heat to melt away stress and anxiety.
Unlike many of the products that I review here, the Stress Releazer comes from a 100 year old company. Beurer has been manufacturing medical and wellbeing products for over one hundred years, and the Releazer is one of its latest devices.
The device itself makes big claims. By integrating Heart Rate Variability training with low frequency vibrations and heat, it says that it’s able to stimulate the relaxation response by placing it on the chest whilst lying down.
The ReleaZer is a relaxation aid and breathing trainer, featuring a vibrating motor with low-frequency vibrations, choice of three different musical compositions, and optional heating function, that work together to help you relax. All you have to do is position the device over the diaphragm area, and enjoy its soothing effects.
Now before I get in to this device in more detail, let’s deal with the obvious… that it looks a lot like a giant mutant Sensate pebble. Now I go in to the differences in a lot more detail in my Sensate vs Beurer video, but they aren’t the same thing. Sensate uses a wide variety of vibrations based on the different programs, whereas the Beurer is a breathing trainer that uses a cyclic pattern of vibrations to pace your breathing. And the Sensate Pebble will fit in your pocket whereas the only way that you are getting the Beurer Stress Releazer in your pocket is if you are dressed like a clown or a wizard.
Back to the Stress Releazer. This beautifully made device comes with three buttons on the front – the power button plus one to activate the illumination and another to activate heat. An LED ring around the buttons indicates the charge level, and you recharge it using Micro-USB. It also comes with an app that allows you to control all of the modes, and we will get in to the app in more detail in a bit, but it’s worth mentioning that you can use the device itself without an app. You just turn it on, select the mode that you want by pressing the on button to cycle the modes round, and then select lighting or heat too, pop it on your chest and away you go.
The app, which is called “Calm Down”, allows you to select the mode, the breathing rate and the length of the programme, whilst also recording your sessions and allowing you to set reminders to regularly take some time out to practice. When you use the app, you also get to select from a number of soundtracks that use musical cues to pace your breathing. You can set it to 6 breaths a minute – which is 5 seconds in, five seconds out, 5 breaths a minute, which is 6 seconds in, 6 seconds out, or just over 4 breaths a minute, which is 7 seconds in, 7 seconds out. As you know if you regularly watch my channel, 6 seconds in, 6 seconds out is the optimal breathing rate for balancing your nervous system, but the flexibility to tune that rate to help you feel comfortable is most welcome. If you’d like to know more about this optimal breathing rate then please head to my video on coherence, a link to which you will find in the description.
Once you’ve set up your session the way that you want, pop some headphones in, lie down and place the device on your chest, and hit go. The device will then begin to vibrate in time with the musical cues, training you to breath at the set rate whilst listening to some well produced soundscapes that also include binarual beats for extra stress relief.
Now I really like the fact that the breathing pacer works through sound, vibration and light – they really have tried to make this device as easy to use as possible. Ten minutes of breathing using this device is actually easier than using Heartmath Inner Balance because you can let your mind drift and just gently following the breathing in the background, whereas Heartmath training is more focused as you are getting near realtime feedback on how your HRV is responding to your breathing, so you do need to focus. But if all you want is some down-time and to get the benefit of some balanced breathing then this really is an excellent bit of kit. It’s also a great focal point for mindfulness or focus meditation, and used in tandem with biofeedback such as Heartmath Inner Balance or Muse, you’ll see some outstanding results.
Now at this point I want to remind you that this device is, above all else, a breathing pacer. The vibration, sounds, lights and app prompts are all designed to train you to breathe in a balanced way, which, will in turn, help settle your nervous system and better process stress. Although the instructions talk about heart rate variability, there’s no Heartmath type biofeedback to be found in the device; it’s a simple, straightforward breathing pacer. And this is reflected in its price, which is a modest £115.
It’s well made, as is the excellent companion app, with lots of options to accommodate most people. There are two downsides for me, the first one is that it comes with a european plug, but given that the device is charged with a micro-usb cable I can’t see this being a problem for anyone prepared to spend £100 on a stress relieving gadget. The second one is that it the differential between the vibrations used to pace your breathing is quite subtle. This means that it will take you a while to attune to the breathing pacer. Now Beurer might argue that this causes you to focus more but in reality this means that you will need to use the device with both vibration and sound or screen for a while until you have become sensitised to the vibrations enough to use it on vibration setting alone. I’ve been measuring it’s effectiveness using biofeedback and it took a while for me to see any real change because initially I kept losing the pacing.
So if you’re looking for a moderately priced device to help you relieve some stress but you’re not in to the whole biofeedback aspect of Heartmath, then I can heartily recommend the Beurer Stress Releazer as a great option. It’s well made, with a good app and lots of options to tailor the experience to whatever it is that you can use on a regular basis. You’re not going to get the level of benefit that the likes of Heartmath, Neuvana Xen or Sensate will give you, but it’s a great introductory device that has the potential to help a lot of people.