Being demoed at CES this week is the Emwave 2 personal stress reliever from HeartMath. This portable device lets you monitor your stress levels and help you calm down. Specifically, it monitors your heart rhythms as an indicator of how stressed you may be. To use the device, you connect it to your PC and place your finger on its small monitor. A graph charting your heart patterns then appears on the PC.
Building on the original Emwave, the Emwave 2 lets you keep a running tab on your stress levels and see if and how you’ve been able to destress over time. The Emwave also includes software-based guides and images that try to help you move into a more zen-like state.
People are often naturally dubious of devices that claim they can help you destress. And with the Emwave sporting a price tag of $199, your wallet may end up feeling a bit of stress. But after taking the device for a spin, I did find it had a calming effect. I was able to monitor my own stress levels, which were initially rather high (this is CES after all). And by using deep breathing techniques, I was able to bring down those levels and find some inner calm that lasted for quite awhile.
Of course, I could have performed deep breathing and meditation on my own without the Emwave. But somehow having the gadget next to a computer where I can easily plug it in seems like a nice idea for the next time I need to destress, especially if it’s the PC that’s stressing me out.
The MathWave rep told me that the Emwave was based on more than 15 years of research on stress, emotions, and the connection between the heart and the brain. The company said the device is also used in health care facilities and hospitals to help patients monitor and control their stress levels.