According to the Time Magazine’s article “Americans Are Getting More Stressed Out, Study Finds,” published March 2016 a study was conducted by the American Psychological Association that found twenty five percent of Americans are stressed out, but don’t know how to control or handle it. Stress can put a toll on your overall health and figuring out a way to lower and diminish your stress level is important but can be tricky. With this new product called Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband, being able to determine when you are feeling stressed out and to train you how to alter yourself from being stressed out.
How it works
The Muse is not meant to alter your brain, but instead its goal is to relax you and put you in a form of meditation. This product uses electroencephalography (EEG) sensors, which are the same sensors doctors use to find brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. There are seven sensors located on this headband, five of them along the forehead and one behind each ear, these sensors measure the brain waves in the different parts of your brain. This headset syncs with your smartphone via Bluetooth and works with their app Muse Calm, available for iOS and Android. While wearing this headband you must have the app open so it can walk you through the meditation process. Throughout the process the app plays different sounds, depending on how your brainwaves are working. If your brainwaves are moving quickly the sounds of wind or a storm will pick up, if you are relaxed, like you should be, then you will hear sounds of waves. Even though you are supposed to keep your eyes closed throughout the training session there is a video of waves crashing on a beach that plays on the screen of the app. To get the best experience of this meditation it is advised that you wear a headset in your ears so background noises don’t break your concentration. A narrator with a soothing voice will speak to you and instruct you on how to inhale and exhale. The purpose is to teach you how to handle stressful situations and how to meditate.
The Muse is relatively comfortable to wear. The thin and decently stylish headset lays across the front of your forehead while two arms tuck behind your ears like a pair of glasses. It is incredibly important that this fits across your forehead snug so the thin readers that lay along your scalp can read your brain activity correctly. There are adjustable bands to help fit the headband accordingly to your head. The style of this headset is minimalistic and come in two colors; white and black. As for the battery supply, there are two USB charging ports on each arm of the headset, the battery lasts for about 5 or 6 seven minute sessions, but it really depends on how often you use the device and for how long since there are different lengths of training sessions.
The set up for the Muse is relatively easy. After you have downloaded the app all you have to do is make sure that the headset is syncing with your iOS or Android device. There are lights on the side of the headset that will flash accordingly if it is synched correctly. Once you connect your headset to your device it should never have to reestablish a connection as long as you have Bluetooth enabled on that device. Other than making sure the Bluetooth connection is stable you will also need to calibrate the sensors on your head. Unlike the syncing to your device you will need to calibrate the headset onto your head every time you use this. The calibration only takes 60 seconds and it is done by thinking about what the narrator tells you to, for example he will tell you to think about things like fruits or animals. While you are thinking of those specific subjects the EEGs are able the sense your brain waves accordingly.
Troubleshooting/ Customer Service
One of the biggest advantages of purchasing the Muse is that it has free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product. There are many FAQ that appear on their website that can answer most customer questions, but if you have more questions their customer support team responds fairly quickly. In addition to their FAQ on their website there is also many tutorials showing you an array of things from how to adjust the arms to fit your head to how to use their app and how to understand the results after participating in a training session.
Brain Waves and Games
Not only did Interaxon, the makers of the Muse create a headband that can help you relax and meditate, but they have created an app that will bring you instant results and will turn your results into a game. Interaxon clearly thought through society and how in apt we are at constantly using games and goals to help improve our health overall. The app will calculate points automatically while you are meditating. For every second you are in a neutral state you will receive 1 point and for every second your mind is categorized as calm you receive 3 points. Once you reach 5,000 points you have unlocked a new “level.”
Other than the fact that this is a portable brain wave reader that has as much technology as machines in a hospital, there are many more advantages to investing in The Muse.
- Easy to use
- Comfortable to wear
- Keeps track of each session
While not many people would be sporting this new technology around and investing in one would put you ahead of the curve, because this type of product is relatively new to the market there are a few things that can cause you to deter away from wanting to make this purchase so quickly.
- At $299, it is a little pricey
- Small head movements like yawning can loosen the sensors
- The device is not medically approved
Overall Muse would be the product to buy if you have $300 burning a hole in your pocket and are constantly stressed out and need to find a way to manage that. With the use of soundwaves and neurotransmitters through the headband in as little as 3 minutes this product can calm and relax you. Which makes finding time in a busy schedule for a little rest and relaxation a lot easier.