Biofeedback Gadgets That Can Help You Build a Healthier Brain … – MUO – MakeUseOf

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Biofeedback can tell you more about how you’re feeling—and what your body’s experiencing—than average fitness trackers. Learn how that data is useful.
If you've ever wondered if it's possible to Jedi mind-trick yourself into a healthier brain and body, you're not alone, and you're also not crazy. With the use of biofeedback gadgets, you might just be able to transform your brain in new and beneficial ways.
Biofeedback gadgets are not just another soon-to-fail techno-gizmo. They are here, they work, and they might just be the mind-body wellness ticket you've been looking for. These devices provide real-time feedback on brain activity that can help you control your stress responses and take command of your health.
Let's dive into some biofeedback gadgets and explore how they work and, more importantly, how they can improve your well-being.
One gadget that you might have heard of is Muse. This headband may look like a high-tech gimmick, but it acts like a personal mindfulness coach. How, you ask?
This tool transforms your brainwaves into guiding sounds. For instance, during a meditation session, if your mind is calm and collected, you hear peaceful weather sounds. If your mind is scattered, you hear stormy weather. Since you will naturally be drawn to the peaceful sounds, your mind will figure out what it has to do at the level of brainwaves to cause a change in the audio. Simple yet brilliant, right?
Muse also offers a Biofeedback+ feature, which allows you to overlay biofeedback training sessions over your favorite music, podcast, or meditation content, so you can train your brain while listening to Spotify or Audible.
Next up, we have a technological solution that might just make you question if you're in a Star Trek episode. The Recharge Spire platform uses the same logic as the Muse does when training your brain, but it uses it to train your muscles. This is possible since there are neurological connections with each muscle. The stronger the current received, the more active the muscle.
By connecting electrical sensors to your body, this biofeedback device helps you make subtle changes, like teaching your overworked or tight muscles to unwind. The proposed benefits: increased muscle control and recovery.
Lastly, the EmWave2 from HeartMath is a pocket-sized device that aims to help improve focus, reduce stress, and promote emotional balance. The EmWave2 utilizes Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback, allowing you to visualize your heart rate pattern in real time. This allows you to develop greater coherence—a measure of synchronization between your heart, breath, and mind. Users and experts alike praise the EmWave2, often emphasizing its power to make palpable changes in their daily lives.
What binds these three gadgets together is their shared purpose: to enable you to understand your body better and master your stress responses. And if you think these are just gimmicks, you can always dive deeper into biofeedback technology and its benefits.
Consider some real-life examples of how you could use biofeedback devices in your daily routine.
Imagine Jenna, bathed all day in the blue-light glow of a dual-monitor set-up, the city's skyline outside her window, her brain a whirlwind of thoughts. After returning home from a long, intense day of PowerPoint presentations, slipping on the Muse headband feels like putting on a crown of calm.
The headband helps train her brainwave activity so that her mind is mirrored by gentle rain sounds. When thoughts flutter, a storm brews in her headphones. She begins to train her mind towards the calming rain and away from the storm, shaping her meditation practice. The next day, using Biofeedback+, Jenna overlays the rain with her favorite morning podcast, creating a personalized sanctuary of serenity on the train to work.
Meet Alex, muscles glistening after a grueling workout session, each fiber echoing the aftermath of intense exercise. Thankfully, he's booked a session with Recharge Performance. As they stick sensors onto his aching muscles, he feels like he's stepping into a Star Trek episode.
The device transmits a current, and as he focuses on the device's feedback, he consciously relaxes specific muscles. Every session leaves him feeling less tense and like he has a deeper muscle-mind connection.
Lastly, envision Maria, her heart pounding in her chest after a demanding soccer match. Soon, she's back to mind-juggling the upcoming demands of academic life. When she arrives at the library the next day, she finds a quiet corner and takes out the EmWave2, her tiny yet potent ally against stress.
After clipping the device to her ear, she follows along with the visual cues on the device that help her speed up or slow down her breathing, depending on how coherent her HRV is. After a few weeks of these pre-study sessions, she connects the device to her computer to see a graphical display of how she's been able to calm her mind and regularize her nervous system over time.
Like any good sci-fi film, the future is packed with mind-bending possibilities that could reshape your approach to health and wellness. In the coming years, expect biofeedback technology to become even more personalized.
Consider a device that doesn't just respond to your brainwaves or muscle tension but is fine-tuned to monitor all of your physiological patterns. This includes everything from neurological patterns to hormonal levels, cellular metabolic activity, microbiome analysis (there are high-tech tools to help you evaluate your microbiome health, by the way), and even genetic expressions.
And what would the future be without AI integration? We're already seeing the impacts of early adoption of AI in healthcare. But think about the magic that could happen when AI meets biofeedback. Your device could learn from patterns over time, predicting stress peaks or recommending personalized relaxation techniques that work for you but no one else.
Lastly, as biofeedback technology advances, you may see it seamlessly integrated into everyday objects—your office chair that monitors your stress levels or a bed that tracks your REM sleep—that can also adjust external stimuli to guide you back into optimal brain and body patterns.
The future of biofeedback looks promising, filled with possibilities that could further your understanding of the mind-body connection. This isn't just about reducing stress or improving focus. It's about learning to listen to the whispers of your body, understand its language, and respond with care.
So, as people embrace the future of biofeedback technology, they won't just be looking at a generation of healthier people—they'll be seeing a world that's more in tune with itself.
Sean is a long-time tech-enthusiast and early adopter who enjoys keeping up with the latest technological advances. He focuses on exploring how tech such as wearables and AI are impacting people’s health and wellbeing. He has a master’s degree and, before writing for MakeUseOf, spent time as a technology instructor. He’s been writing about technology for over 10 years. When he’s not at his standing desk, you’ll find him on the volleyball court or on a mountain.


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