Practicing meditation allows you to remain in control of your thoughts without letting them spiral out of control causing anxiety and other negative mind sets. However, attending mindfulness sessions and meditation courses can be expensive and time consuming which is why some prefer to meditate alone, on their own terms. Moreover, group or public meditation can also be daunting for first timers which results in people avoiding meditation all together. In order to understand meditation in greater detail, scientists have produced machines that study the effects of meditation on the brain using EEGs and fMRIs however these have been more for scientific purposes.
Finally, we have the answer to solo meditation. Just like fitness trackers gamify burning calories, the Muse Brain Sensing Headband gamifies meditation and helps you meditate anywhere, any time. Once purchased, you will need to pair the headband via Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet. Then you download the Calm app which is extremely clear and user friendly and follow the instructions that appear on screen. With the Muse Brain Sensing Headband you receive real-time biofeedback of your mental state as it translates brain signals into sounds reflecting how active your brain is. The idea is that you aim to keep your mind still and the Muse Brain Sensing Headband rewards your focus with peaceful sounds. The aim is for these peaceful sounds to be present throughout your meditation and if your mind wanders, you are met with more chaotic noise. For example, if you were to choose the beach setting, when your mind starts to wander, the sounds of rain become stronger which is a sign that tells you to focus more on your breathing and in turn, allows you to train your thoughts. The longer you stay focused, the more 'calm points' you receive and the more 'calm points' you receive, the more features you are able to unlock on the app. At the end of each session, the user receives a more detailed summary on their mobile device and is then able to set targets for future meditation sessions.
The real-time feedback is what is crucial to the product's success. It improves confidence in your ability and motivates you to constantly make meaningful improvements. Reviewers even claimed that the headband is as productive as having a one on one coach, only that this 'coach' has the ability to read your mind. You even receive a score at the end of each session which helps you perform better with each meditation! However, if all the guidance is overwhelming and distracting, there is also the option to switch it off which reviewers also loved.
All this is made possible with thanks to 7 sensors (2 on the forehead, 2 behind the ears and 3 reference sensors) and 4 data collecting channels. In addition, the headband also comes with a USB cable and a simple instruction manual which simply explains any technical issues you may be having. In terms of battery life, it lasts around 5 hours and bearing in mind that meditation sessions start at 3 minutes long, that’s a lot of power. Moreover, the product is available in a choice of black or grey and the headband itself is relatively lightweight, minimalistic, adjustable and comfortable.
The Bottom Line:
When you take time to meditate alone it's difficult to know if you're doing it 'right' and this product seems to combat this common worry. All in all, meditation has great positive effects on health and wellbeing and the Muse Brain Sensing Headband leaves you with little excuse not to practice. We recommend the product for many reasons, one being that at less than $250 it is fairly priced considering the prices of studio membership and private meditation coaches. Moreover, it's easy to use, convenient and motivates you to meditate more frequently.