The brain is a complex organ and to understand it better you need to track its activity. Electroencephalography (EEG) signals are an important part of this. Indeed, the creation of an EEG headband by the name of Muse has opened a new chapter in the understanding of how your brain responds to different situations and tapping into data to improve meditation.
Meditation is such an important part of healthy living. In a world full of challenges, your best bet when it comes to sustaining high levels of productivity is to make sure that your brain is functioning optimally and is awash with positive energy all the time. However, meditation is not always easy.
Even the best-trained person struggles to stay focused when meditating. Most people don’t even know what’s expected of them per session and only end up doing some guesswork when they sit on the mat.
Meet the Muse EEG Headband
This is a headband which has built-in sensors. It works by tracking your brain at the forehead and behind your ears. You’re supposed to wear it just before you start your meditation sessions.
Basically, its job is to track your brain activity. It sort of reads your mind and producing the necessary guiding sounds to usher you into a world of deep meditation by playing a variety of sounds to you.
The best part is that you can choose the kind of sound you want to use to guide your meditation or simply let the gear do the job for you. Some of the guiding sounds available include the “Wind in the desert,” “Rain in the rain forest,” and “Waves on a beach” among others.
The Muse adjusts the intensity of those sounds depending on your state of mind. For instance, if you’re unsettled and having some negative thoughts and you’re listening to the “Wind in the desert” tune, the wind sound gets stronger. As your mind calms down and you get into a deep state of meditation, you’ll hear a bird sound.
A high number of bird sounds heard per session equates to a good meditation track record. Besides that, the system is designed to provide you with an after-session graph. You can use that graph to study your highs and lows. The peaks in the graph usually reflect moments in your meditation sessions when your brain was unsettled. The lows are the exact opposite of that.
How It Works
The device connects wirelessly to your smartphone but works best when high-quality earbuds are plugged in. Its wireless access to your smartphone means it can be remotely controlled through its official app.
Using the app, you can choose the kind of environment you’d like to meditate in. Also, you can choose how long you want to meditate with the durations ranging from as little as 3 minutes to a 1 hour or more.
The idea behind this device is to supercharge your meditation experience by guiding you through the process. It particularly lets you know when you have lost focus so you can improve moving forward.
Muse Headband: Some of the Things We Like About It
This headband is in our view quite well made. It’s ergonomic, gentle and flexible. You can easily pack it up in your bags and travel with it. What’s more? It is light in weight meaning you can wear it on your head for long hours without getting fatigued.
We also love the fact that it has a built-in battery. As such you don’t have to limit yourself to the radius of your wall plugs to use it. That said, its battery is meant to last for 5 hours or so. We’d have wished for a stronger battery but that would have probably made the headband heavier or less safe to use.
User-friendliness is yet another one of the merits that drew our attention to this device. Indeed, it comes with built-in LED lights which alert you on the power status of the headband. The lights, for instance, let you know when the unit is pairing, paired, charging or charged.
Its app is also quite well-made. If you’re looking for something intuitive and easy-to-understand, this mobile application will surely excite you. We particularly like how easy it is to adjust the difficulty levels while using it.
You can pretty much get started on using it without having to refer to any user manual. That’s a big plus for anyone who might be so busy to the extent that they don’t have the time to read and understand complex stuff.
What’s The Science Behind It?
Modern technology has played a major role in health management and the Muse is one of the products that have come up owing to the recent advances in science and tech. The EEG neurofeedback technology is, however, not a new thing. It has been used in the management of mental health related conditions for more than a decade now.
The only difference is that in the yester-years, the sounds used to be relayed through recording devices, laptops or desktops.
There is a whole lot of scientific theory to back up this entire process but in brief, neurofeedback is all about assessing your brain. EEG, in particular, assesses your brain’s electrical frequency and from such assessments recommends the best approach toward helping the brain repair itself.
One key element of this approach is that it works by providing feedback to the brain. This can be done through computer games, lights, vibrating cushions, teddy bears or even sounds. In the case of Muse, the sound is used to provide this kind of feedback.
Why Use Muse?
Muse if the first of its kind. It’s quite different from all the other meditation apps we’ve come across so far. You can fully rely on it to get accurate and real-time feedback on the events taking place in your mind as you meditate.
The human-centered innovation is designed to help you enjoy meditation in a personalized way. That’s quite important given the fact that no two brains work in exactly the same way. So, instead of relying on rules that are cast on stone, this tool suggests what works best for you based on real-time feedback.
One of the benefits of meditation is stress relief. Meditation enhances self-awareness and improves the brain’s ability to load up on the feel-good hormones. Indeed, proper meditation is also associated with a steady decline in the levels of the cortisol hormone which is a stress-causing hormone. Needless to say, you can bank on this electronic gadget to better manage your stress symptoms.
Enhances Your Quality of Life
Relaxation is a key part of healthy living. Using the Muse is an excellent way to help the brain rest. By constantly bringing your brain to the meditative state even when you’re distracted by negative thoughts, this device strengthens your self-control. Most importantly, it helps you to control your ability to relax.
Better Mental Performance
A disorganized mind can become an insurmountable stumbling block in your life. By getting into a deep state of meditation, it’s possible to “detox” and refresh the mind. That way, your ability to focus on complex task and reaction times will also significantly improve. Also, by avoiding distractions, you can significantly increase your productivity.
Helps You Build Good Habits
A quick meditation session with this device lasts for 3 minutes. The good news is that even by sticking to such a routine, you can dramatically build a meditation practice. That’s because this app taps into your brain’s reward system.
For each session accomplished you’ll be given points and bird chirps. Such rewards and motivations are quite important in helping you to nurture this all-important habit.
Given the fact that this is an electronic device that comes into close contact with your delicate organs, it’s normal to be worried about its safety track record. Well, all we can confirm for now is that it’s tested and built in life with the existing regulatory standards in the USA, Europe, and Canada.
EEG technology is also widely used in mental health institutions across the globe. So, there’s absolutely no harm in using it at home.
Another point worth noting is that this unit only gobbles up 1/100th of a normal cellular phone signal when communicating via Bluetooth. So, it’s generally safe to use – in fact, safer than a normal cellular phone.
Pros & Cons
Muse is good but not perfect. It’s accurate most of the time and is generally easy to use. That said, we have come across quite a few complaints that its app takes rather long to get started. They probably need to fix this with a software update moving forward.
Otherwise, this is a great brain-sensing headband and we’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking to engage in guided meditation.