Jun 27, 2020
Active Stress-Reduction Wearable
What It Is
Nowadays, it is hard to escape stress in our daily lives. Facing surmounting stress, we constantly trigger our sympathetic nervous system (fight-and-flight response) in our body even when there is no real threat to our lives. Overtime, this results in chronic stress.
Apollo claims to be able to instantly reduce the fight-and-flight response in our body, and restore its balance. It is a wearable device that uses vibration to simulate human touch (for example, receiving a hug when you are feeling anxious). Consistent use of this device increases your parasympathetic nervous system and results in the improvement of Heart Rate Variability (HRV). This device was developed by physicians and neuroscientists. A trial was conducted and it was reported that 90% of 2000 users reported better productivity, sleep and focus.
How to Use It
Apollo can be worn on your wrist, or your ankle. Technically, it can be worn at any part of your body that allows the device to transmit vibration to your bones. You will need to pair the device with Apollo mobile app to control the device. It supports both Android and iOS. The device can be charged with Micro-USB cable, and it takes about 2 hours to fully charge.
There are 7 modes of operations:
Energy and Wake Up—Gives you a boost of energy when you’re feeling tired and sluggish.
Social and Open—Elevates mood and energy to relieve stress in social situations, whether at work or play.
Clear and Focused—Filters out distraction and settles your nerves for clear, calm focus. I use this mode twice daily—once in the morning and once in the afternoon, each for 30 minutes—when I am working to gain the extra boost of focus.
Rebuild and Recover—Accelerates your body’s recovery after a workout. I use this mode for 30 minutes right after every strength training for the speedy recovery.
Meditation and Mindfulness—Prepares you for meditation by facilitating the connection between body and mind. I don’t quite feel the difference much between using it or not using it during meditation (or I just don’t notice?).
Relax and Unwind—Rapidly relieves stress for deep relaxation. I use this mode daily in the evening after work for 60 minutes.
Sleep and Renew—Quiets your mind and eases you into a restful sleep. I use this mode daily to sleep for 120 minutes. I feel calmer when I wear it to sleep. Many people reported feeling calmer wearing it on the ankle to sleep. I feel much better wearing it on my wrist as I sleep on the side. During my sleep, my other leg that is not wearing it from time to time would rest on the other leg wearing it, and it gives me an awareness of having this device on my ankle in the middle of my sleep, which does not make me feel quite comfortable. When I wear it on my wrist, I almost don’t notice having it during my sleep.
You pick the mode that you want to apply, set the vibration intensity, and timer on the phone, and you are set. The vibration actually feels calming—it is similar to the feeling of sitting on a massage chair. Definitely there isn’t even the slightest pain at all if you are wondering.
With the benefits it provides, should we just use it 24/7 to always be in the state of stress-free? Apollo Neuroscience confirmed with me that routine usage of this device increases the body’s sensitivity to Apollo causing it takes less time to feel the effect. Thus, the device shall be used really intentionally and only when you need it in order to maximize its use. For example, if you wake up in the morning and still feeling very sleepy, you can use ‘Energy and Wake Up’ mode.
What I Like/Dislike
I have used Apollo for at least a year now. I certainly can feel the effectiveness, although it is difficult to quantify. The device can also be worn on your ankle with a sock on, making it not very obvious wearing it in the office with your formal attire.
What I dislike about Apollo is:
With my way of usage, the battery always runs out after the last use (Sleep and Renew mode) when I wake up in the morning. It is quite a hassle to have to recharge it every morning. The product team suggests not using it with high vibration intensity setting to conserve battery life. They have a plan for future updates to increase the battery life.
—update on 6-Jun-2020—
Apollo released a firmware update to improve the battery life. With a lot of use, it can last for one and a half-day before it is completely out of juice. If I use it conservatively, it can last for about a week.
As there is no screen on the device, I always have to go back to my phone when I need to switch to a different mode. However, if you use your mobile phone often, this shouldn't be an issue to you. I wish they will implement an auto-scheduling function.
Despite all of these, I don’t have any plan to stop using this "portable massage chair" on-the-go.
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