The only Biohacking device I’d buy

The HeartMath Emave2 is a mindset quantification device for Biohackers, transhumanists, meditation practitioners, stress hackers, and flow state junkies.

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emWave® technology is based on 20 years of research on the mindset state of “coherence” between the heart, brain, and autonomic nervous system. Achieving coherence, basically feeling zenned out, has been linked to mental, emotional, and physical benefits like decreased stress levels.

Who’s using emWave® HRV technology?

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emWave® Science

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  • emWave® technology is used by more than 10,000 health professionals to help patients reduce stress and anxiety.
  • 65 VA Hospitals are using emWave to help soldiers deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • HeartMath studies and trials have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

According to Heartmath

emWave technology is an innovative approach to improving wellness and facilitating personal growth based on learning to change your heart rhythm pattern to create coherence; a scientifically measurable state characterized by increased order and harmony in our psychological and physiological processes.

How does it work?

  1. Power on the emWave2 by pressing the bottom of the black button (without plugging into computer via USB cable)
  2. Attach the heart rate clip to your ear (two hands free horray!)
  3. You will start to see the blue light on the bottom emWave device blinking — it’s reading your heart rate.
  4. The light on top will usually start red, as we spend very little of our waking existence in a true state of stress free coherence.
  5. You want to breath in and out deeply with the rising and falling blue lights.
    It takes 5–10 seconds to get into or out of a state of Coherence, the light will turn from Red, to Blue and finally Green.
  6. As you stay in Coherence the blue lights will reach higher on the display, if you fall out of Coherence they will decrease, once the blue lights reach the Green light you start another Coherence level.

For a truly quantified session, plug it into your computer and fire up the emWave software and press the play button to begin a session.

Reaching Coherence

Coherence is tied to our emotions on a fundamental level, especially the emotions of:

  • Gratitude
  • Thankfulness
  • Security

Does this mean that a Coherent lifestyle means never thinking negative thoughts? No, the notion that you should never think negative thoughts has actually been thoroughly disproved.
Everyone is going to have different Coherence triggers like

The Training Program

About 5–10 minutes a day for two weeks and scoring 1500 Coherence points a week.

My emWave2 Practice

I aim for 2 sessions daily

  1. A None-Screen session, this fits into my mindfulness practice and is time away from glowing screens. I go somewhere private and spend 5–10 minutes alone (without my computer or smartphone), in a meditative state. I do this either first thing in the morning or after work in the evenings but before I do anything social. My objective is to power through three green Coherence levels, if I’m relaxed and positive that’s a breeze but if I’ve had a stressful day it takes some work. Once I get really skilled I predict I’ll do more levels at a time.
  2. Passive emWave session, I will connect my emWave to the computer via USB and fire up the emWave software. I will do a 20 minute session while working on something. I’ve found if I do this in the beginning of a writing session, I’ll reach a nice creative flowstate.

Self Monitoring

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I’m glad I mastered Dual N-Back before diving into Heart Rate Variability training, because the emWave2 can actually reinforce your negative self monitoring. The red light is a tangible indicator that your negative thoughts are getting the best of you; it’s super easy to get self critical “I suck at emWaving!” but this is a self perpetuating cycle of thoughts and it’s key to remember to practice emotional compartmentalization while emWaving.
A couple of my none Biohacker friends used the device and when they couldn’t even reach Coherence they were disappointed.

High Blood Pressure and Hypertension

HRV training is one of the leading non-pharmacological methods to combat destructive hypertension, a 2012 study of 62 patients stated:

This approach to reducing [blood pressure] should be considered a simple and effective approach that can easily be taught to patients to quickly lower their [blood pressure] in stressful situations. The technique should be especially useful when hypertensive patients are experiencing stressful emotions or reactions to stressors.

Coherence and Organizations

The impact of Coherence training on organizations has been studied as well. To quote a study of the 47 team members of the Grinnell Regional Medical Center:

Coherence implies order, structure, harmony, and alignment among systems-whether in cells and organs, entire organisms, or social groups including communities and counties.

What people are saying about emWave2

According to one Paleohacker:

I work in a constant stimulating environment full of sick patients, artificial light, long hours and shifts that don’t work with a mammalian sleep pattern. I have an EmWave and it not only helps me decompress but it enhances my body’s ability to do the same thing naturally. I have seen my resting heart rate decrease, my feelings of work being stressful or unmanageable be obliterated with one session during or after my shift. I noticed a decrease in disagreements with my beautiful girlfriend. Back to the enhancing — it improves my sleep quality and eating patterns, I eat what I need to and during sleep I achieve more deep and restorative REM sleep — quicker to sleep, less light sleep and more restful upon waking. I have quantified proof that through controlling variables and integrating the EmWave 2…

TrishE from Loveland, CO USA (Amazon Verified Purchase)

I have meditated for years. Practicing coherence with this wonderful feedback tool has opened new awareness during day to day activities and during meditation. I practice coherence separate from my meditation practice — it has shown me how often I pop up into thinking, and is helping me to spend more time disengaged from thought, more time being present in my body, with my breath. Even if you have no interest in meditation, this is a tool whose benefits of calm and present moment awareness seep into all areas of life.

Kate McMurry from United States (Amazon Verified Purchase)

In short, the Emwave2 basically functions as an inexpensive version of a biofeedback machine and, as such, is a great buy.

HanselIdes (Amazon Verified Purchase)

I have a motor-mind; it never shuts up and I don’t spend enough time relaxing. So, meditation as a way to de-stress and clear my mind seems like an awesome idea. The problem with meditation is that I get bored easily. Being able to watch my heart rate change (desktop option) and feel how each ‘murmur’ in my emotions has a physical effect on me has really opened my mind to think of deep breathing as a viable health option. After 10 minutes focusing on deep breathing in sync with my heart rate with the Emwave2, I feel much more relaxed.

Editor’s Biohacker Review

I’ve been using the emWave2 device for over a month now consistently. It’s a fascinating device!

It’s not an instant satisfaction biohacking technology; unless you have a lot of first hand experience with a mindfulness practice you may be pretty disappointed with your first few emWave sessions. Initially getting into and out of coherence is going to seem pretty random.

I’ve let a couple of my none Biohacker friends use the device who’ve never heard of Heart Rate Variability, they had lot of trouble getting into coherence and their initial reactions have been “this is fake”. I think this speaks to how unaware the average person is of their mindset state and how they are handling their stress.

The core value of emWave is as a tool for measuring and habituating mindfulness and conscious management of stress. Most of us have a baseline level of stress that we are so accustomed too that we think we are totally relaxed when we are actually in a baseline state of unhealthy stress.
The emWave device is teaching me what that state of baseline stress actually feels like, because the green light goes on when I’m coherent. Now while I’m working, commuting or doing something social and I detect a
tale-tell sign that I’m not in coherence, I adjust my breathing, body language, change my internal dialog to the few mantras that I know work for me and I find the world getting a little brighter.

For example, the other night I was very tempted by self pity, a combination of an issue with a client and frustration over something personal put me in a gloomy mood, I didn’t feel like chit chatting with my roommates or going out to socialize with friends. It was a rainy night to match my mood, I felt like walking to the grocery store with my umbrella, buying some fruit snacks and just feeling sorry for myself.
But I hadn’t checked into the emWave habit on yet, leaving habits unchecked bothers me so I figured I might as well get in a quick emWave session.
I turned off my phone, powered on the emWave2, forced a smile, began to breathe deeply and did a meditative session, which quickly put my melancholic mood in perspective. Half way through the session a great idea for a business model emerged from my quieted mind, which I tabled.
As I finished the the 3rd green level, I powered off the emWave said “no” to the self pity and got back to work.

Observations and Findings

  • Smiling. I found that smiling helps coherence a lot! More proof that this simple body language is profoundly beneficial
  • Watching funny videos on Youtube actually doesn’t improve coherence but curiously I did find correlation between watching Hip Hop or Reggaeton videos and the green light.
  • Breathing, HRV training is a breath meditation exercise as well. I’ve already noticed transfer effects to using holistic breathing to mitigate stress.

A couple of negatives…

  • The aesthetics are a little lacking, other than the cool flashing lights it’s made of cheap feeling plastic. It feels like the kind of thing that would break if you dropped it on the ground, although I actually did drop it on the ground once and it still works fine.
  • Battery life is unimpressive. This might just have been my device but it seemed like I need to charge it a lot.
  • Social integration. On my wishlist for heart rate variability training is being able to share my progress via social media or maybe even compete with my friends for highest coherence scores.

Originally published at

Adventuring philosopher, Pompous pontificator, Writer, K-Selected Biohacker, Tantric husband, Raconteur & Smart Drug Dealer 🇺🇸

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