If you’re a human being who exists in the year 2022, chances are you know a thing or two about feeling stressed. According to the American Psychological Association, 67% of adults reported an increase in stress since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (and I suspect that the other 33% must not have understood the question). The developers behind Apollo Neuroscience want to help people get out of that constant “fight or flight” state, with a wearable device that’s designed to improve your body’s stress response over time. And right now, the brand is offering Bustle readers a chance to save $50 on the stress relief wearable.
What Is The Apollo Wearable?
- Uses subtle vibrations to help sooth and support the nervous system with consistent use
- Developed by physicians and neuroscientists
- Includes a wristband, a clip, a Micro-USB charging cable, and access to the Apollo Neuro app
- Boasts 6 to 8 hours of battery life on a full charge
- Available in 6 colorways and 3 wristband sizes
As someone who experiences a moderate undercurrent of anxiety, I jumped at the chance to test out the Apollo wearable for myself. But first, I wanted to read up on the device to better understand how it works.
Fitness wearables have become pretty ubiquitous, and most serve as a passive tool that lets you track a variety of biometrics, offering helpful insights into your health and habits. The Apollo wearable is different in that it’s designed to actively improve your body’s stress response over time with dedicated use.
According to the brand, the device uses gentle vibration to encourage your body to go from a “fight or flight” to a “rest and digest” state. That means the wearable is intended to do all the real work while you go about your day (and night). But it’s on you to wear it consistently if you want to reap its potential benefits.
Across six clinical trials, the brand found that, on average, participants experienced 40% less stress, spent 19% more time in deep sleep, and saw a 25% increase in focus. The trials also revealed an average of 11% increase in HRV, or heart rate variability (a measure of the slight variation in time between each heartbeat, with a higher HRV being associated with a more adaptable body).
According to the brand, the stress relief wearable is safe and side-effect free to the point where even kids can use it. Still, it’s always worth checking in with a doctor before embarking on any new treatment journey (especially if you have existing health concerns). And you should reach out to a professional if you’re having trouble managing stress on your own.
My First Impressions
When it arrived, my first thought was: This is kind of big. The Apollo definitely doesn’t have the slim profile of other wearable tech I’ve seen. Strapping it onto my wrist, it looked a bit bulky, but I was impressed by how lightweight and comfortable it was (the band has a soft hook-and-loop closure that allows for a perfectly custom fit). And anyway, I wasn’t interested in it for looks. I wanted to see what it could do.
The Apollo is controlled via an app that’s available for iOS and Android. With the app, you can set a mode that corresponds with your needs (with options like “energy and wake up,” “clear and focused,” “social and open,” and “relax and wind down”), or you can set a schedule for automatic transitions. The brand recommends using the wearable a minimum of five days a week for at least three hours a day (or night).
It took me a little while to figure out how to get started. But once I had the app downloaded to my iPhone and the device connected, it was pretty seamless and self-explanatory.
In terms of how to wear it, the Apollo offers a bit more versatility than many fitness trackers in that it can be strapped to your wrist, strapped to your ankle, or even clipped to your clothes (it just needs to be placed near a bone). That means you have the flexibility to wear it in a way that feels comfortable. And you can choose a more discreet location if you like.
I decided to try the device on my wrist to start. Truthfully, I was a little skeptical of the claim that you eventually don’t notice the vibrations — I’m generally hyper-sensitive to any kind of body-adjacent distraction. But after the first day of trying out the Apollo, I no longer registered when it was active; I found myself having to periodically touch my wrist to make sure it was still working (it was).
I started off conservatively, doing 15 minute sessions on a lower vibration level, but soon I felt confident enough to bump both metrics up until I was vibing for 60 minute sessions several times a day. The Apollo makes no promises of being a quick fix, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to see any results right away. But I did find a certain comfort in wearing it during the day — the same kind of comfort I get from keeping a perpetually diluted iced coffee nearby (but, of course, with the opposite effect on my anxiety).
My favorite mode to use quickly became “clear and focused.” I turned to it during the workday whenever I had a task I needed to buckle down for. And “relax and unwind” became my go-to before bed. But I did find myself unable to embrace “sleep and renew,” which, as the name suggests, is meant to be used while you sleep; even after lowering the vibration level, I couldn’t fully turn off my thoughts while it was going. Also, I worried that my pulsating wrist might brush against my jumpy husband in the middle of the night and scare us both into another dimension. I decided to limit my Apollo use to awake-time only, which I really didn’t mind.
What Are Reviewers Saying About The Apollo Wearable?
Like with most products, reading through the reviews for the Apollo wearable shows a mix of people it did and didn’t work for. But one thing that stood out to me is that the people who didn’t find benefits didn’t report any negative effects (which is in keeping with the brand’s reassurances and my own experience).
It seems like the only potential thing you have to lose is the money you lay out for it — but the brand must have anticipated this concern, because it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the wearable. Also, you can save a bit of money upfront by opting for a refurbished model.
But overall, the reviews for the device are overwhelmingly positive:
“I really enjoy using my Apollo. The gentle vibration settings for various moods & energy levels are comforting. I usually wear it on my wrist throughout the day. It keeps me calm, & I feel focused when I activate it.” —Ashley L.
“I am really loving how I feel following my evening and morning ritual . Helping my sleeping comfortably with deep dreams knowing I am sleeping. Clear Focus and Energy in the morning my emotions feel neutral and relaxed.” —Jocelyn P.
“This device has had a profound impact on my health and overall well-being. Battery life isn’t great, but the device has exceeded my expectations in terms of lowering my resting heart rate, sleep and hrv.” —John V.
“I waited until I’d used it for a month to review. I LOVE mine! I sleep better, and the wake function is amazing. I am recommending it to all my friends!” —Virlane T.
After a few weeks of trying out the Apollo (some days more consistently than others), I know it’s still to soon for me to conclude whether or not it works for me. But I can say that my anxiety has felt more under control than it usually does, and I’ve come to like the ritual of strapping it on to my wrist before I start work each day.
I definitely plan to continue using it, and will keep it in the toolkit of things I do regularly to try to keep the worst of my anxiety at bay.
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