13th April 2022

New App for Apple Watch Offers Breathing Test Based on ECG

Vagus.co, a Health AI company based in Cambridge in the UK, has launched a 30-second breathing test app designed for the Apple Watch. The app allows users to see how well they are breathing. This new tool will pair the latest technology and research to precisely measure users’ breathing patterns. [1] It joins a suite of other tools like resonance breathing that anxiety sufferers can use to keep themselves calm in difficult circumstances. Practising breathing with meditation music is another highly effective method of reducing anxiety.

what is resonance breathing music

Vagus.co, a Health AI company based in Cambridge in the UK, has launched a 30-second breathing test app designed for the Apple Watch. The app allows users to see how well they are breathing. This new tool will pair the latest technology and research to precisely measure users’ breathing patterns. [1] It joins a suite of other tools like resonance breathing that anxiety sufferers can use to keep themselves calm in difficult circumstances. Practising breathing with meditation music is another highly effective method of reducing anxiety.

The idea behind the technology is that it will help users to understand how they are breathing and that this will help them relieve stress and lead healthier lives. However, there is potential for it to have other applications in clinical monitoring. There’s a possibility, for instance, that it could be used to monitor long-COVID patients.

The app is called Breathe ECG, and it’s the first test that uses a smartwatch to measure the breathing flow with an ECG (electrocardiogram) recording. The app is the end result of eight years of research in Cambridge, Palo Alto, and Helsinki. It is believed to be something that will help many Apple Watch users, including those interested in health and well-being and in the sports coaching sectors.

Researchers used a combination of artificial intelligence, electrical conductivity, and online analytics to create a functional app. It uses an electrical conduction effect which Gustaf Kranck recognised as a game-changing breathing measurement when recorded via a “hand-to-hand” ECG combined with controlled breathing and analytics.

Krank’s discovery was made almost a decade ago, and it’s this that Vagus has capitalised on in its new app, which uses a signal to precisely measure the movement of the diaphragm as a person breathes. The data gathered opens the opportunity to use a person’s breathing and breathing induced heart rate variability (HRV) as a key to understanding their current health condition.

The data gathered by smartwatch health apps and breathing apps for resonance breathing is usually analysed by the user’s smartphone using simple algorithms. But Breathe ECG uploads the data to the cloud, where it is examined and analysed using AI tools. The results are then sent back to the user’s watch and phone in less than ten seconds. The company has already carried out more than 25,000 user tests and now holds the largest database of controlled breathing ECG tests globally.

The method is innovative, and new indices and parameters had to be developed to enable satisfactory interpretation of the data, according to Kranck. For example, breathing and cardiac smoothness indices (RSS and CSS) have never been used together before, but in this context, they are especially useful in diagnostics and for monitoring a user.

With this technology, the makers of the app believe they can offer more than 30 different kinds of health-related features.

Resonance Breathing and Its Impact on HRV, Blood Pressure, and Mood

Resonance Breathing and Its Impact on HRV, Blood Pressure, and Mood

Resonance breathing or resonance frequency breathing is a key part of heart rate variability training and is thought to be a way to improve the HRV. The resonance frequency is approximately six breaths per minute. [2]

It is known that HRV is a key marker in the overall health of a person, their mood, and their adaptation to stress. If an individual can improve their HRV, then their health, mood and stress responses will also improve. Heart rate variability training can be enhanced by identifying the person’s unique resonance frequency breathing rate and then teaching them how to breathe at that rate.

In detail, HRV is the variation of time intervals between heartbeats. Different physiological systems have an influence on heart rhythm, and greater fluctuations in the heart rhythm over time show a healthy systemic balance and ability to respond to a person’s physiological needs.

A higher level of HRV indicates a healthy heart which also indicates overall better health. Low HRV or less responsiveness to physiological needs occurs in people subject to anxiety, depression, and chronic stress.

Resonance Breathing

For example, the central nervous system uses certain negative feedback loops like baroreflex to maintain homeostatic balance in the heart rate and blood pressure while interacting with the environment. The feedback loops become less sensitive, which can be caused by high stress and sympathetic nervous system arousal found in specific physical and psychiatric disorders.

To improve HRV, the resonant frequency is key. The variability is directly influenced by breathing and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). RSA is the fluctuation in heart rate corresponding to breathing. The heart rate increases with inhalation and decreases with every exhalation.

At resting breathing rates, which are between 9 to 24 breaths per minute, the heart rate increases with inhalation at around the midpoint and decreases with exhalation at the mid breath point. The heart rate and breathing synchronise at about six breaths per minute; this is when a person achieves resonant frequency. Each person has a different RF which ranges from 4.5 to 7 breaths per minute. But the most common RF breathing is 5.5 breaths per minute.

 

The Study

A sample of 95 participants (60% female, 40% male) with an average age of 20 years was tested to undergo RF breathing. In conclusion, they found that RF breathing is a key factor in HRV. Compared to normal breathing, which is faster than RF, RF led to a more positive mood and a lowered BP response to stress. [2]

The study shows that research on HRV and RF promotes more adaptive psychological and emotional responses. There is future research to be done in this space to explore resolutions to anxieties and dealing with stress.

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This is just one study showing how controlled breathing can benefit individuals, but there are many more benefits alongside dealing with immediate stress. There are various ways you can train yourself to breathe at an RF rate of around six breaths per minute, including using a timer.

One of the easiest ways of breathing at RF is by listening to the music created by Harmonic Breathing. It contains rising and falling tones, which guide you to breathe at 5.5 breaths per minute. It’s a form of breathing meditation music and is available on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. You can also sign up for the newsletter to get weekly tips on breathing exercises.

The Harmonic Breathing website offers free breathing meditation music and information on breathing exercises alongside a newsletter. All resources are entirely free. Visit our homepage at www.harmonicbreathing.com to get started.

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Harmonic Breathing is a music project that aims to make breathing exercises easy and enjoyable through breathing meditation music. The music is designed to help listeners breathe at the ideal rate for relaxation with rising and falling tones based on the latest scientific research. The experience is enhanced with infrasonic bass, binaural beats, and relaxing natural sounds.
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Harmonic Breathing is a music project that aims to make breathing exercises easy and enjoyable through breathing meditation music. The music is designed to help listeners breathe at the ideal rate for relaxation with rising and falling tones based on the latest scientific research. The experience is enhanced with infrasonic bass, binaural beats, and relaxing natural sounds.

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