Manage stress and anxiety with an app installed on your smartphone that reminds you to breathe and measures your heartbeat, showing if it is responding to the exercise. The app Hear and Now developed by BioBeats, a spin off from the University of Pisa, now well established at international level, is available online. This new project has received backing for more than two million dollars from a British venture capitalist.
“Based on clinically validated stress-reducing and mindfulness practices, our application teaches you to breathe deeply using your diaphragm,” explains Davide Morelli, the founder of BioBeats. ”By placing your finger over the camera, the smartphone monitors your heartbeat and gauges your breathing, tracking how your heart reacts to the exercise.”
The diaphragmatic breathing technique has been recognized and used since the sixties to manage stress and anxiety: we are generally used to chest breathing and do not stimulate the diaphragm any longer, which tends to remain contracted. This phenomenon worsens in cases of particularly strong emotional tension, but with deep breathing, which stimulates the vagus nerve, we are able to work on the heartbeat, which slows down initially and then picks up a balanced rhythm.
“Hear and Now” – whose name plays on the sound of the word “hear” with “here” from “Here and Now” – is also an esthetically pleasing experience. Biobeats has worked carefully on the graphic and musical aspect so that the app simultaneously creates music in time with the heartbeat while on the screen images change following the breathing pattern: they are in focus if the breathing is done correctly but remain blurred if the diaphragm is not being used correctly.
“Our app aims to assist therapists, who in this way will have an instrument to check the quality of their patients’ breathing exercises,” specifies Morelli. “’Hear and Now’ is in fact the result of a journey we started two years ago when we began to work alongside people with breathing difficulties, developing applications in the field of wellness and medical care.”
The app, at present only available on the iOS platform, has already registered 40,000 downloads and has been particularly successful in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Developer: BioBeats Inc.
Developer Website: http://hearandnow.biobeats.com/
iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/hear-and-now/id977650202?mt=8
Product Video: https://youtu.be/w2TxfKUN2IU
Twitter handle: @getHearandNow