Most people are familiar with health and fitness trackers these days. Whether you’re an avid Apple Watch wearer yourself, hoop band, this kind of wearable and app trackers are common in society. But what about wearable devices that focus on improving health rather than tracking it?
Meet Apollo. Apollo is a device that can be clipped to your wrist, ankle, or clothing. Born from thorough scientific research, gentle vibrations gently soothe the body. The company describes it as a “wearable hug for the nervous system.”
To learn more about how this vibrating device actually works, we spoke Dr. David Rabin, MD and PhD. Rabin is a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and now entrepreneur. He is the creator, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Apollo. Apollo Neuroscience.
The inspiration behind Apollo
As a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Rabin specializes in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, and works with patients on their recovery from a variety of mental health disorders. I’m here. “In general, healing from mental illness is learning new thought patterns and letting go of old ones that don’t work,” Rabin told Sleepopolis. You must be in good condition.”
But for patients already suffering from mental illness, achieving that well-balanced state is difficult. When someone is under severe chronic stress (as many of his PTSD, anxiety, and depression sufferers are), the body is “physiologically opposed to learning new things.” , you run away from the new,” he says Rabin. “We actually fear it and it makes it very difficult to pick up and learn new things.”
Rabin observed this problem not only in his own patients, but also in the literature from other physicians and clinicians. He began to wonder if he could give his patients something that would help them calm down and reach a state where they felt safe enough to learn. , his patients are ready to incorporate techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, exercise and exercise, or mindfulness into their recovery. Thus began the research to create Apollo.
Rabin worked with Dr. Greg Siegle of the Cognitive and Emotional Neuroscience Program at the University of Pittsburgh to develop and test the technology that eventually became Apollo.
One of the first iterations of the device they tried used electricity to give people a slight shock. This method was as effective as the vibrations Apollo now uses, but Rabin, through the advice of his wife and co-founder Kathryn Fantauzi, said that a device to shock people with electricity was I noticed it was not selling well. “We didn’t believe it. We’re scientists and we’re like, ‘This works. Let’s move this forward,'” Rabin said. But Fantauzzi was convinced people wouldn’t like the product idea, even if it worked.
Fantauzzi, who was engaged to Rabin at the time and served as an entrepreneurial advisor to his research team, conducted a study that concluded that people don’t want to be shocked with electricity, even if they feel fine. I did. Rabin wanted the device to be widely available, so he took Fantauzzi’s advice and started looking for other ways to achieve the same effect.
Inspired by the way music affects our energy levels and focus, they turned to sound and vibration for the device’s next iteration. I started realizing what I could do,” says Rabin. “Therefore, we investigated very carefully and thoroughly in the lab and found that: [touch] It actually does the same thing and doesn’t require ears at all. “
Scientifically Testing Apollo
The first study Rabin and Siegle conducted at the University of Pittsburgh to test the Apollo technology was double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled. crossover research 38 healthy subjects.
This study assessed how participants performed on a paced auditory serial add-on test (Passat) with or without Apollo, with placebo vibration, and without vibration. The PASAT is a written assessment of cognitive function that requires rapid calculations. Could this be very frustrating for the test taker and create a situation where participants feel stressed as to how to test? 3) Heart rate variability (heart rate variability), a measure of stress.
When participants took the test with placebo vibration or no vibration, accuracy decreased over time, they reported feeling stressed, and their HRV remained unchanged or decreased. Using Apollo, the participant reported feeling calmer, more accurate, and increased her HRV within 3 minutes.This study was published in 2018 biological psychiatrya peer-reviewed journal.
Excited by these results, Rabin and Fantauzzi decided to take the idea and run with it, building a prototype, distributing it to people, and testing it in the “real world.”
Using Apollo for sleep
“I thought everyone would use it for focus and creativity, and to do things better when they’re awake, because that’s what our research showed at the time.” Rabin told Threepopolis about the release of the first Apollo prototype. is sleep.”
Real users self-reported to the Apollo team that they used the product primarily to help them sleep, and some even reported using less substances to help them fall asleep.
sleep allows recovery
“Everything begins and ends with sleep,” Rabin told Sleepopolis. Sleep is when our bodies can recover, and if we don’t get enough sleep (or enough deep restful sleep), we can’t consolidate our memories effectively, which means our short-term memory isn’t working. In the long term, it’s going to be what it should be,” Rabin said.
What are the harms of memory not functioning properly? And in relation to Rabin’s work as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, sleep deprivation means a reduced ability to engage in therapy.
Working in a clinic, Rabin learned that one of the things people with PTSD reportedly struggled with the most was sleep. When a person suffers from nightmares or anxiety due to trauma experienced while trying to sleep, sleep itself becomes frightening, even if there is no real threat. Rabin asked these patients, “What activates safety for you?” They responded with snuggling with loved ones and pets, soothing touch, and deep breathing exercises.
“All of these techniques activate our body’s safety systems and send signals to the brain: ‘If you have time to pay attention to this comforting sense of safety now, make me feel comfortable and safe.’ I can’t run away from the lion at this moment,” Rabin said.
According to Rabin, this works because we evolved to survive. When there is a real physical threat, such as a fleeing lion, our brains are too busy escaping to allow us to focus on something less important at the moment (like breathing or physical contact). plug. That lion.
Ongoing research on Apollo
The Apollo wearable device is available now, but Rabin hasn’t stopped researching the technology.Numerous studies appear Apollo websitethe largest of which is a study conducted by the Apollo team on 582 Apollo wearable users who shared their sleep data via Sleep Data. Oularing Sleep TrackerThe research is still ongoing (you can actually participate if you own the Oura Ring), but the Apollo team has found that Apollo leads to increased deep sleep, REM sleep, total sleep time, and heart rate. We have published some preliminary results that are suggestive. Rate fluctuations, and reduced resting heart rate.
Rabin is excited about the future of wearable technology represented by Apollo.The current market for wearable technology is primarily fitness and sleep tracker, he believes the next generation will be “wearable digital therapy.” These types of devices, including Apollo, do more than just track information and direct changes, Rabin said. “They really make a difference for you.”
Would you like to try Apollo Neuro?
If intrigued, you can visit the Apollo Neuro website to learn more about the device and Rabin’s research, or purchase your own Apollo Neuro wearable device (currently available for $399) . Apollo wearables are small devices that can be clipped to the wearer’s clothing or worn in a band around the wrist or ankle. Available in 3 different band sizes and his 6 different colors.
Amelia is a staff writer at Sleepopolis. She primarily covers bedding and sleep accessory products in her reviews, how-to guides, and more. You can also find her on the Sleepopolis YouTube channel. Amelia is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in media and journalism and theater arts. Outside of her job, Amelia can usually be found on hikes, trips to new cities, or at the local thrift store.