How it works
Meeglo senses your heart rate and changes color as it rises or falls. It’s a Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback device, though we prefer to call it a guide for deep breathing and meditation.
Heart Rate Variability
Contrary to popular belief, a good and steady heart rate is not necessarily the healthiest. Heart rate varies, even in a resting state. Your heart rate goes up a little when you inhale, and down when you exhale. How much it goes up or down is a value that can be measured — it’s called Heart Rate Variability, or HRV.
Higher HRV is associated with longevity, better performance in athletes, and healthy stress-response. Low HRV is symptomatic of PTSD, depression and heart disease, to name a few. Fortunately, you can actually increase your HRV by doing biofeedback exercises. Conditions as varied as asthma, hypertension, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and irritable bowel syndrome seem to respond to heart rate variability biofeedback therapy.
Traditional biofeedback maps your heart rate and breath on a linear graph. The goal is to get your heart to sync with your breath, and maximize it’s variation. You can achieve this through deep breathing and directing attention to your heart.
What we’re doing with Meeglo is making a biofeedback device where the feedback is a simple color fade, turning red as your heart rate goes up and blue as it goes and down. We wanted to make biofeedback more accessible, less dry and scientific, and move it into the realm of wellness and self-care, drawing from practices of heart-focused meditation and breathing.
How to use Meeglo
Start by finding a comfortable resting position where you can sit still and undisturbed for 3-5 minutes. Slide the power switch (fig.1)—Meeglo should light up as it turns on.
Hold the Meeglo in the palm of your hand. Rest middle finger over sensor (green light, fig. 2). For optimal readings, have your finger resting lightly on sensor. Note that readings might be less accurate if your hand is cold or wet. If you would like to time your sessions, press down on the sensor. It will vibrate to start a three minute timer, we’ve found this to be the minimum time for an effective session.
Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Meeglo will turn red as heart rate increases and blue as it decreases. The goal is to adjust your breathing patterns so that Meeglo is red during your inhale, and blue while you exhale. Breath cycles of about 10 seconds work best, though it varies slightly for individuals. Try inhaling for 4 counts, and exhaling for six. Find what pattern works best for you. Don’t be discouraged if the color changes don’t match your breathing at first—it’s a training tool.
See if you can develop a practice of using Meeglo regularly, either in the morning, when you wake up or before you leave to work, or at night, when you get home or before you go to bed. You can also turn to Meeglo in anxious moments, it works wonderfully as a way to reset from the physiology of stress.
As you inhale and your heart rate rises, it activates your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). As you exhale and heart rate goes down, your parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest response) is activated. By activating the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems in alteration, Meeglo helps restore balance in your stress response.
Fig. 1: Meeglo power switch
Fig. 2: Finger placement