Experimenting With The StressEraser

1. The StressEraser.

2. Screen Shot of a Stressful State.
3. Screen Shot of a Relaxed State.

The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress…. [it is] the opposite of the fight or flight response.
—Herbert Benson, M. D.

In my last post I mentioned I was experimenting with a biofeedback device called the StressEraser. It’s been helpful if I wake up tense in the middle of the night. Even better, it helps me sleep more restfully if I use it just before bedtime. It has also made me more aware of my breathing during the day, especially when I catch my breath … literally forgetting to breathe. I’ve been doing that surprisingly often. The big difference is I notice it now. That’s a big payoff for the small amount of time I’ve been spending with the device…averaging about 15 to 20 minutes a day.

What It Measures
What exactly does the StressEraser do? It uses an infrared detector to measure the the tiny changes in your pulse rate, which it displays as a wave. These changes are related to the state of your nervous system, so you can tell when you are becoming more or less relaxed. Figure 1 shows a screen shot of a person in a stressful state (notice the ragged graph and all the single squares), and Figure 2 shows one of a person in an ideally relaxed state. My waves aren’t that regular even when I’m getting good marks (3 squares) for being relaxed, but I can definitely see the difference.

Why It Works For Me
I’m a visual person, so I appreciate being able to see…right away… what’s going on. I also love to experiment, so I haven’t only been following the recommended procedure: focusing on my breath and counting how long it takes. I’ve been trying other things, like chanting, slowly saying affirmations while exhaling, etc. With the device I can see how my organism responds, and it turns the process into a game. It also lets me see which techniques work best for me.

And, as I said, I’m much more conscious of my breathing during the day. The StressEraser has taught me to notice how I’m exhaling. I used to think I had to take slow deep breaths to calm myself, but the device has taught me that all I have to do is exhale slowly and completely. If I expel all the air in my lungs, inhaling will take care of itself.

Would I Recommend It For You?

If you’re interested in a portable biofeedback device I would suggest reading about both the StressEraser and another device called the emWave at amazon.com. Read the descriptions and also the reviews from people who have used them. The devices are expensive and do require some commitment. Also different things work for different people, so I personally would buy one only if I could return it within a reasonable time period, usually 30 days.

Even if you decide against buying one of the devices, I would recommend experimenting with your breathing. If you focus your mind away from stressful thoughts and gradually start breathing at a rate of less than 6 1/2 breaths per minute, there’s a good chance you will easily slip into the relaxation response. At least that’s the way it works for me!

What about you? How do you calm yourself when your life starts to become hectic? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Images by StressEraser.

Thanks to bikehikebabe and Ellen for commenting on last week’s post.

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5 Responses to Experimenting With The StressEraser

  1. Shirley says:

    Opps – posted my comments under the wrong article . . .
    Here’s where I meant to post.

    Great article! I just heard about this machine recently so your review is very timely. I agree that it could be very beneficial, especially if you enjoy it in a light-hearted way and use it as yet another tool to help you relax. I would love to try various meditation and relaxation techniques and use it as a gauge to help me see the results. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jean says:

    I’m traveling at the moment and brought the StressEraser along. I’ve used it occasionally when I had trouble sleeping at night, and I used it in the car this afternoon (my husband drives and I navigate) after we passed a truck in a heavy rainstorm. The truck threw so much water on us we left the pavement for a moment. It turned out fine, but it was a bit scary. My husband completely lost control of the car and we were in the hands of the gods. It didn’t take any time at all to restore my emotional balance with the device. I was glad I had it!

    :) Thanks so much for coming by.

  3. Pingback: Transforming Stress Into Personal Power » What I Learned From Our Trip to Deerfield

  4. Seems to be a useful device. It’s the first time I know about it.
    I have no idea yet where to find it here in Singapore. Is it available in other shop there?


  5. bikehikebabe says:

    I came back to this post & there you are. Reason4Smile.com It’s good to see you again even though you look like a kid here. You are so happy. Is it because you are drinking that beer? I don’t think so. You always looked that happy in pics & videos.

    Jean told me about your new company & important job.

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