The majority of people have heard tell of meditation. Many practice, some struggle to start and a host of others are simply seeking an answer to the question “what is meditation about”. I’ll endeavor to provide an answer to that question in this article as well as discuss some very interesting, related technology. The Muse headband reviews from actual users, published further down in this article, will shed light on that technology.
What Is Meditation About
An individual employs the techniques of meditation in order to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Such techniques include mindfulness or focusing one’s mind on a particular object, thought or activity. A mode of consciousness is induced by meditating for the purpose to bring about a variety of psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular health benefits.
It is said that meditation originated from numerous religious traditions and beliefs. These techniques have been practiced since antiquity, spreading from its origins to other cultures where it is commonly practiced in private and business life.
A person can train their attention and awareness through the practice of meditation with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression or pain and increasing peace, perception, self-concept and well-being. The practice of meditation has been under extensive research and scientific study to best define and determine its possible health and other effects.
Muse Meditation Technology
Muse is a brain sensing headband designed specifically to make meditation easy. It utilizes technology that provides ultra sensitive tracking and brain sensing features. The creator of the Muse promotes it as a ‘personal meditation assistant’. The function is to take the guesswork out of finding calm, thereby helping to make the practice easy, tangible, and enjoyable to learn. A simple and accessible ‘work out plan’ is offered that also allows for incredible insights into the inner world of the user.
The Muse Headband Reviews
Following is a compilation of comments from reviews by actual owners and users of the Muse:
“I was previously using the original Muse headband and was very excited to see the release of the updated version with additional experiences and sensors.
After trying each of the new experiences (body, breath, and heart) I have quickly come to love the breathing exercise and the heart exercise. I find the breathing feedback extremely relaxing, and the soundscape with guided feedback is extremely helpful. The heart experience is also something I’d never experienced before. It’s almost like feeling your heartbeat and breathing as an instrument/drum – Muse then teaches you how to understand the relationship between breath rate and heart rate and how to slow down. VERY calming.
Would highly recommend to anyone looking to start meditation or who is looking to go deeper in a meditation practice! Thanks Muse team!”
“I ordered the v2 of this device because I felt it likely had additional functionality, and since it was the first one I’ve purchased, I went with the latest and greatest. Technologically speaking, this works great. It took me a few minutes to get used to placing the device on my forehead in a manner where all the sensors operated properly, but the application works with you to let you know what is working, and what isn’t. I haven’t had an issue since.
From a “practice” perspective, I like that its helping me focus on specific areas in my meditation, and it provides reminders in a non-intrusive manner. I can learn the habits required to mediate, without too much extra effort. It has allowed me to identify a number of areas in my practice that need my attention, so that I improve. It’s great in this area.
The physical design of the device is very lightweight. And as with most lightweight devices, it seems to be fragile. I wish it came with a travel case, much like a pair of nice travel headphones would. But it doesn’t, and I’ll be purchasing those separately, today. I did have one physical anomaly with my Muse 2. There are small black rings where the headband piece slides into each ear piece. One of those rings was loose, and would slide back and forth across the headband. It was more of an annoyance than something that hindered my use of the device. I used a very tiny bit of super glue on the outside edge of the loose ring, and its remained intact since that time.
Summary: I really like the device, and I’ve found it works quite well, and consistently; particularly once you’ve gone through the process to get it configured to your own head. The app works well, but its certainly not feature rich. It only does a few things, but it does them well. There are other apps on the AppStore that allow you to collect additional data from the device, much like using it as an EEG. I would support continued development on that end, as well. And finally, this REALLY should come with its own, slim, branded, hard travel case. At this price, it seems logical.”
“I don’t do daily meditation but thought I would like to try this. First thing I did was charge the unit and download the app. After that was done it was pretty simple to connect to the app as it does the pairing for you.
After that it took a minute to carefully pull the earpieces back to full extension as shown in the tutorial. I say carefully because this thing feels fragile. Not to the point that regular use will break it but still nothing I would call sturdy.
Placing it the proper way to the get the signal clean and strong takes a few tries. They have a video tutorial that shows you and a graphic interface that shows each receptor’s strength.
The part that is impressive is that this really does work in picking up when I am calm. The basic setup has you calibrate before each session. This takes a minute if the contact with your skin is good. Once that is done it has you focus on something. First lesson was breathing in and out. It gives audio feedback based on how quiet your brain goes. If your brain is noisy you get an intense rain forest sound and if you are calm you get a quiet rain forest. If you are focused for more than a few seconds or minutes you get birds.
After a few sessions I could tell when my brain was wandering and sure enough a half of a second later I got a noisy rain forest. It does have a slight delay of about 1/2 second to 1 second. I’m not sure if this is the device, my phone or Bluetooth, my guess it is some combination of all of that. It doesn’t take away from the calm for me. I could see it bothering some people though.
The fact that thing actually works to read when my mind is calm is very cool. It gives rewards for having a calm mind. This concrete system of rewards is motivating to a novice like me.”
“This is my first time using a brain activity reader, or the technical word (EEG) electroencephalogram, electrical rhythms of the brain. I have been using a sleep monitor which showed me abnormalities and unusual respiratory patterns during my sleep. My breathing and my heart rate gets very high and then has moments it gets extremely low. With the Muse you can strive to achieve to control your anxiety levels, help your overall mood and attitude and even assist in coping with stress. All this which of course contributes to my sleep patterns for sure.
The Muse paired easily with my iPhone X. The headband is lightweight and easy to use. It fits comfortably on my head and is not cumbersome, it might leave a slight indentation on your forehead though. You decide how long you want the sessions to last. You just sit quietly breathing and begin the session as the app takes care of the rest. You get immediate results letting you know how you did.
Overall I think it is an amazing gadget. I don’t know what else is out there like it to compare it to since this is my first time trying one.”
“This is an interesting gift or item to give yourself just to have a technological assistant for meditation. On one level, this is a bit silly and almost counterproductive. Adding a smartphone and audio feedback to meditation is, after all, a distraction. But as I’ve been using this I’ve found that unfortunately electronics are always there, so adding them to my meditation routine actually does add more structure and focus on the activity of inactivity.
The box is nice and would be impressive as a gift. It looks and feels modern, but the soft touch rubberized sides really attract the natural oil from my hands and face, so I wipe it down before and after each use.
There are more sensors that you might initially think. The front has a ribbon with metal sensors for the actual EEG brain scan, as well as a typical light and camera for your heart rate, at your temple. The ‘ears’ detect how quickly you’re breathing, and they simply work off movement, so they actually take interference much more easily than the brain scan. Even swallowing screws with that part.
There’s no case included, so I just use the box. Pairing and setup were easy.
There are a few different meditation exercises, but for the most part its very simple. Sit still and relax for 3 minutes, and you hear more or less rain depending on how calm you are. Max calm you get a bird chirp. No calm and its stormy. I tested this in real time and there’s no doubt at all that it is indeed reading my brain activity. After a few practices I am a little better about staying calm for a few minutes, after which I am more relaxed.
I found that this device is very sensitive, and so I must still perfectly still or I get errors and kicked back to the calibration screen. That’s not a big deal, but make sure you have a comfortable, quiet place where you don’t want to move around.
The data you get is line graph showing more or less activity. There aren’t many apps available to take advantage of the SDK, but one is available with very detailed data about brain activity. If I got more specific data I’d be happier.
I’m using a Note 8, an android device, and the device pairs easily. One I got an ‘invalid pin’ but that’s because I tried to pair using the phone’s blue tooth menu. If I just turn it on and let the app do it, its reliable.
The benefit of this device is simple: it forces you to honestly meditate, honestly be calm, honestly clear your mind. You can say you’re meditating without this, but with the device, you’re kept honest about it. Sit there stewing over the world and you’ll see you did poorly. Build discipline to clear your mind, and you’re going to be a happier person at the end.”
How The Muse Works
Muse translates your mental activity into the guiding sounds of weather which in turn helps you find focused calm. If you have a busy mind you will hear stormy weather. If you have a calm mind you will hear peaceful weather. Using this real-time feedback eliminates guessing if you are doing it right. You are guided and will remain motivated during your entire meditation practice.
Muse connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth. Once connected you simply start the Muse Meditation app, put on your headphones and close your eyes. Your brain activity is passively sensed and translated into the guiding sounds of weather helping you stay calm & focused.
It should be noted that Muse is a research-grade EEG device used by leading universities and research centers around the world. It is a brain fitness tool that measures brain signals much like a heart rate monitor senses your heartbeat. There are 7 finely calibrated sensors involved – 2 on the forehead, 2 behind the ears plus 3 reference sensors – detecting and measuring the activity of your brain. Once your session is complete, you can review your results and track your progress using the accompanying App which you download to your mobile device/cell phone.
- Easy for anyone to use and start to immediately benefit from meditation.
- Scientifically proven technology.
- Affordable for almost any user.
- Almost 600 out of 900 customers reviewed rated Muse at 5 out of 5 stars.
- Needs to be handled with care.
- Some consider the data sharing aspect as privacy invasion.
- Slightly less than 100 out of 900 customers reviewed rated Muse at 1 out of 5 stars.
What Is Better Than Muse
There are those folks who would argue that you do not need the Muse, rather you can learn how to meditate without it. There are plenty of free apps that can teach you the basics of meditation and start you on your way to mindfulness.
Muse is a proven technology used as a research-grade EEG device. Neuroscientists, researchers, health professionals and developers across the planet are using Muse to discover more about brain health and it’s function. Muse’s technology, as it applies to brain-sensing, has been used on a global basis in hundreds of hospitals and universities for brain research projects. Renown institutions such as NASA, The Mayo Clinic, UCL and MIT (and many others) are among those having conducted high level research using Muse.
As a beginner at meditation I have used the Muse personally and found it helpful. One thing I am pleased with is the consumer is provided protection through a manufacturer’s limited one year warranty if ordering as shipped and sold by Amazon.
Self hypnosis is another discipline used to induce extremely beneficial, deeply relaxing and calming states of mind that can help you get through your day in a positive, calm and stress-free way. Folks not interested in meditation can find a variety of guided self hypnosis sessions here on the website under the Hypnosis Tools tab.
I hope you have found this article useful. Please share it with others. Your comments are always greatly appreciated.
All The Best,