Review: Muse 2: The bluetooth headband that helps you meditate

With most reviews we don’t have to waste a lot of words on the introduction of a product, since everyone knows how a smartphone, router or headset works. But with this bluetooth headband some extra explanation is needed. Describing the Muse 2 as a Bluetooth headband is in the first place a huge understatement, since it is so much more than that. In short, the Muse 2 is a headband containing all kinds of sensors that collect data about your brain waves, heartbeat, breathing, muscles …

What then happens to the data? It is used to help you meditate. Yes, you read that right, meditation, that event where you usually think of a group of monks sitting cross-legged in a Peruvian mountain range. Curious as to how that all works and whether it actually works, then read on.

Meditate with an app
Like 99% of all things with Bluetooth in 2019, this “magic” headband has a corresponding smartphone app. Starting that app went reasonably smoothly, although I had some problems when I first wanted to log in, but that was a one-off thing. The connection to the headband was then done in a snap. The Muse 2 may work with Bluetooth, but you can only connect to it via the app. Why is it like that? The app namely produces certain sounds based on the data that the Muse 2 collects.

By allowing the Muse 2 to connect only in the app itself, you still have the option to play those sounds via Bluetooth earphones. The first time you put the headband on your head, the app also helps. You can adjust it very precisely so that it fits precisely and the sensors are in the right place. The latter in particular is essential since the operation of the Muse 2 depends on those sensors. You do not have to worry about starting a meditation session without the headband being adjusted properly, because the Muse 2 is systematically calibrated for each session.

Meditation for everyone

The app itself does not assume that you are a meditation expert and is accessible to everyone. You have four different meditation categories: mind (mind), heart (heart), body (breath). With mind meditation, the Muse 2 will register your brain waves to see how calm you are. Subsequently, during a time period (from 5 to 60 minutes) that you can set yourself, you will hear sounds that are adjusted to your mood.

You can choose from four sound profiles, where the “rain” profile shows a heavy downpour when your mind is restless and a whistling bird when you have completely unwind. The question now is how well this fits in with what is really happening in your head, because although I felt that I was calm for a while, the sounds were constantly changing. The same principle is applied for heart, body and breath meditation, only other sensors are switched on there.

The heart sessions make sounds based on your heart rate: a loud and fast drum indicates that your heart rate is high and a quiet, slow drum indicates that your heart rate is lower. The body sessions then look at your sitting position again via a gyroscope. The idea is that you remain motionless with your eyes closed. With every movement you hear bubbles ringing in the wind and if you sit still long enough, you will hear the well-known bird. For example, if you want to find your ideal sitting position on your desk chair, then these sessions can be extremely useful. With the breath meditation, the aim is to focus on your breathing and thus fully relax and meditate optimally.

The principle counts

Although I still wonder how accurate the data of mind meditation is, it is mainly about the principle of the headband. With each session, a soothing voice explains what you are going to do and then you are completely shut off from the outside world for between 5 and 60 minutes. The sounds you hear help you focus, while in normal circumstances you might be distracted by the smallest noise around you. After each session, you can also see in a graph how calm you were and possibly add a message about how you felt before, during and after the session. This way you can see in the long term whether the headband is actually useful.

The Muse 2 ensured that I took ten minutes a day to sit still, to think about nothing and to let my mind settle. My favorite moment for a meditation session was just before I went to sleep. The sounds usually let me settle down, although there were also occasional times that the recurring storm sounds mainly worked on my nerves and it didn’t calm me down.

Of course, there is a price tag on this whole event and that is going to be the stumbling point for many. The Muse 2 currently costs 250$ and some people today still have trouble giving that amount to a smartphone. Nevertheless, I highly recommend Muse 2, especially to people who have a busy daily life and can benefit from a few minutes to clear their heads.

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