We’ve talked about monitoring heart rate variability (HRV) to balance your nervous system and manage stress. Now SweetWater Health is proud to announce that you can monitor your HRV accurately, non-intrusively, and easily with our SweetBeat™ iPhone app!
Here’s our press release with more info:
Easy-To-Use Mobile Health App Launched
by SweetWater Health
SweetBeat App Based on 30 Years of Clinical Research
February 6, 2012—Los Gatos, CA—SweetBeat™, a new iPhone application, helps users to effectively manage fitness and stress using simple, easy-to use methods accessible to everyone. SweetBeat by SweetWater Health™ LLC is available now from the Apple iTunes Store for $1.99. Future versions will be compatible with Android phones.
Whether the user is a dedicated athlete, yoga enthusiast or just someone concerned about health, understanding how the body reacts to stress allows people to optimize their lives for maximum effectiveness. For fitness enthusiasts, SweetBeat is a simple application that allows users to plan workouts based on vital signs, rather than a canned workout schedule. For people with busy, stressful lives, SweetBeat is an easy way to measure and manage stress levels throughout the day.
How SweetBeat Works
Using one of several compatible and affordable heart rate monitors, SweetBeat measures the user’s heart rate variability, or HRV, which has been researched for about 30 years. HRV is the variation in the time between heartbeats. Clinical studies have shown that when a person’s stress rises, HRV falls (the interval between beats becomes more regular). The less stressed the person is, the higher the HRV level (the interval between beats becomes less regular).
With SweetBeat, users can see their HRV levels in real time, giving them the ability to take action to manage stress or vary their workouts. When a user’s stress rises above the user-determined threshold, a “Relax” screen appears with a breath pacer. Simply by breathing deeply and regularly, the user can balance his or her system, returning to a more relaxed state.
In competitive sports, improved performance is often affected by alternating periods of intensive training with periods of relative rest. Clinical studies have shown that HRV is an effective metric for detecting overtraining. SweetBeat measures HRV and provides an objective measure of your body’s response to each workout.
SweetBeat sessions can be uploaded to SweetWater Health’s secure database, enabling users to access their data at “MySweetBeat,” either through the iPhone or on the SweetWater Health website. In MySweetBeat, users sign in securely to see a calendar of their sessions, color-coded by average stress level, and session summaries. They can also chart their sessions in a variety of ways, comparing readings for different times of day or from day to day, for instance. If they want, users can share their SweetBeat results with friends via Twitter or Facebook.
SweetBeat can be used to “spot-check” for stress. However, the app can also be used to record lengthy sessions if desired, allowing users to view how readings shift during an extended period, or during exercise.
Personalization: SweetBeat offers a number of user-friendly features to make SweetBeat both intuitive and fun. Users can provide the app with information about themselves by recording a baseline session (this isn’t mandatory, but does result in more accurate readings). Users can select among 26 “Persona” that describe their personal traits such as “Active,” “Spiritual,” or “Home Body,” and record gender and age
Users can set their current perceived stress levels at any time during a session, and they can select from 12 different states, from “Nervous” or “Happy” to “Working” or “Partying.”
Users can also personalize the Relax screen graphic. The default graphic is a fractal image that shifts from edgy red to cool blues and greens as stress levels fall, but users can select up to five of their own stress-reducing images.
Monitor Screen: The Monitor screen shows the user’s heartbeats in a familiar, EKG-like animation. Dynamic windows show the heart rate, detected stress level, and HRV level.
Breath Pacer: The Breath Pacer screen is designed to guide users through a relaxation session if SweetBeat detects high stress. The screen features a default image that changes as the user becomes relaxed—or users can select their own soothing images. There is also a visual and auditory cue that helps users to breathe deeply and rhythmically, a process known to balance the nervous system and return the body to a state of relaxation
Sensitivity Settings: Everyone has different levels of sensitivity to stress and exercise, so SweetBeat allows users to determine which level to use. People who are naturally high-strung may want to set the app at Level 1 (the least sensitive) to get a meaningful reading, while a more mellow type might use Level 5 (the highest sensitivity to stress). SweetBeat users may find they become less sensitive to stress over time; the app allows raising or lowering sensitivity settings as needed. Users can set the threshold of stress at which the Breath Pacer will appear to help them relax, and they can turn Stress Alerts on or off. Users can also set their Heart Rate Thresholds and turn Heart Rate Alerts on or off.
About SweetWater Health, LLC:
SweetWater Health™ is revolutionizing mobile health monitoring and stress management by combining proven medical research techniques with the latest mobile computing technological advances.
SweetWater Health, located in Los Gatos, CA, was founded by Ronda Collier, who researched HRV and stress for three years before beginning product development on SweetBeat. She and her partners, Donna Leever and Jo Beth Dow, are Silicon Valley veterans with deep experience in technology and the successful launch of high-tech startups.