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Home » Heart and blood, Mental Health

Heartmath emWave – How Does it Work?

Article / Review by on January 17, 2011 – 6:24 amNo Comments

If you’re looking for the official Heartmath emWave Personal Stress Reliever website, click here.

What is the emWave Personal Stress Reliever (PSR)?

Heartmath emWave Personal Stress RelieveremWave Personal Stress Reliever provides a portable and convenient way to reduce stress, balance emotions and increase performance. This scientifically validated, handheld stress reliever uses colorful LED displays, audio feedback and a powerful stress relief technique to help you significantly reduce your stress and increase your feelings of well-being.

Developed from the Institute of HeartMath’s 18 years of research on the relationship between the heart, brain, stress and emotions. emWave is both innovative and practical. It enhances your life through it scientifically validated technology, helping you reduce stress and gain a new sense of inner control.

The emWave is easy to use. Simply place your thumb on the sensor or attach the ear sensor. After your pulse is detected a breathing pacer will synchronize to your heart rhythms. Follow the Quick Coherence Technique, included with the emWave and you are on your way.

Use just minutes a day and you will learn to change the way you react to stress

How emWave Reduces Stress and Creates Coherence

EmWave Personal Stress Reliever will help you reduce the negative effects of stress, allowing you to experience greater health, more energy, and improved emotional balance and mental clarity. The “em” in emWave stands for empowerment; emWave empowers you to shift your emotional state and experience stress relief.

The emWave is based on hard science and incorporates the same patented HRV measurement and coherence scoring process found in the Freeze-Framer® Interactive Learning System, HeartMath’s award winning PC based product that is being used by ten’s of thousands of people in over 50 countries.

Here’s why it works. emWave shows the effects of stress on your body by measuring the subtle changes in your heart rhythms. This type of measurement is known as heart rate variability analysis or HRV. The analysis of HRV is recognized as a powerful, non-invasive measure that reflects heart-brain interactions and autonomic nervous system dynamics, which are particularly sensitive to changes in emotional state.

However, emWave does a lot more than just show the effects of stress on your body. It reduces stress by training you to create more “coherence.” Coherence is a term used by scientists to describe a highly efficient physiological state in which the nervous system, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems are working efficiently and harmoniously. Coherence is a state very similar to what athletes experience when they are in what is called “The Zone”.

Heart Rhythms and Coherence

When you experience stressful emotions such as tension, anxiety, irritation, orHeartmath emWave Personal Stress Reliever anger, your heart rhythm pattern becomes irregular and incoherent, which negatively affects health, brain function, performance and your sense of well-being (see the graph below).

Stress – Heart Rhythms Graph
Figure 1: heart rhythms when stressed

When you are experiencing positive emotions such as appreciation, care, joy or love, your heart rhythm pattern becomes more ordered and coherent. (See graph below.)

Coherence – Heart Rhythms
Figure 2: heart rhythms when feeling a positive emotion

Ordered and harmonious heart rhythms are an indicator of your “coherence level”. High coherence is a state associated with positive emotional attitudes which send signals to the brain that reduce stress, improve brain function, hormonal balance, immune response, coordination and reaction times. emWave determines the degree of coherence found in your heart rhythm patterns and displays changes in real-time on a large tri-colored LED–the Coherence Level Indicator.

* A red light indicates low coherence which would be normal.
* A blue light indicates medium coherence which shows good improvement
* A green light indicates high coherence the optimal high performance, stress-free state.

The goal in using emWave is to reduce stress by achieving and sustaining High Coherence (green). The Coherence Coach CD (included) provides instruction on how to do the Quick Coherence™ Technique to improve your coherence scores with emWave.

emWave is easy to use. Simply place your thumb on the sensor or attach the Ear Sensor. After your pulse is detected a breathing pacer which synchronizes to your heart rhythms begins. As you practice the Quick Coherence Technique, breathing with the pacer while at the same time activating a positive feeling like the care you have for someone or the appreciation you have for the good things in your life, your coherence level (indicated in a large colorful LED) will begin to change from red to blue to green.

emWave offers four challenge levels to help you sharpen your coherence building skills. You can change the brightness of the LED displays and the audio feedback level. Additionally, it incorporates an accumulated coherence scoring display so you can track your progress during a session and an advanced user mode.

For most people in today’s high stress world, it is rare for sustained periods of coherence to occur. Now with emWave Personal Stress Reliever you have a convenient, practical way to help you reduce stress and shift into a higher state of coherence anytime, anywhere. Your stress will diminish and your feelings of well-being, balance and enhanced energy will increase.

How is the emWave Personal Stress Reliever different from a heart rate monitor?

The emWave is very different from handheld devices that simply measure heart rate. The emWave Personal Stress Reliever analyzes your heart rhythms for “coherence”, a term used by scientists to describe a highly efficient physiological state in which the nervous system, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems are working efficiently and harmoniously. A heart rate monitor only provides you with information about your average heart rate.

How does using this stress management device differ from deep breathing?

While rhythmic breathing exercises can help control your heart rate and have a calming effect on the body, shifting attitudes and emotions take more than that. Research shows that the key to learning how to neutralize and counter the effects of stress is by actively adding a positive feeling such as appreciation, care and compassion to the process. Experiencing positive emotions has a much broader range of health and wellness benefits than simply forcing the system into coherence through rhythmic breathing. Generating feelings of appreciation, care or compassion adds a dynamic element for stress management. Using the breathing pacer found in the emWave in conjunction with generating positive emotions helps synchronize your nervous system and creates positive changes in your heart rhythm patterns to create and sustain the coherence needed for stress relief.

emWave Personal Reliever Benefits

Frequent users of the emWave Personal Stress Reliever report:

  • stress reduction
  • increased energy and resilience
  • greater mental clarity for decision-making and creativity
  • enhanced emotional balance and improved listening ability
  • better, more restful sleep

Most people get into medium or high coherence within a few short sessions and feel a reduction in stress. Using the Quick Coherence® technique, which you can read about in the manual or learn from the Coherence Coach CD included in the package, is highly recommended as it accelerates the process of learning tools for stress management. Practicing stress management techniques is the key, but results generally come quickly. Additionally, emWave includes four challenge levels so that as you practice you can continue to refine your ability to eliminate and counter the negative effects of stress.

How is the emWave different from other stress management devices?

There are certainly other stress management devices designed to help people with stress and HeartMath’s position is that we are very much in favor of any stress management devices or stress management techniques that can help with the mounting global stress problem.

What distinguishes the emWave from many other stress managment products is the significant body of published scientific research that has been incorporated into its development. Heartmath‘s 15 years of experience, validation and practical applications demonstrate the effectiveness in all of the stress management products that HeartMath offers. Additionally, emWave is just one of many products found in the HeartMath system. The system — consists of tools, stress management techniques and proven PC based technology (Freeze-Framer Interactive Learning System). All HeartMath products and services compliment each other and have been used for stress managment and increasing performance by hundreds of thousands of people in over 50 countries, and applied in Fortune 100 corporations, health care systems, government agencies and school systems. emWave is an extension of this system and carries with it the breadth of credibility and proven results associated with HeartMath.

Has HeartMath done studies to support the benefits of the emWave?

Heartmath has done numerous studies on the effect of positive emotions on stress, physiology and human performance. These studies have been published in prestigious journals including Stress Medicine, American Journal of Cardiology, Preventive Cardiology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science and Harvard Business Review.

What is the PSR actually measuring?

Both the PSR and the emWave Desktop measure your Heart Rate Variability: the time-intervals between the heartbeats. Whenever we are stressed, these time-intervals become jagged and irregular, sending a chaotic pattern throughout our body. And we feel this: our body becomes tense. HeartMath has done a lot of research on the effect of emotions on our body and when we experience positive emotions such as care, gratitude, appreciation and compassion, those time-intervals in our Heart Rate Variability Pattern become very smooth and sine-wave like. This creates a much more orderly and balanced pattern in our internal systems, creating a state of coherence. We experience this as a more calm, harmonious state.

Can I use the emWave along with other stress management practices?

Yes, emWave works well as an adjunct to other stress managment practices. It can easily provide verification of the effectiveness of many other approaches to counter the effects of stress and can be used as a friendly facilitator of other stress management methods.

Do I need to be experienced with technology in order to use the emWave device?

No. emWave Personal Stress Reliever is very simple and easy to use. The Quick Start Guide and the owner’s manual provide clear instructions on how to easily operate and immediately benefit from your emWave.

Is there training available to help me learn about my HeartMath product?

Yes. There is a free Personal Stress Reliever® e-Training, a free emWave® PC Stress Relief System Orientation Class as well as personal HeartMath instruction.

Aside from helping to reduce stress, are there other applications for using the emWave that I can benefit from?

The applications of the emWave Personal Stress Reliever include more than stress managment. Increasing your coherence level — which is the primary goal of using the emWave — increases performance. Whether or not you feel the negative effects of stress, you can use it to improve mental clarity which will have a positive effect on business, communications and creativity. Additionally, emWave provides a great way to improve performance in sports. It trains you to more easily enter into a high performance state that athletes call “The Zone”.

emWave Personal Reliever Reviews. Does It Work?

The HeartMath Website features hundredt of customer testimonials, attesting to the way it works.

Here are some independent customer reviews of emWave we found on the web:

Glamour magazine review excerpt:

I started breathing and the reading was not good: red (my stress levels were high, as was my blood pressure). But after several minutes of deep breathing, I got my breathing in alignment and the light changed to blue and then green. And, here’s the kicker: I actually felt better–a lot better.

Independent customer reviews on

Heartmath emWaveLora JanssonemWave is useful for depression, stress,

anxiety, pain management, and — most subtly — for learning how to choose what you want to feel in the face of any life circumstance. It gets easier and easier to do with time, and more and more gratifying. This is a world-class device, and the training offered by HeartMath is superb. Their books are the best I’ve read on depression, anxiety, etc. and I have read dozens on both subjects. This is a powerful and deceptively simple aid. Do take the free training; it’ll guide you through the bells and whistles. […]

Heartmath emWaveAriel Stone – I have so far been able to use this to effectively and successfully control anxiety, stress, and anger at home or when I’m out. Before I work with Reiki, I can make sure I’m in the proper “zone” to get the most out of it. When I meditate, I can make sure I’m in the proper zone there too. It helps me get to sleep faster, and stay there. I know there’s more uses; I’m experimenting as much as possible.

Heartmath emWaveS. Carr, L.Ac – I can hardly believe it, but thanks to theemWave my struggles with eating and high anxiety ended OVERNIGHT!

Once I got the lights to turn green, I found that “zone” inside of true peace of mind for the first time ever. But even better than that, I can get back to it again and again. I cannot believe how different I feel. I use it before I eat meals (which has kept me from overeating!) and at night before I go to sleep (I don’t remember sleeping so deeply!) and whenever I start to feel anxiety coming on. It helps me calm down almost right away. I am a health care provider and I have started reccomending it to my patients- who are getting similarly great results. Who invented this thing? Whoever you are- THANK YOU! And if you do not have one, this product is a must!

Tech Gadget emWave review:

Being told to breathe through your heart (Heart breathing) is also a bit of a ‘meh’ point for me – it’s all a bit hippy-sh*t, with a bad mix of pop-science.
These things have not impressed me at all.

However the simplicity of the emwave, its sheer effectiveness makes me grin!

If you’re stressing out (imagine someone who has had a cardiac arrest & is petrified of having another one); if you don’t know or can’t focus without help on how to breathe in a relaxed manner, go get this gadget!

It’s cheeky but effective. Go back and read that again. Cheeky but effective.
It’s a gimmick that works & for those with appalling stress levels, this may save a life.

Neurofeedback blog review of emWave:

Heartmath emWave reviewIt’s handy little device that you can use to practice heart coherence without having to have a computer on and that lets you wander as you practice. I have been using it with my clients and they have found it a useful addition to training sessions. So much so, that several have asked to purchase the extras I have for use in group classes.

Click here to learn more about the emWave Personal Stress Reliever

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