Apollo Vibrating Stress Reduction Device Review

The first day I had a Apollo—A portable, watch-like vibration machine that manufacturers tout as a anti stress– I saw someone lose almost a few fingers.

I was helping a friend beautify her house. She and her wife are in the process of modernizing and had closed in a new location, so they needed to quickly put their current home up for sale. I painted doors and floors. Another guy with more construction experience worked a table saw. He accidentally got his hands on it. He didn’t scream. He closed the saw and walked away quickly, his other hand gripping the blood-spurting one.

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“Are you OK?” I asked. (In retrospect: stupid question.) “No, no, no,” he said. I called 911 while he was sitting in the living room next to the owner, the tip of his middle finger turning gray. Paramedics arrived and stormed the room. I moved back and saw the blood splash, igniting my disgust. Light or light chemicals flooded my nervous system.

(He’ll be fine, after the surgery. He said the lesson was not to let your familiarity with the saw diminish your alertness.)

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Back in my car, I saw the Apollo in my laptop bag. I had planned to start the week-long trial, for which to write this review, the next day, but it seemed like the perfect time for the chemical-free descent promised by its makers. I strapped it to my wrist and chose “rebuild and recover” from the seven settings for the corresponding app. Slow beats reverberated through my wrist, as if I had an extra external impulse. As I walked home in the rain, the device helped me focus my mind.

While the electronics market is more and more with portable devices to measure your mood, Apollo (priced at $ 349) is one of the first to promise to do something about it. Its developers all research showing that inaudible vibrations can increase heart rate variability (HRV), freeing an anxious or exhausted person from a state of excessive alertness.

David Rabin, MD, Ph.D., principal developer of the device and co-founder of the company, told me that the Apollo offers a practical solution when you’re too anxious to reduce mental noise enough to think about. a pacification strategy where you can’t logistically step back a moment to step into a corner and breathe deeply. “With Apollo, we wanted something that we took out of the lab and that wouldn’t monopolize the user’s ears or hands or the sense of touch,” Rabin said.

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Rabin hopes Apollo will one day succeed antidepressants as the first option for depression. “We should start with what has the fewest side effects and it’s not Zoloft,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have to get the locus of control back to the users and keep them away from drugs and things that are used for self-medication.”

The impetus for the device stems from research Rabin says he did in a mental hospital on severely depressed patients. But when his team put that idea into a black device the size of a matchbox that could be strapped to a wrist or ankle and sent a few hundred units for various people to beta testing, they got it. discovered he had a receptive audience among athletes and military personnel. , frameworks and self-optimizers. “Once we put it in nature, it was used for energy and focus,” he said.

I could fit into both categories of Apollo users: I’m a self-optimizer, in the sense that I’m a freelance writer for whom productivity equates directly to rental and food – and I’m also often a nervous wreckage, mostly for the same reason. I spend too much time in front of a laptop, I’m afraid of blank Microsoft Word documents, and student loans make me wake up at 4 a.m.

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Nick keppler

I was sold on the Apollo workforce for extreme stress after my first experience; he succeeds in Rabin’s goal of freeing himself from a stupor exhausted in mental resources. As for its impact on daily life? The Apollo has seven settings and allows the user to vary the intensity and duration of the vibrations.

On my first full day of using the Apollo, I woke up, strapped the device to my wrist, and started with the “energy and wake” setting. He sent out big, fast heartbeats, like he was trying to do CPR on my wrist. That, uh, managed to awaken my alertness and I understood why the standard length is five minutes.

I liked the “clear and focused” mode much more, which triggers a series of long and regular pulses. The productivity pitfalls for a freelance writer are manifold. There’s too much time on an email or task, the distraction of thinking about taxes or bills or other non-work-related worries, and the lure of browsing the internet for something like Bernie Sanders memes tormenting Chris Matthews. “Clear and Focused” is a slow, steady, non-evasive reminder that I’m supposed to work, and at a steady pace.

Stressed man in the office

Simon winnall

My second favorite setting was “social and open,” one that used slow waves. It was like having a little electronic cat purring at your feet (and I found having it on the ankle was less bulky than the wrist). I took the Apollo with me to the grocery store a few times on this setting and the extra beat added a bit of pizzazz for monotonous tasks.

One big drawback: The Apollo looks like a parole or probation monitor. I guess it can’t be helped. Yet, for this reason, my girlfriend requested that I not wear it when we were socializing. (She too, while cleaning the room and picking it up off the floor, casually called it “your vibrator.”)

The “rebuild and recover” mode (the one I used after witnessing the crash) is popular with athletes, Rabin told me, and I understand why. After a workout I usually experience a crash, typical when the body tries to rebuild muscle. In R&R mode, the Apollo provided a certain body stability that kept me from feeling out of balance until I got my usual hard-boiled egg or a handful of trail mix or some other high protein remedy.

Italy, mountain running man sitting on a rock watching the sunset


There are three settings – “meditation and mindfulness,” “relax and unwind,” and “sleep and rejuvenate” – that I literally haven’t noticed. It all had such a low impact that they blended into the sensory backdrop.

“Meditation and Mindfulness” offers those big waves that I had forgotten after the first impulses. I tried it for some “mindful” activities, like writing and cooking, but preferred the old-fashioned “clear and focused” watch.

“Kick back and relax” has that slow engine vibration, like the quiet, smooth engine of a Prius shrunk and pressed against your foot. “Sleep and renewal” was barely noticeable even when I increased the strength of the vibration. I fell asleep every night that I used it so no complaints. (I also take a lot of sleep-related pills.)

Tired woman yawning while using mobile phone on bed at night


The Apollo didn’t change the world for me, but I enjoyed having the added measure of emotional self-manipulation. I put the vibe I wanted to be in an app and this little ankle-length companion collaborated.

It may have been partly a placebo; ordering around the Apollo, I also told myself that I had to be “clear and focused” or “social and open” as long as the vibrations lasted.

I think I was more stable and productive during my week with the Apollo than during a regular week. In the end, I didn’t expect any specific results, but I was just happy that the Apollo was there to help me contain any moods or adjust my mind to the task for the proposed day.

To paraphrase Rabin, he brought back the locus of control.

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