HeartMath emWave2 [Biohacker Review]

HeartMath emWave2

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HeartMath emWave2
By Jonathan Roseland

I'm not a doctor, medical professional, or trained therapist. I'm a researcher and pragmatic biohacking practitioner exercising free speech to share evidence as I find it. I make no claims. Please practice skepticism and rational critical thinkingYou should consult a professional about any serious decisions that you might make about your health. Affiliate links in this article support Limitless Mindset - spend over $150 and you'll be eligible to join the Limitless Mindset Secret Society.

The leading mindset quantification device for Biohackers, transhumanists, meditation practitioners, stress hackers, and flow state junkies.

emWave® technology is based on 20 years of research on the mindset state of “coherence” between the heart, brain, and autonomic nervous system. Achieving coherence, basically feeling zenned-out, has been linked to mental, emotional, and physical benefits like decreased stress levels.

How does it work?

  1. Power on the emWave2 by pressing the bottom of the black button (without plugging it into a computer via USB cable)
  2. Attach the heart rate clip to your ear (two hands-free, hooray!)
  3. You will start to see the blue light on the bottom emWave device blinking - it's reading your heart rate.
  4. The light on top will usually start red, as we spend very little of our waking existence in a true state of stress-free coherence.
  5. You want to breathe in and out deeply with the rising and falling blue lights.
  6. It takes 5-10 seconds to get into or out of a state of Coherence, the light will turn from red to blue and finally green.
  7. As you stay in Coherence the blue lights will reach higher on the display. If you fall out of Coherence they will decrease, once the blue lights reach the greenlight you start another Coherence level.

For a truly quantified session, plug it into your computer and fire up the emWave software, and press the play button to begin a session.

My emWave2 practice

I aim for two sessions daily...

  1. Non-Screen session - This fits into my mindfulness practice and is time away from glowing screens. I go somewhere private and spend 5-10 minutes alone (without my computer or smartphone), in a meditative state. I do this either first thing in the morning or after work in the evenings but before I do anything social. My objective is to power through three green Coherence levels, if I'm relaxed and positive that's a breeze but if I've had a stressful day it takes some work. Once I get more skilled I predict I'll do more levels at a time.
  2. Passive emWave session - I will connect my emWave to the computer via USB and fire up the emWave software. I will do a 20-minute session while working on something. I've found if I do this at the beginning of a writing session, I'll reach a nice creative flowstate.

My training program

About 5-10 minutes a day for two weeks and scoring 1500 Coherence points a week.


I'm glad I mastered Dual N-Back before diving into Heart Rate Variability training because the emWave2 can reinforce your negative self-monitoring. The red light is a tangible indicator that your negative thoughts are getting the best of you; it's super easy to get self-critical - I suck at emWaving! - but this is a self-perpetuating cycle of thoughts and it's key to remember to practice emotional compartmentalization while emWavingA couple of my non-Biohacker friends used the device and when they couldn't even reach Coherence they were disappointed.

Reaching Coherence

Coherence is tied to our emotions on a fundamental level, especially the emotions of...

  • Gratitude
  • Thankfulness
  • Security

Does this mean that a Coherent lifestyle means never thinking negative thoughts? No, the notion that you should never think negative thoughts has been thoroughly disprovedEveryone is going to have different Coherence triggers like...

Editor's Review: A device for elite Biohackers

I've been using the emWave2 device for over a month now consistently. It's a fascinating device!

It's not an instant satisfaction biohacking technology; unless you have a lot of first-hand experience with a mindfulness practice you may be pretty disappointed with your first few emWave sessions. Initially getting into and out of coherence is going to seem pretty random.

I've let a couple of my non-Biohacker friends use the device who've never heard of Heart Rate Variability, they had a lot of trouble getting into coherence and their initial reactions have been "this is fake." I think this speaks to how unaware the average person is of their mindset state and how they are handling their stress.

The core value of emWave is as a tool for measuring and habituating mindfulness and conscious management of stress. Most of us have a baseline level of stress that we are so accustomed too that we think we are totally relaxed when we are actually in a baseline state of unhealthy stress.
The emWave device is teaching me what that state of baseline stress actually feels like, because the green light goes on when I'm coherent. Now while I'm working, commuting or doing something social and I detect a tale-tell sign that I'm not in coherence, I adjust my breathing, body language, change my internal dialog to the few mantras that I know work for me and I find the world getting a little brighter.

For example, the other night I was very tempted by self pity, a combination of an issue with a client and frustration over something personal put me in a gloomy mood, I didn't feel like chit-chatting with my roommates or going out to socialize with friends. It was a rainy night to match my mood, I felt like walking to the grocery store with my umbrella, buying some fruit snacks and just feeling sorry for myself.
But I hadn't checked into the emWave habit on Coach.me yet, leaving habits unchecked bothers me so I figured I might as well get in a quick emWave session.
I turned off my phone, powered on the emWave2, forced a smile, began to breathe deeply and did a meditative session, which quickly put my melancholic mood in perspective. Half way through the session a great idea for a business model emerged from my mind quieted, which I tabled.
As I finished the the 3rd green level, I powered off the emWave said "no" to the self pity and got back to work.

 emWave2 vs Stress Test app

I measured my stress with an Android HRV stress test app simultaneously with the emWave2. I found a decent correlation between my Coherence scores and stress and the app's stress score. So I do recommend downloading and trying the heart rate variability smartphone app. However, the major difference is that the emWave2 is an actual biofeedback device and it provides immediate HRV feedback. I've since done hundreds of training sessions with Heartmath tech. What I like about it is the immediate biofeedback that trains you to manage your "state" better. I'll just set my device on my desk next to my computer while working and adjust my breathing as I dip into the red. This you CAN'T do with any of the free-ish HRV smartphone apps. Also, you don't have to worry about the EmWave2 burning your finger!

Observations and findings

  • Smiling. I found that smiling helps coherence a lot! More proof that this simple body language is profoundly beneficial
  • Watching funny videos on Youtube doesn't improve coherence but curiously, I did find a correlation between watching Hip Hop or Reggaeton videos and the green light.
  • Breathing, HRV training is a breath meditation exercise as well. I've already noticed the transfer effects to using holistic breathing to mitigate stress.

A couple of negatives...

  • The aesthetics are a little lacking, other than the cool flashing lights it's made of cheap-feeling plastic. It feels like the kind of thing that would break if you dropped it on the ground, although I actually did drop it on the ground once and it still works fine.
  • Battery life is unimpressive. This might just have been my device but it seemed like I need to charge it a lot.
  • Social integration. On my wishlist for heart rate variability training is being able to share my progress via social media or maybe even compete with my friends for the highest coherence scores.

emWave® science

Impressively, there are over 50 scientific papers about Heartmath's technology on Pubmed.

  • emWave® technology is used by more than 10,000 health professionals to help patients reduce stress and anxiety.
  • 65 VA Hospitals are using emWave to help soldiers deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • HeartMath studies and trials have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

High blood pressure and hypertension

HRV training is one of the leading non-pharmacological methods to combat destructive hypertension, a 2012 study of 62 patients stated:

This approach to reducing [blood pressure] should be considered a simple and effective approach that can easily be taught to patients to quickly lower their [blood pressure] in stressful situations. The technique should be especially useful when hypertensive patients are experiencing stressful emotions or reactions to stressors.

Coherence and organizations

Grinnel study

The impact of Coherence training on organizations has been studied as well. To quote a study of the 47 team members of the Grinnell Regional Medical Center: 

Coherence implies order, structure, harmony, and alignment among systems-whether in cells and organs, entire organisms, or social groups including communities and counties.

According to Heartmath

emWave technology is an innovative approach to improving wellness and facilitating personal growth based on learning to change your heart rhythm pattern to create coherence; a scientifically measurable state characterized by increased order and harmony in our psychological and physiological processes.

 Who is using emWave® HRV technology?

What people are saying about emWave2...

According to one Paleohacker:

I work in a constant stimulating environment full of sick patients, artificial light, long hours and shifts that don't work with a mammalian sleep pattern. I have an EmWave and it not only helps me decompress but it enhances my body's ability to do the same thing naturally. I have seen my resting heart rate decrease, my feelings of work being stressful or unmanageable be obliterated with one session during or after my shift. I noticed a decrease in disagreements with my beautiful girlfriend. Back to the enhancing - it improves my sleep quality and eating patterns, I eat what I need to and during sleep I achieve more deep and restorative REM sleep - quicker to sleep, less light sleep and more restful upon waking. I have quantified proof that through controlling variables and integrating the EmWave 2...

Great meditation companion - TrishE from Loveland, CO USA (Amazon Verified Purchase)

I have meditated for years. Practicing coherence with this wonderful feedback tool has opened new awareness during day to day activities and during meditation. I practice coherence separate from my meditation practice - it has shown me how often I pop up into thinking, and is helping me to spend more time disengaged from thought, more time being present in my body, with my breath. Even if you have no interest in meditation, this is a tool whose benefits of calm and present moment awareness seep into all areas of life.

Helpful device - Kate McMurry from the United States (Amazon Verified Purchase)

In short, the Emwave2 basically functions as an inexpensive version of a biofeedback machine and, as such, is a great buy.

Fantastic Product - HanselIdes (Amazon Verified Purchase)

I have a motor-mind; it never shuts up and I don't spend enough time relaxing. So, meditation as a way to de-stress and clear my mind seems like an awesome idea. The problem with meditation is that I get bored easily. Being able to watch my heart rate change (desktop option) and feel how each 'murmur' in my emotions has a physical effect on me has really opened my mind to think of deep breathing as a viable health option. After 10 minutes focusing on deep breathing in sync with my heart rate with the Emwave2, I feel much more relaxed.

 emWave2 vs Inner Balance

The major difference is that the Inner Balance is a Bluetooth sensor that gives you real-time HRV biofeedback with a slick Android or IOS app. The app displays your general state of coherence - red, blue, or green - along with a heart rate graph. It also gives you a more detailed readout of your coherence score and graphs your performance. I logged into the app with my old Heartcloud account and was pleased to discover that it still had my emWave2 session data from back in 2014.

What I like about the emWave2 is that it's a subtly pleasant and mindful technology, the rising and falling light bar on it is sort of mesmerizing. Unlike my smartphone, it's a zero-distraction piece of technology, when I sit down with my emWave I'm not going to get sucked down the click-bait rabbit hole on Facebook or Twitter. When I use the Inner Balance I have to staunchly resist checking social media or being distracted by dinging and vibrating app notifications.

After doing over 300 training sessions, my conclusion is that the Inner Balance is the better option. It makes it easy to track how other biohacks and supplements affect my heart rate variability.

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Credibility Analysis
Winner of the prestigious Last Gadget Standing People’s Choice Award for the original emWave Personal Stress Reliever
Money Back Guarantee
Our 30-Day No-Risk Guarantee If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund, less the shipping and handling fees. The product must contain all of its parts and be in a satisfactory condition suitable for resale.
Clinical Studies
3 High quality human studies http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24278819 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20653293 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24526291
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HeartMath emWave2
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HeartMath emWave2
HeartMath emWave2


HOWARD MARTIN: Why Your Heart is Smarter Than Your Brain | How to Get into Heart Coherence HEARTMATH
? The emWave2, Marijuana, Religion, and Flowstates?
Musings on the HeartMath emWave2 ? AND how I saved 70% on it
Test your stress ? emWave2 vs HRV stress test app

Editor review

1 review
A device for elite biohackers
(Updated: January 05, 2020)
Overall rating
Makes you feel 'Limitless'
Mind power results
Good value
? The emWave2, Marijuana, Religion, and Flowstates?
Musings on the HeartMath emWave2 ? AND how I saved 70% on it
Test your stress ? emWave2 vs HRV stress test app
#1 Reviewer 246 reviews
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