Muse: The Brain-Sensing Headband Review

Designed to support both beginners and experts on their quest for better meditation sessions, Muse, a product by InteraXon Inc. might be the answer if you’re finding it hard to stay in control of your thoughts while meditating.

With this revolutionary gadget, you’ll discover your mind-body connection through real-time feedback on brain activity to help you consciously guide your meditation and go even deeper. If you’re constantly working yourself up during your meditation sessions, or your mind never stops racing when you should be getting restful sleep, Muse may finally be the long-awaited answer.

We’ll review this brain-sensing headband in this article to help you decide if Muse is something you want to incorporate into your meditation sessions.

Muse: How Does This Brain-Sensing Headband Work?

The brain sensing headband works by assessing brain activities using EEG (Electroencephalography) sensors. It rewards successful periods of calm with peaceful sounds such as crashing waves or chirping birds.

To make this possible, the device comes with an app – The Muse App, and this converts the EEG signals into real-time audio feedback through the built-in headphones. The Muse makes use of the seven sensors; 2 located on the forehead, two behind the ears, and 3 ‘reference’ sensors that measure activity throughout the rest of the brain. This way, it provides a context for the activity in more ‘key’ regions.

As said earlier, in more relaxed states, you can get to hear the sound of birds, but in a state of higher brain activity, storm or crashing waves sound is what you will hear. The gadget also allows you to choose your preferred environment; your mind can be represented as the wind in the desert, the waves on the beach, or rain in a forest.

You’re also provided with the option of meditating in silence, only tracking your mind through the headband. In this mode, you see the spikes in the graph when you begin to lose focus or distracting thoughts roll in.

The sessions can vary. You either chose to do small sessions lasting only a few minutes per day or more than an hour.

The design is sleek and flexible. It can be used anywhere, but because it is quite large, you may want to use it at home or in secluded areas. The Muse is also fitted with built-in speakers, but using it is optional as you can use your own bud-style earphones. On average, the battery can last up to 5 hours; however, you may need to charge more frequently with extended sessions.

When charging, the built-in LED lights show charging status. The light lets you know when it is charging, charged, pairing, and paired. The difficulty level of the Muse can also be adjusted, and that will also change how frequently the sounds change.

Does Muse Really Work?

Theoretically, the Muse works. It utilizes the EEG technology that works by picking elevated electrical activities that correspond with small electrical impulses known as “action potentials”. The impulses represent the activities of neurons. The more intense the neurons, the more active that part of the brain, thus, faster brainwaves means more activity, the slower ones, on the other hand, shows tranquillity.

We should add here that different areas of the brain can experience varying levels of activity at a time – which is why the ‘reference sensors’ are present. However, the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the Muse highly depends on the sensitivity (or quality) of the sensors being used and the extrapolating algorithm for the collected data.

It is therefore only normal that data collected with the relatively inexpensive hardware reflects its cost. (Professional neurofeedback hardware can cost over $1,000, the Muse costs a lot less).

Also keep in mind that the Muse is an entry-level gadget, it is not one to offer you 99.9% accurate information, but still works for the purpose with significantly good breadth and depth of data, for a neuro device within its range.

Difference between Traditional Meditation and Muse

The Muse encourages active meditation – instead of waiting a couple of minutes before realizing how much you’ve been distracted.

Within milliseconds, Muse brings you back to the present to help you focus on the session with real-time feedback. Put simply, the Muse is active meditation, more like a gym for your brain as you’ll over time, get better at meditating actively. Even in the moments, you drift off; it restores your focus a lot quicker than it ordinarily would with traditional meditation sessions. What’s more? The Muse is fun, flexible, and easy to use.

Summary: How Muse Can Make Meditation Better

  • The soundscapes are vast.
  • You’re taught and led through the fundamentals of focused attention meditation.
  • There are graphical indicators of your progress; these can be reviewed to help you set goals for your next session.
  • The results are quickly noticeable.
  • You’re also able to create multiple accounts and share your device with family and friends.

How Safe is the Muse?

The Muse has been tested and certified safe in Europe, USA, and Canada.  The activities of the sensors in the Muse have not been found to cause any harm. However, the Muse isn’t the first brain-sensing technology; many other devices with the EEG technology has been used for decades in hospitals and other institutions.

Muse also uses Bluetooth technology to send the information it collects to your mobile app. With only about 1/100th output of the normal cellular waves, the Muse is considered safe.

The Muse App

The Muse App helps you track your progress and understand your results. On the Muse App, it shows the percentage of time you concentrated in each session. The longer your periods of calmness, the more birds you’ll hear chirp in real-time feedback sounds.

To further gauge your progress, the Muse App calculates points for your meditation sessions. You earn a point for the seconds you remained in a neutral state and three points for each second your brain stays calm. You’re also able to unlock more in-depth stats like “insights about you” and “timeline review” after 5,000 points.

The “insights about you” section reveals particular times of the day you experienced more calm and the calmer you are, the more birds you get.

Customer Scores and Reviews

On average, the Muse earned glowing reviews from users on the retail site, Amazon. It has an average of 4.0 stars across 900+ customer reviews with many users praising the design of the gadget, the benefits they’ve enjoyed with it and many others recommending it.

One particularly positive comment that also highly recommended the gadget was from a verified buyer, “aristagon” who found it equally found it helpful for his/her 5-year-old son, the comment reads:

I don’t usually write reviews, but I’m such a massive fan of this device. I have been meditating on and off for the past two years, and although I have found some success and noticed some changes in my emotional wellbeing, I have never felt like I was really progressing.

Then I purchased the Muse. I’ve been using the Muse headband for about ten days, and already I can see a dramatic difference in my practice and its effects on my mind. I’m able to meditate at a much deeper level and more consistently; After a few days of using the Muse, I discovered that I could much more easily access that calm place, even when not using the Muse.

I’ve also had my five-year-old son using it. He (like many 5-year-olds) has difficulty controlling his emotions and not responding reactively. It’s hard to teach a 5-year-old to meditate, so I had originally figured that I would have to wait until he was older before introducing him to meditation practice. However, the Muse seemed like an excellent opportunity to get him used to the practice. Initially, he agreed to try it every day for 3-5 minutes for two weeks to earn a toy that he desperately wants.

However, after nine days of using it, he now says that he likes it and plans to keep using it even after the two weeks are up. I feel the same way. Whereas before meditation was something of a chore I knew was good for me, now I look forward to using the Muse both in the morning and at night and tend to find excuses to take short meditation breaks throughout the day. I couldn’t recommend this more highly!

Any Problems or Potential Problems With the Muse?

While the Muse has had a good share of positive reviews, there are some negatives regarding the device. Some of our team complained about having to adjust the headband a lot. They added that it only worked when it is overly tight – a major drawback if you consider that optimum comfort is essential for a productive meditation session.

While many others believed that the Muse was soft to the skin, flexible and light, making it comfortable to wear, some however observed that small head movements lessened the sensors and lead to a loss of the signal, this means you have to be really still to effectively use the Muse.

A few of our team complained about the length of time the Muse App takes to start while a few others had complaints about the Bluetooth disconnecting during the sessions.

Lastly, there were complaints about its accuracy with some saying the device wasn’t accurate at all, according to testing; Muse cannot truly tell the exact state of the brain.

The Muse is relatively expensive, and we think it is a good investment if it helps you meditate with ease. We also agree with us that it is less costly than many other forms of therapy.

The Feeling After Muse Sessions

The Meditation & Mindfulness team report feeling much calmer after their sessions. The real-time feedback they agree enables them to change their thoughts; switching from the distraction to concentrate again on the meditation. The real-time feedback to bring you back to the present is an excellent tool for improved meditation, and many users praised the feature.

It’s easy to deduce that with the Muse, we really waste no meditation time. You’re supercharged while at it, and your attention is immediately drawn back any time it drifts, and you’ll know it’s time to refocus.

Beginners, in particular, can enjoy the Muse’s feature during meditation, they get better results from each session than they would without it. While meditations are generally helpful on their own, this device works great as a guide to move away from anxiety or other forms of distractions while meditating.

Final Words

There you go; the hi-tech gadget to help you meditate better. True, the Muse will set you back by almost $200, but it promises to be more than worth it in the end.

If you regularly have to deal with anxiety or have trouble getting deep in meditation, the device might be all you need instead of other extensive and often expensive therapies for anxiety.

Again, while the Muse is relatively pricy, you should expect some limitations when shopping for a neurofeedback gadget in this range. If it helps you get better at concentrating during meditation and keep your mind away from distracting thoughts, then it may be worth the purchase. Plus, setting it up is a breeze!

So; what do you think about the Muse from all you know now? Is something you feel will be worth the investment? Do you use one currently and if you do, has it been worth the cost in your opinion? Share with us in the comments and don’t forget to share the article with family and friends you think may need it.

Got questions or inquiries about this device, we’ll answer them, leave them in the comments.

Meditation and Mindfulness

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