I Hacked My Nervous System With Apollo to Get Better Sleep, Deeper Meditation, and Less Stress
Are your wrists as piled up with fitness watches as mine are? Well, make some room. Apollo Neuro ($349) straps around your wrist like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, but it's not there to count your steps or measure your heart rate. It's a "wearable wellness device for stress relief," according to the brand's website, aka it's here to help with your mental health, not your calorie burn. As a fitness device fanatic myself, I was intrigued when Apollo offered me a band to try. I've been wearing Apollo for two months now; here's my review.
What Is Apollo Neuro?
Apollo Neuro is a wearable wellness device for stress relief, but what does that mean? This band uses a form of "touch therapy," the brand told POPSUGAR, "felt as gentle waves of vibration." You wear it on the inside of your wrist or ankle and it buzzes against your skin in patterns meant to stimulate your nervous system in different ways. Via a Bluetooth app on your phone, you can choose vibration modes like:
- Energy and Wake Up
- Social and Open
- Clear and Focused
- Rebuild and Recover
- Meditation and Mindfulness
- Relax and Unwind
- Sleep and Renew
You then choose the length of time and intensity of the vibration.
Each vibration pattern is different. The Energy and Wake Up setting, for example, is stronger and faster than, say, the Sleep and Renew or the Relax and Unwind modes. "Apollo's modes are organized based on the science of how our body responds to Apollo vibrations, Apollo trials in the lab, and the experiences of our users," the brand said. The vibration frequencies work by increasing or decreasing activity in your nervous system, which helps to change your energy level. "Modes designed for rest and relaxation contain more slow-moving, gentle frequencies known to increase parasympathetic activity, the branch of your nervous system that is activated when you meditate, deep breathe, and sleep," the brand says on its website. "Modes for energy contain vibration frequencies known in the literature to increase heart rate and blood flow for increased energy and alertness."
With me so far? To sum it up, Apollo vibrates against your wrist or ankle (areas that are "highly sensitive" due to the number of nerve endings there, Apollo said) to soothe or stimulate your nervous system, which can help you relax or give you energy when you need it. It all runs through a Bluetooth app on your phone, so you choose whatever setting you need at that moment.
How Do I Use Apollo Neuro?
"Use Apollo as often as you like," the brand told us. "The more frequently Apollo is used, the better the biometric improvements we have seen (particularly when consistently used before bed and with sleep)." With that in mind, I wear my Apollo all day and night (except when it needs a charge — usually once every other day, if I use it frequently) and pull up the app whenever I need some kind of mental boost.
I use the Focus mode when I need to dial in at work, the Rebuild mode after a workout, the Social mode during meetings or Zooms with my friends, and the Energy mode when I'm feeling groggy in the morning. You do have to turn on each mode yourself (you can't set them to come on automatically), so it took a while before I consistently remembered to activate the device as part of my routine.
So far, my favorite modes are Meditation and Mindfulness, Sleep and Renew, and Relax and Wind Down. I thought the meditation mode would distract me during my morning practice, but it actually helped me calm down and the feeling of the vibrations faded smoothly into the background. I love the relax mode for decompressing after work. The sleep mode, though, is the one I use the most. I never forget to turn it on. I haven't struggled to fall asleep once since I started using it — it just feels like a soothing hum against my ankle that helps me drift right off. (I wear the Apollo on my ankle for the Sleep mode, as the brand recommends, and on my wrist the rest of the time.)
Do I Like Apollo Neuro?
After two months of using Apollo Neuro, I can tell you I'm a big fan. It does take a little getting used to: the vibrations were slightly uncomfortable at first, which the brand said was normal, but your body gets used to it over time and you can always turn down the intensity to ease the transition. It also took some time for me to figure out which modes I liked best and how to make them part of my routine.
Once I got past the adjustment period, though, I loved how soothing Apollo's vibrations felt and how much they helped when I needed to sleep, relax, or relieve stress. Apollo is more of a supplement to a mental health routine than it is a standalone fix-all, so it's used as an extra boost on top of the tools you already use. It also helped me hone in on some areas that I really needed help on, like focus, relaxation, sleep, and regulating my emotions and stress. Two months into my Apollo experience, I have no plans to unstrap this band anytime soon.