In my podcast, I explore the many different facets of the world of high tech from development to marketing, to sales, to entrepreneurship, all with the goal of collecting key insights on startups for listeners to gain value from this knowledge-sharing. So, what did I discover this week?
The connection to our breath, that we as humans have, is as innate as it is powerful. What I mean by that is that we all breathe. Even right now, as you read this, you are breathing. You may not even be fully aware of it, it just happens. Breath is part of our existence and gives us life. Yet, it also holds with it special qualities that help us as people center, calm, and anchor ourselves. Yogis and meditation gurus have known this for millennia, hence specific practices that focus on the breath as a form of cleansing and grounding element. Moreover, we see even other therapeutic and movement experts that coordinate breath together with the body to drive a sense of inner awareness.
So…I Just Have to Breathe?
"The breath is one of the main tools that keep us rooted in the present," adds Edo Ceder, a programmer gone somatic therapist and movement instructor who is now CEO and co-Founder of Anicca, a venture aiming to give people a way to use their breath as a tool for long-term stress management. Edo and his team view the breath as a pillar of mental health and stress reduction. He and his team have therefore entered the wellness market at a point where breath meets body, building a wearable solution to help reconnect people to their breath to help them get through the day more calmly. With that in mind, there is a lot of sense to the "just breathe" expression.
How many times do you take a deep breath in the middle of an argument, long line, or crowded theatre and immediately feel a bit more relaxed and calmer? It truly works to soothe the mind. "We are constantly thinking ahead about the next thing, our responsibilities, the calculator is always on," adds Edo, "and it does not need to be and when we do get in touch with the body it helps." The breath-body connection is what Edo aims to develop through the Anicca wearable.
Feel the Vibrations
The Anicca wearable sensor is meant to be worn against a user's body and emits small vibrations in moments of stress. These vibrations kickstart the body's breathing response so that you as the user remember to breathe, bring awareness into your life, and remain calm in the face of stress to make clear-headed decisions. As Edo puts it, "we want to reduce stress levels in people's lives - stress is inevitable, but we can change how we respond to stress." With this solution, a user will "remember" their breathing and use methods that have been proven in Eastern and Western medicine and mindfulness and use their breathing to help them return to a state of clear-minded decision-making.
The interesting connection that Anicca makes is beyond just the breath but gives a sort of body realization. The vibrations, though focused on breathing, are actually vibrating against your skin and they themselves have a grounding effect. The ingenious part of the solution is that in this way it is combining ideas of mindfulness and breathing that already exist into a digital solution.
More Than Just Therapy
Anicca is not a replacement for therapy, but I see it as a potential supplement to it. Considering the fact that many people I know, and perhaps you do too, who go to therapy, yoga, meditation practice, and other mindfulness and mental health activities, leave a session feeling great and then do not apply the strategies they have learned, I would beg the question: how useful are they really then? Adding Anicca could help to remind users to stop, breathe, and focus on strategies they have learned to cope with stress.
Anger, frustration, disappointment, and everything in between are just a part of life. With the good, comes the bad. Or, maybe we do not have to consider stress as "bad". "Our relationship with stress is not a good one. There exist positive and negative elements to stress, and we want to change our relationship with stress," Edo emphasizes as he describes the Anicca vision. Think of stress in your life that makes you achieve, grow, and develop. Of course, it comes with the opposite side of anxiety and fear but understanding how to harness the power of the breath to work through stress is key.
Anicca is currently in the process of finding users to pilot their solution. If interested, please be in touch with Edo or me.