Product review: Muse S EEG headband

An easy entry point to the world of meditation and sleep hacking – the Muse S EEG headband is an EEG without the laborious preparation and arduous data wrangling.

GO LONG   GO SHORT
  • Simple and comfortable design
  • Requires patience and regular use to enjoy the benefits
  • Multi-functional, tracking sleep and meditation
  • The soundscapes can be distracting after a while
  • Intuitive application with a plethora of options
  • If like me, you can’t sleep with a headband on, the sleep tracking is redundant

We scored Muse at 19/25, here’s the low-down:


I’ve been meditating now for quite a number of years, mantra meditation being my chosen method. While I have dabbled in mindfulness meditation and anapanasati, mantra has been the main focus of my practice. Given the opportunity to review the Muse S device, I had an opportunity to dive headlong into mindfulness and anapanasati practice and further my understanding/experience of them. What is more, having a means to actively measure the efficacy of my meditation was exceptionally exciting.

Muse S

Once you have the product out of the box, simply slide the headband on, positioning the device at the centre of the forehead, open the app, connect and choose a meditation of your choice. You can choose a breathwork practice, mind meditation, heart meditation, body meditation or guided meditation. If like me you have the full package, you have access to hundreds of guided meditations from industry recognised experts, so simply press play, sit up straight and away you go!

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get much use out of the sleep tracking functionality. I found wearing a headband somewhat unbearable and so it ended up being more of an impediment than a help. Whilst the soundscapes are wonderful and useful when seeking help relaxing into a deep sleep, I often used them without the headband, simply for the soundscape.

When using the meditation practices (with the exception of the guided meditations) the muse device offers an adaptive soundscape of your choosing, you can have a rainforest, desert, city and others. The soundscape that you listen to adapts to your brainwaves, if you are concentrating (in a state of meditation and relaxed) the soundscape is quiet, changing to heavy rain and wind (in the case of the rainforest) as soon as concentration is broken.

When on a roll, with long periods of deep meditation, one is granted the gift of birds chirping. This is a technique used to reinforce the behaviour/feelings associated with deep meditation and the success of hearing birds chirping. Whilst this is great, it can sometimes knock you off concentration as there is a tendency to get excited when hearing the birds chirp.

Muse S

The gamification of mindfulness practice is a great way to motivate you to meditate more often, improve on one’s meditation practice and be consistent in practice. This, in my opinion is a great success of the Muse device!

Science:

Muse is a clinical-grade EEG (electroencephalogram), which means it detects and measures a range of brain electrical activity, using advanced signal processing to interpret your mental activity. The app decomposes the raw brainwave signals into their component oscillations, non-periodic characteristics, transient brain events, and noise, and uses AI to transform them into a responsive experience in real-time.

The brain can adapt, a feature called neuroplasticity. Concentration exercises that exploit neuroplasticity like those the Muse device enables, can help develop cognitive control and improve their ability to focus. This is called neurofeedback training (NFT).

Muse’s brain-sensing technology has been widely used for brain research projects in many hospitals and research institutions worldwide, including NASA, The Mayo Clinic, UCL, MIT and many more.

Conclusion:

Having spent well over 3 months using the device (almost) daily, I would highly recommend this device to any person that requires feedback when practising something. Whilst the importance of daily meditation for health and wellbeing cannot be stressed enough, it is often difficult for many to see “results” and feel like they are doing it “right”. I have many friends who’ve stopped meditating as they are target driven/goal orientated individuals who are used to almost immediate feedback or metrics to prove success or failure. For them, I have highly recommended the Muse devices and they have since bought and continue to use the device. Whilst it is an investment, with its relatively high price, the benefits one can gain from meditation are worth far more.

Images and video courtesy of Muse

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