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Apollo Neuro Honest Review [2022]: Ultimate Tool to Hack Your Biological Stress?

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This is embarrassing…

I’ve known about the Apollo Neuro—a popular stress, recovery, and sleep hacking device—since its inception years ago.

I wrote it off as another placebo-fueled mood bracelet. Then I listened to an interview with one of the co-founders who explained their works via well-studied touch therapy mechanisms. One of which is a particular modality that I know well (and use).

Why buy an expensive device if I can just use that same therapeutic technique myself?

Well, the company offered me a device to review. Confident that they could convert from the crowd of skeptics.

I’ve now used it for thousands of minutes across several weeks. The Apollo Neuro has followed me everywhere:

  • Energy with my morning coffee
  • Meditation enhancer
  • Pre-workout booster
  • Post-workout recovery
  • Focus and concentration
  • Sleep and recovery aid
  • Stress mitigation
  • Social lubrication and anxiety relief

Unlike the other fancy wearables I use, Apollo promised to do more than passively monitor my biometrics. This device claims to increase HRV, boost cognition, accelerate recovery, alleviate insomnia and improve sleep, and even deepen meditation.

Today, I’m giving you the most comprehensive, data-driven, honest Apollo Neuroscience review on the internet. By the end, you’ll know if this anti-stress device delivers on its claims, or is just another designer “mood” bracelet.

What is the Apollo Neuro?

Born in the University of Pittsburgh neuroscience lab, Dr. David Rabin MD, PhD, and Dr. Greg Siegle PhD designed a tech-infused wearable that revolutionized the science of stress management through patented haptic technology.

Their research shows that certain patterns of dynamic vibrations drastically (and safely) change how our body processes stress, how we feel, and our overall performance. This field of study is called “gentle touch therapy”, but don’t let the name fool you. Other patterns can just as easily stimulate you.

Directly and indirectly, by increasing heart rate variability (HRV), Apollo generates patterns of low-frequency vibrations calibrated to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve sleep and lessen insomnia
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Alleviate brain fog and enhance mental clarity
  • Increase focus
  • Activate the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system
  • Lower heart rate
  • Accelerate recovery from injuries
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Boost heart rate variability

Experts consider HRV the single most accurate biomarker of stress levels.

Remember…

Up to 95 percent of all diseases, and also 75 percent of doctors visits may be related to stress.

Greater HRV translates into a better functioning mind and body. One that quickly bounces back from exercise, sickness, hard work, and social stressors.

In fact, HRV is one of the best overall biomarkers of health, longevity, and performance. I track mine every night and every morning before I even get out of bed. Elite performers spend thousands working with practitioners using special HRV biofeedback devices to increase their scores.

What if you could get the same results anywhere, anytime?

This wearable is about the size and weight of a typical wristwatch, worn around either your wrist or ankle. Apollo syncs with their mobile app, so you can control it directly from your phone. The device also contains two buttons, letting you change the intensity or repeat a program without the app. With the click of a digital (or physical) button, you actively improve your physiological state without the hassle and time commitment of arduous lifestyle practices.

People worry that a device like this is especially prone to placebo and other cognitive biases.

The antidote?

Data.

As I’ll explain later, I’ve tested hundreds of supplements, dozens of devices, and different lifestyle practices to improve my HRV. I found my experience with Apollo quite surprising. Let’s dig into the science.

After all, it was born out of a university laboratory.

The Science Behind How Apollo Neuro Works

Benefits Huge Physical Touch Therapy

I always recommend approaching products with a hefty dose of skepticism. From simple “organic” food, to high-end devices.

Unlike most wearables, created by eager entrepreneurs, Dr. Rabin and his co-founder built Apollo out of clinical need. Five years of hands-on lab research, development, and testing later, Apollo Neuroscience released its technology to the public.

The chief mechanism behind Apollo’s mechanism of action is touch therapy. Stimulating “acupressure” points balances energetic meridians, calms the nervous system, and activates pleasure centers within our brains. Causing a surge of neurochemicals like dopamine and serotonin, and sending a wave of wellbeing throughout the body.

The premise behind touch therapy is simple, and we’ve all experienced comfort from it:

  • Athletes celebrating together
  • Relaxation from the haircutter washing your hair
  • Touching our partner
  • Big hugs from good friends
  • Petting dogs or cats
  • Massage and body work
  • EFT tapping
  • Children seeking their mother’s hold
  • Physical touch as a “Love Language”

Dr. Rabin calls activating these touch receptors “music to optimize the body and promote recovery“.

From their website…

“Different forms of touch (vibration, electricity, heat, cold, soothing massage, etc) can change how we feel in ways that can be measured biologically”

Apollo Neuroscience links multiple clinical trials on their blog. This device already has accumulated more research than most.

I’d still like to see more high-quality placebo-controlled trials.

Stress

Unsurprisingly, Apollo directly reduces stress levels. This study investigated a small cohort of 11 nursing staff, and in two weeks, stress scores dropped over 40 percent.

It also improves tolerance to stress (building stress resilience) by increasing HRV, as mentioned below.

HRV

One of the more exciting Apollo use cases is to increase HRV scores. Two trials have investigated the connection.

This first trial used the gold-standard design (double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover). They observed 38 healthy people under stress and found that their heart rate variability increased by 2-3X their average within 3 minutes. The HRV in the placebo and no-vibration control groups, however, either did not change or decreased while they also reported feeling stressed and their performance declined.

Second, a recent independent 2021 study found biometric improvements in all of the 40 elite college athletes. The ones with the lowest HRV benefitted most.

Sleep

Several months ago, the company began an ongoing sleep study.

500 Apollo Neuro users who also own Oura Rings voluntarily shared their sleep data. They collected 14 days of data and saw significantly improved sleep and cardiovascular fitness metrics:

  • 19% average increase in deep sleep
  • 14% average increase in REM sleep
  • 6% average increase in total sleep time
  • 11% average increase in HRV
  • 4% average decrease in resting heart rate

Results were best among those that constantly use the Apollo (several hours per day and night, most days per week).

Meditation

Can Apollo shift brainwaves and improve meditation sessions?

Another 2021 trial investigated 50 healthy adults, 25 experienced meditators, and 25 with no experience. All participants shifted their brainwave signatures faster with Apollo.

States of mind originate from different patterns of brainwaves. Anything that can shift brainwaves, therefore, can alter consciousness and shift the body into a “healing” mode.

Cognition

Cognition is about improving the structure and function of the mind.

That same gold standard trial measuring the link between Apollo and HRV on 38 healthy people also found notable cognitive improvements. Participants performed better, with greater attention, and more efficiently on the task. The researchers concluded that the wearable supports entering the peak “flow state”.

Other biomarker improvements

As they continue carrying out studies, we’ll learn more about the wide-ranging benefits.

That 2021 study of elite athletes also found important improvements to other biomarkers:

  • Faster recovery as measured by their heart rate (HR) and systolic blood pressure (SBP)
  • Lower blood glucose after eating a high-carbohydrate meal
  • Longer performance consistency during intense workouts

Overall, these suggest that Apollo Neuro may be a potent addition to the toolbox of athletes and business people alike.

Apollo Neuro Review: My Impressions & Experience

Apollo Neuro Unboxing Manual

With an understanding of the science, I’ll now share my thoughts, experience, and results from using the Apollo Neuro technology.

Unboxing & Setup

The device arrived on my doorstep in a small, plain white box. Inside, I found a charging cord, a spare (large) band for those with especially big ankles and wrists, the device, and several infographics. In the era of sleek Apple product unboxings, Apollo’s came out disappointingly flat.

I immediately strapped it onto my wrist, only to discover that the wearable needed charging. When I plugged it in, a yellow LED came on. An hour and a half later, a green light indicated that I had full battery.

Battery life heavily depends on intensity level and how often you use it. I keep intensity in their stock settings (I’ll describe why later). When I’m using it constantly, I get a full day of life. On lighter occasions, I can easily get two days.

By the time I got my hands on my Apollo, I had already downloaded the iOS app (there’s also an Android app on the Google Play store) and created an account. I synced the wearable to my phone by clicking the raised-dot button and following the on-screen instructions. Setup took about 30 seconds in total.

Design & Appearance

The wearable is bigger than the Apple Watch and similar devices, presumably due to the proprietary vibration system inside. I expected the study feel of best-in-class sophisticated wearables, but it’s a bit less dense than I’d like.

Apollo comes in six different colorways:

  • Marine (white strap + platinum emblem)
  • Glacier (silver strap + platinum emblem)
  • Rose (white strap + bronze emblem)
  • Twilight (black strap + bronze emblem)
  • Silver (black strap + silver emblem)
  • Stealth (all black)

And you can grab additional black, white, or gray bands.

I got Glacier, and it arrived pre-fitted with the medium band, which nicely fit my ankle but barely on my wrist.

Apollo has a slight curve to it, helping it conform to the shape of these two body parts. Two buttons protrude from the chassis. One of which has a raised bump (helping you differentiate them). These buttons adjust the intensity of the vibrations.

Team Apollo recommends placing the chassis on the inner ankle or wrist, where gentle vibrational pulses best stimulate touch receptors.

I always wear it on my ankle since I already wear other health trackers on my wrists.

I’m conflicted about Apollo’s look.

On one hand, it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

On the other, I got the experience of wearing what must feel like a criminal’s GPS ankle tracker. I rarely get self-conscious, but I must admit that I cringe whenever I remember that I’m wearing the Apollo in public.

Build Quality

The team clearly prioritized R&D for their vibration system.

Apollo’s haptic engine feels a notch up from the others that I’ve tried, but not quite as crisp as my old Apple Watch.

When you try the different programs, you’ll notice that they each feel quite distinct. The rhythm, intensity, and cadence change dynamically throughout each program. Blind me and I’m sure that I could correctly match the pattern to its program name.

I’ve worn plenty of great wearables that come with terrible straps. Apollo made the smart choice of using neoprene and velcro. Resulting in a sturdy, flexible, and easily configurable connection.

Nothing interferes with the connection. I can walk, sprint, shower, and with peace of mind.

Apollo Neuro Review: The App

Apollo Neuro App Use & Features

Apollo’s app is incredibly simple and does the job, but could use some rethinking.

Pros of the app include…

Intuitive layout. New users can easily navigate the app and find the features they need.

Social gamification components improve healthy habit adoption. Frequent use builds streaks which result in improved stats, accolades, and badges. The Apollo team definitely has behavioral modification experience, and expertly implemented gamification features into their app.

Scheduling programs. You can create custom schedules to run specific programs at certain date/times, with pre-determined intensity and duration. This is EXTREMELY useful. I’ve automated my Apollo to perfectly conform to my calendar. If you want to change your schedule, you can easily toggle them off and on.

Cons of the app include…

Lacking info. Each of the programs contains a sentence or two of background, and a few use cases. To learn more you must scrutinize their website and reports from other users. I’d appreciate seeing many more uses, as well as tips to further improve the mode’s specific effects.

Favorite button. Though the device only contains seven modes, for some reason you can still select “favorites”. Clicking the heart icon makes them appear in the separate favorites tab. If their catalog included hundreds of modes, that’d be one thing. For now it seems like wasted engineering resources.

New modes. Related devices like the Hapbee are constantly releasing new programs (think MDMA, nicotine, cannabis, energy, etc). Apollo, however, hasn’t released any new modes that I’m aware of.

Connection speed. Maybe I’m out of line here, but I wish that it connected to my phone faster. It usually takes 7-10 seconds to sync. No big deal if you just run a few programs per day. But it adds up for those of us that like to make constant tweaks.

Charge notification. My other devices like the Oura Ring and Biostrap tell me once they’ve fully charged. A push notification reminds me to use the gadget. Apollo does not, and I sometimes accidentally leave it on the charger for hours.

Intensity reset. On occasion, I’ll change the intensity of a program for whatever reason. Whether showing it to someone else, or just wanting to test something different. Afterward, I don’t have any way of resetting intensity back to the default level.

How to Use the Apollo Neuro

You’ll figure the wearable out in no time.

After fully charging it, pair it to your phone. On your phone, login to your profile and get to the “Connecting to your Apollo” screen. Pair it by clicking the raised-dot button one time. Accept the pairing notification on your phone.

From the home page, click on the connected box at the top of the app. I recommend updating your firmware to capitalize on any battery or software improvements, as well as to install new modes (if they come). Click “My Apollo” and then “Firmware update” to begin.

For best results, you can wear the Apollo Neuro on the inside of either your ankle or wrist. I prefer my ankle since it stays more out of the way (and out of sight when wearing pants).

Using it is easy. Open the app, click your desired mode, change the intensity and duration as desired, then hit play. The mode will automatically play until either the timer expires or a scheduled program interrupts.

Here’s the thing…

Intricate micro-currents of electricity govern the body’s basic functions. Non-native electromagnetic fields (nn-EMFs) impede these signals, stress the body, and disrupt vital rebuilding processes that occur during sleep.

If you sleep with the Apollo (as recommended), I suggest you activate airplane mode first. This greatly reduces the emitted nn-EMFs.

No matter how effective the technology, I won’t use it at night if I can’t block wireless signals.

In the morning, you can take it out of airplane mode in two ways:

  1. Plug it in to the charger
  2. Hold down both physical buttons for five seconds

Then you can connect to it again as normal.

The Apollo Neuro Modes

Apollo Neuro Review: The Science & Effects of the Modes/Programs

Without the modes, this wearable is but a glorified paperweight.

As of my writing, Apollo comes with 7 different built-in modes. Each matches a natural oscillating pattern between our heart and our lungs when we deep breathe.

Subjectively, the calming modes feel like waves coming and going. Where the energizing modes resemble firm jolts.

I’ll describe each of the modes below, provide Apollo Neuro’s description, and add my own commentary. Each mode has its own minimum effective dose (MED) duration, intensity, and optimal uses.

Energy & Wake Up

Energy and Wake Up mode ranges 5-30 minutes, with a default intensity of 30 percent for 5 minutes. Typically used in the morning or for quick hits of energy.

It combines two frequency bands of vibration:

  1. Attention and wakefulness by elevating the heart rate
  2. Stress (physical and mental) recovery by increasing HRV

Uses for Apollo’s Energy & Wake Up:

  • Pre-workout
  • During meetings
  • Build healthy habits
  • Augment or replace coffee
  • Extra motivation after work

I love this one. On the occasion I wake up groggy and lethargic, Energy and Wake Up mode lifts the fog. It certainly doesn’t stimulate me like coffee, but perhaps the equivalent of a light jog. I also begin the 30-minute track 15 minutes before I start a workout to pump me up.

Even better…

If I needed a quick hit of energy in the evening, and didn’t have any nootropics with a short half-life, this mode would get me through without interfering with my sleep and recovery.

Meditation & Mindfulness

Meditation and Mindfulness mode ranges 15-60 minutes, with a default intensity of 35 percent. As the name suggests, this mode supports deepening consciousness. It does so by allowing the body and mind to relax and integrate.

It combines two frequency bands of vibration:

  • HRV boosting
  • Internal bodily awareness

Uses for Apollo’s Meditation and Mindfulness:

  • Soreness and tension relief
  • Enhancing meditation
  • Entering the “flow state”
  • Calming down quickly
  • Simulating meditation
  • Accessing intuition
  • Faster learning by forging new neural connections

I usually use this mode just once per day. For my morning meditation session. On high-pressure days, as a nootropic supplement alternative, I’ll sometimes do a second round in the late afternoon. I’ll also use this when I need a stronger “gut feel” on a decision.

Rebuild & Recover

Rebuild and Recover mode ranges 5-60 minutes, with a default intensity of 30 percent for 15 minutes. I use the mode whenever I’m feeling rundown or anticipating it.

It employs a single frequency band of vibration:

  • HRV boosting

This band normalizes our biomarkers (resting heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure) after an intense bout of exertion.

Uses for Apollo’s Rebuild and Recover:

  • Sick
  • Injured
  • Travel days
  • Long flights
  • Post-workout
  • After a large meal
  • Overcoming jet lag
  • Sleep enhancement
  • Feeling anxious or panicked

I enjoy the R & R mode, but I don’t find it as necessary as some of the others. I feel slightly less sore when I do a full 60-minute session post-workout. That said, it’s hard to attribute that solely to this device.

Clear & Focused

Clear and Focused mode ranges 15-60 minutes, with a default intensity of 20 percent for 30 minutes. Popular for getting work done.

It combines two frequency bands of vibration:

  1. Improving performance and HRV
  2. Lowering heart rate while stressed

Together, these bands support mental clarity while under pressure.

Uses for Apollo’s Clear and Focused:

  • Productivity
  • Creative work
  • Steady energy
  • Headache relief
  • Calming the mind
  • Household chores
  • Heads-down work
  • Preparing for sports
  • Inducing mental clarity
  • Alleviating mild nausea
  • Coherent presentations
  • Focus and concentration
  • Linear and logical thinking

When I track my total minutes spent on Apollo, I’ve spent far more in Clear and Focused mode than any other. It puts my mind in a good place, I spend less time fumbling for solutions, and get more done. Clear and Focused energizes without stimulating. I’m using it while I write this post.

Social & Open

Social and Open mode ranges 15-120 minutes, with a default intensity of 25 percent for 30 minutes. Most commonly used for socialization. It’s the equivalent of the Hapbee “booze” mode.

It combines three frequency bands of vibration:

  1. HRV and recovery boosting
  2. Increasing energy levels
  3. Inducing calmness

This trio relaxes, energizes, and supports you towards wanting to interact with others.

Uses for Apollo Social and Open:

  • Dates
  • Partying
  • Creative work
  • Boosting mood
  • Increases energy
  • Networking events
  • Deeper conversations
  • Induces feelings of calm
  • Social and group situations
  • Improving charm and charisma
  • Sales, negotiations, and leading

I flip on Social and Open when I’m meeting new people, interviewing someone on the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast, going out on the town, or want to contribute more to my social circle. I mainly use this one for podcasting, but sometimes it makes a nice alcohol replacement at dinner. That is, if we’re not drinking these better alcohol alternatives.

Relax & Unwind

Relax and Unwind mode ranges 15-60 minutes, with a default intensity of 40 percent for 30 minutes. It’s another vanilla recovery mode.

It combines two frequency bands of vibration:

  1. Parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system activation
  2. Improving HRV

As far as I can tell, this is just like the other recovery bands, with slightly greater sedation and power.

Uses for Apollo Meditation and Mindfulness:

  • Winding down
  • Deep relaxation
  • Relaxing during travel
  • Quieting racing thoughts
  • Calming the “monkey mind”
  • Augmenting sauna sessions
  • Rapid relief after acute stress

Sometimes I’ll use this one between dinner and bed. Other times I want to get more work done, so I’ll skip it. Going straight from Clear and Focused to Sleep and Renew mode. Relax and Unwind shines when you want to pull out the big guns to slow down.

Sleep & Renew

Sleep and Renew mode ranges 15-120 minutes, with a default intensity of 60 percent for 30 minutes. It’s gentle and promotes optimal sleep.

This one combines two frequency bands of vibration:

  1. Parasympathetic (rest and digest) activity
  2. Relaxation

Interestingly, Apollo doesn’t list improving HRV as a benefit of the Sleep mode.

Uses for Apollo Sleep and Renew:

  • Power napping
  • Quieting the mind
  • Before and during sleep
  • Improving dreaming
  • Enhancing deep sleep
  • Returning to sleep faster
  • Beating insomnia and falling asleep faster

With 60% intensity (or higher), this is the most powerful mode. Ironically, Apollo lists it as gentle. I’m a very light sleeper and I still easily sleep through this mode throughout the night. I have two 120-minute sessions scheduled every night. The first plays at 11 PM (one hour after I go to sleep), and again at 2 AM. I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

Optimizing My Biometrics With the Apollo (N=1 Data)

Apollo Neuro Consistently Increases HRV & Oura Ring Recovery Scores & Lowers Resting Heart Rate During Meditation
The Apollo Neuro increases my HRV on both my Garmin & Oura as well as deepens the health benefits (resting heart rate) of my meditations

The most unexpected part of my Apollo experiment was the quantifiable impact.

I track a lot of health and performance biomarkers:

  • Continuous glucose monitoring (read my NutriSense review) several times per year
  • Comprehensive blood panel (InsideTracker Ultimate review) biannually
  • Muse brainwave monitoring occasionally
  • Daily morning HRV readings
  • Oura Ring sleep & recovery data
  • Cognitive testing scores
  • Garmin Fenix fitness data

The most interesting and relevant insights come from my Garmin and Oura.

First, I use my Garmin to measure my HRV every morning at the same time, before I even get out of bed. Usually, it fluctuates based on my stress levels, training load, and other life factors. Averaging about 60ms and rarely peaking above 90ms.

Let’s consider the last two weeks of my consistent Apollo usage.

In 12 of those 14 days, my morning HRV score has exceeded 100ms.

See my article on the science of HRV to learn more about why this is MASSIVE.

My Oura Ring shows similarly impressive (and consistent) patterns of biomarker improvements:

  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Lower body temperature
  • Lower nocturnal breath rate
  • Fewer sleep disturbances
  • More deep sleep

I haven’t made any significant changes to my diet, stress, training, or lifestyle in this timeframe.

To be honest, I’ve been using the Apollo at least 8 hours per 24-hour cycle. But it’s passive and requires minimal intervention on my part.

Could this be a super compensatory pattern driven by living a hard-charging lifestyle without adequate rest?

Possibly.

At the same time, I don’t see any signs of regression.

So…

Does Apollo Neuro actually work?

If you’re expecting supersonic vibrations that’ll jolt you awake like coffee, or knock you out like Ambien, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Your mood won’t instantly flip at the press of a button. Should that exist, it’d definitely require a prescription.

Rather, I’d describe it as a mental primer to entering your ideal state.

I’d peg the strength of the effects at about a 3 out of 10. Noticeable—and a definite advantage—but not life-changing on its own.

Tips to Hack Your Apollo Neuro for Stronger Effects

New users quickly pick up on the intuitiveness and ease of use.

But the Apollo onboarding experience leaves room for optimization.

If you skip reading all the instructions or avoid spending countless hours testing, analyzing, and tweaking — you’re missing out.

Here are a few of my tips to get more out of your Apollo sessions…

Minimum vibration intensity. I often fall for the “more is better” fallacy. The strength of the vibrations does not correlate to the outcome or effects. Just like with the underlying technology, EFT, optimal response comes from the minimal effective intensity. You should barely feel the vibrations, and it certainly shouldn’t distract you. They recommend keeping most program intensities around 20-40 percent, and 40-80 percent for Sleep mode. Remember, the higher the vibration, the faster the battery drain. And a dead battery interrupts the most important variable.

Time is power. When chasing maximum effects, time—not intensity—makes the biggest difference. Extend the duration of the session.

Paired breathwork. For faster and more profound shifts of your internal state, practice delivered breath work during your sessions. Box breathing or 4-7-8 breathing to relax, Wim Hof to energize, or alternate nostril breathing to balance.

Good nootropics. When I have the right brain supplements alongside Clear and Focus mode, I get a synergistic 1+1=3 effect. Apollo takes the edge off the supplements, and these ingredients amplify my energy, motivation, and fluid thinking.

Neurostimulation apps. Software like Brain.FM (save 20% with code URBAN) can entrain your brain into certain brainwave frequencies. The Alpha tracks help you enter the hyper-productive flow state. When I use tools like this, I effortlessly immerse myself in work and finish well ahead of schedule.

Better with time. Unlike drugs, Apollo has a reverse tolerance. The more you use it, the better the benefits. Another excuse to make it part of your routine.

Buying the Apollo Neuro

Like other premium wearables, Apollo comes at a high price point.

Unfortunately, they do not accept FSA or insurance.

Apollo costs $350 (Outliyr fans can use code URBAN to save 10%), and it must come out of pocket. For a device without a screen, the price seems sharp. To be honest, it’s my biggest gripe.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth it and how it stacks up to competitors.

Of course, the overall value depends on your lifestyle, stress levels, and exact needs. This has become an indispensable tool for athletes and entrepreneurs. I’m starting to see why.

Apollo backs all purchases with a 60-day money-back guarantee. You have two full months to test and decide if it’s the right fit for you.

Should your budget not permit, you can always try EFT Tapping — the original practice that Apollo simulates. Just know that EFT Tapping takes time, energy, and consistency to work. Even then, I subjectively felt better after my EFT sessions, but my biomarkers hardly budged.

Apollo Neuro Alternatives

Today’s market is flooded with promising wearables for every imaginable use case.

I’ve gotten questions about lots of Apollo Neuro competitors:

  • Sensate
  • Cove
  • Doppel
  • Hapbee
  • Oura Ring
  • Muse
  • Apple Watch

Truth is, most of these devices serve different purposes. Some (like the Oura Ring and Muse) even compliment the Apollo.

But a few stack up similarly. If the Apollo Neuro is out of your budget, or you just want to research the alternatives, here are a few to consider.

Apollo vs Sensate 2

Sensate is an orb-like vagus nerve stimulator that causes a similar improvement in stress resilience. It works in a different manner. Sensate sits on your chest, and conducts sound through your chest bones (called “Infrasonic Resonance”), relaxing the nervous system. The app has a catalog of soundscapes that you play during your session, which slowly increases your HRV.

My concern with the Sensate 2 is that it takes dedicated practice. You must lay down, turn on the soundscape, and sit patiently for the duration of the session. With my Apollo, I carry on about my life — getting the benefits all day. Sensate would require me to carve out downtime to lay back and place their device on my chest. To me, the Sensate is mostly a £199 upgrade to my meditation sessions.

Apollo vs Cove

Cove is the most unique and best competitor to Apollo. Worn like an over-ear BlueTooth headset, Cove runs a micro-current of electricity to stimulate a specific part of the brain called the insula. This is the region that finds touch soothing. Cover has undergone several studies, and participants report significantly reduced stress, better sleep, and feeling more positive.

Unlike the other devices, Cove contains a clinical-grade heart rate monitor and other sensors. I’d like to test one for myself, but two things are stopping me. First, the design of the device makes it fragile. At a glance you can tell that it’s susceptible to breaks and damage. Second, the base device costs $490.

Apollo vs Touchpint

Touchpint is a newer device aiming to make stress reduction technology affordable. “BLAST” (Bi-lateral Alternating Stimulation Tactile) technology powers their system. Touchprint has several advantages. First, Touchpint features three vibration intensities. Second, you can apply it to your wrist, palms, socks, straps, belt, pockets, and inside other bands. Last, every purchaser gets a free consult with them. At $180, Touchpint is the most budget-friendly Apollo alternative.

From my own research, however, I’m not convinced that their technology compares to Apollo. The vibrational patterns are rudimentary, not backed by research, and less effective at altering your state.

Apollo vs Doppel

Doppel is a wrist-mounted wearable, resembling an analog watch. It creates a silent vibration that mimics a heartbeat. The slower rhythm helps the wearer calm, relax, and focus. One study in the Nature Scientific Reports showed impressive stress reduction effects in public speakers.

I see two glaring flaws with Doppel. First, it plays only a single fixed vibration. You can’t adjust it to elicit different states. Apollo is much more than a single vibration pattern. Secondly, users often complain about the build quality. Especially the strap, which notoriously breaks and doesn’t fit snugly. I wouldn’t spend the $219.00 on Doppel.

Apollo vs Hapbee

Both wearables claim to shift your state, but the similarities end there. Apollo uses proprietary haptic technology to capitalize on the scientifically validated benefits of touch therapy. Hapbee uses ultra-low radiofrequency energy technology (ulRFE) to generate magnetic fields that correspond to your desired state. Design-wise, Hapbee is a large necklace, and Apollo is a small wrist or ankle-strapped wearable. Hapbee also costs $399 for the device plus a $19 monthly membership.

Apollo Neuro Pros & Cons

Pros

Quickly shifts your state (energizes or relaxes)

Great haptic technology

Silent

Color options galore

Comfortable

Adjustable intensity & modes

Modern design starts conversations

Scheduling modes to play at certain times

Cons

Battery life lasts 1-2 days

Expensive

Bulky and larger than many devices

App has a 5-10 second lag to connect

Lacking low-battery push notifications

No screen or other advanced features

Apollo Review: The Hottest Stress & Recovery Hacking Tool?

Apollo Neuro Stress Biohacking Wearable: Is It Worth the Price?

I had low expectations for Apollo.

I already practice EFT (the same underlying mechanism) daily.

From thoroughly researching the health benefits of hugging and physical touch, I knew the science.

Could a device that emits a low-level vibration really revolutionize health, wellness, recovery, and performance as many of my podcast guests have personally experienced.

I figured that my ample physical human contact exempted me from Apollo’s glowing reviews.

I’ve struggled with sleep and recovery for most of my life. I’ve tried just about every sleep and recovery biohack. Few have made a big difference. I’ve also implemented tons of popular stress biohacks.

The Apollo team bet that they’d change my skeptical mind and provided me with a unit to test.

Boy was I wrong…

Immediately, my sleep and recovery scores shot up.

I woke up feeling refreshed.

As I felt better, I began using it more, which only further increased the effects. As much as I’ve enjoyed it…

In all honesty, the Apollo Neuro has kinks.

If you’re expecting a portal into emotional bliss, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The app and features all work as expected, but I hoping for an upgrade. It’s almost exactly what I’m looking for. I’d like to see more iterations, software updates, and new modes. For athletes, high-achieving, busy, Type-A folks, the Apollo Neuro is a powerful tool.

Ultimately, I see a future where major wearable brands incorporate this technology into their flagship products.

Until then, at $350 it’s not the first health and wellness wearable or tracker I’d buy. I generally recommend people start with something like the Biostrap to track (and optimize) their biometrics.

But for those already with the basics in place, or looking for an edge. To get more done, faster, the Apollo Neuro is a great investment.

Over 1,127 folks on their website alone have had similarly impressive experiences.

Are you an Apollo Neuro user? I’d love to hear your comparison and experience in the comments below!

Nick Urban

Nick Urban is the Founder of Outliyr, an expert biohacker of 10+ years, Data Scientist, Certified CHEK Practitioner, host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast, and a High-Performance Coach.

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4 thoughts on “Apollo Neuro Honest Review [2022]: Ultimate Tool to Hack Your Biological Stress?”

  1. Since you didn’t get a ton out of this, do they advertise this more for people who don’t get much physical touch? I do not at all so was wondering if this would be maybe the best avenue to get physical touch benefits.

    Reply
    • Hey Andrew, I actually did get a lot out of it. So far it has greatly surpassed my expectations. I think it’s a great idea to get many (but not all) of the benefits of physical touch.

      Reply
  2. Hi Nick:
    A very interesting and complete review. I am very interested In this device to help with anxiety issues I’ve had most of my life and sleep too. Memory or foggy brain help would be welcome. I take medications that may cause this but overall this type of device I am sure doesn’t conflict with medications I take.
    Have you heard any info on battery life as I hear it may only last a couple of years, then what are the batteries replaceable it not?
    Like you say a little pricey especially if you live in Canada ( add on another 150) but if it could help relieve what I want to use it for it would be a god send and hope it lasts more than 2 years , take care and stay safe

    Reply
    • I would imagine that it doesn’t conflict with any medications.

      Battery is not replaceable and will last 2 years if taken care of.

      Another $150? Ouch! You do have a 1 year warranty. I hope this device, or something else, helps.

      Reply

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