Modern living largely consists of globally ever-increasing stress and decreasing personal resiliency.
Resulting in sub-optimal performance, frailty, and eventually, chronic sickness.
What if you could become bulletproof against the ravages of stress? To teach your body to thrive under increasing pressure.
When your body relaxes, your athleticism and cognitive performance improve.
To get you there, stress management coaches typically charge north of $100 per hour.
We’re in the golden era of technology. One company, in particular, is helping today’s leaders control their biology to best adapt to any situation. Their platform tracks your real-time heart rate variability and other biomarkers of resilience, designs your ideal custom protocol, and notifies you throughout the day when your performance begins to slip.
That brand is called Hanu Health. I’ve been testing their HRV optimization platform for several months now, and it’s becoming the best HRV biofeedback training system on Earth. In this post, I’m reviewing Hanu Health’s heart rate variability optimization platform to help you determine if it’s the tool you’ve been looking for. Stick around to the end for my final verdict and a special early adopter Hanu discount.
In a hurry?
Use the exclusive Hanu code URBAN for 40% off
Why Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Matters
Heart rate variability is a bio2metric reflecting the varying time interval between heartbeats. More variability indicates a healthier and better regulated nervous system. HRV is more than the latest biohackers’ biometric obsession. It’s one of the best non-invasive windows into the current performance of our nervous system, brain, and body.
There’s an intricate link between the brain, gut, and heart. According to research performed by the HeartMath institute, the heart actually registers information slightly ahead of the brain. Additionally, the heart’s electromagnetic field is 1,000-fold more powerful than the brain’s. Lastly, there’s a strong correlation between brain state and heart rate variability status.
An optimized HRV facilitates:
- Mental clarity
- Easy introspection
- Optimistic mood
- Stress resilience
- Deeper meditations
- Peak athleticism
- Flow state
The world’s elite performers have something in common. An immense ability to perform under pressure (stress).
It’s not purely a genetic trait but usually requires active practice. Wondering how?
This guide explains how to do HRV biofeedback training.
Unfortunately, you will need gear.
There’s a huge difference between many so-called HRV trainers though.
Passive vs Active HRV Biofeedback Training
There are two types of HRV-measuring devices:
Passive HRV monitors track your heart rate variability for a specific period of time. At the end of your session, they display your results (usually on a graph). You then draw your own inferences about what led to the visible changes.
Passive tracking is good, but there’s a better type.
Active HRV tracking is a true form of biofeedback since you see your LIVE, real-time heart rate variability throughout the session. Therefore, you know exactly what’s causing your score to spike or plummet. You can test different strategies and see the results.
Even if you have the Oura Ring, Biostrap, Whoop, or other devices capable of measuring HRV “snapshots”, you’ll want a dedicated device.
Quality active HRV systems give unparalleled accuracy, use specifically engineered algorithms, and help you actually USE your data to make better decisions.
My clients are initially excited to see their HRV scores changing via a passive tracker like the Oura ring. They quickly lose interest because Oura cannot help them translate those scores into real lifestyle changes.
That’s where Hanu comes in.
What is Hanu Health?
Hanu Health is a state-of-the-art HRV biofeedback operating system designed to boost your stress resilience and cognitive performance. They provide clinical-grade accuracy and simple assessments useful to those ranging from absolute beginners to daily HRV optimizers. Hanu shows your data in real time and helps you actually use your results to level up your biology.
I’ve tried many of the best heart rate variability biofeedback systems on Earth. Hanu Health is the most effective and modern. Founded by V. Chris Holbrook and Dr. Jay T Wiles, their Scientific Advisory Board contains some of the top biofeedback experts and big names in wellness including:
- Ben Greenfield
- Ben Pakulski
- Patrick Mckeown
- Paul Lehrer, Ph.D., Bcb
I joined early as a beta tester, and they sent me a device to test and help them improve. For the last few months, I’ve been using this daily to track the biological impact of healthy living practices like movement, ice baths, sauna, meal timing, sound and nature therapy, and much more.
Before I use any product that puts my health biometric data in the hands of others, I always look for their retention, privacy, and sharing policies. Hanu has pledged to keep user data private and only retain the minimum necessary.
This post is not sponsored. After trying and liking the product, I became an affiliate, and in turn, got the special URBAN discount code to share with you.
Now, I’ll share my experience having logged hundreds of hours of Hanu usage.
My Experience Training HRV With Hanu Health
Hanu’s HRV system consists of hardware (currently the Polar H10) and their app.
They chose the Polar H10 chest strap because it’s the industry standard. Renowned for its outstanding accuracy, affordability, and ease of use.
Several days after receiving a shipping confirmation email, I awoke to a small brown box on my doorstep.
The sleek Apple-like unboxing revealed a new Polar H10, a simple instructional manual, and some Hanu swag.
Hanu currently supports iOS only but also plans to release an Android app soon.
Although the Polar H10 is an older device, setting it up was a bit confusing. First, you’ll need one of those tiny disc-shaped CR2025 batteries (which lasts 400 hours of use). It shuts down when it doesn’t detect a heartbeat, so to connect and sync, you must WEAR the device.
Setup from there was a snap, just scan the QR code and pair via BlueTooth.
During the account creation process, you answer a few basic questions to help them tailor the algorithms to match your specific goals and biology.
Some useful tech specs to know include about the H10:
- 400-hour battery life
- Waterproof up to 30 meters
I got a 10-pack of the batteries on Amazon for about $5.50. One battery lasted me over a month with 10+ hours of daily use. For the sustainability-focused, you could also use a rechargeable battery. Compared to the battery of modern wearables like the Apple Watch, Oura ring, Whoop, Biostrap, or even my Garmin smartwatch. All of which only last a few days at best. The Polar’s 400-hour battery life is worth every penny of the $0.60 per month.
Another bonus is that the Polar can pair with multiple devices and other apps. I paired mine with my Garmin Fenix smartwatch and enjoyed vastly more accurate intra-workout cardio metrics.
In the future, they plan to support other wearables (hardware) and software (apps).
There’s no web app dashboard yet, so for now, all your HRV tracking takes place within their rapidly evolving app.
Key benefits of Hanu’s HRV operating system
From the moment I logged in, I saw that Hanu is a different HRV system.
The only other continuous HRV monitor I’ve come across is made by Lief Therapeutics. It’s expensive, not removable, disposable, and offers few features. Lief is geared more toward clinicians.
While browsing through the Hanu app, I noticed two tests that caught my eye:
- Resonance Frequency Breath Assessment
- BOLT Score
Every human has a particular breath rate (pace of inhalation and exhalation) that optimizes your nervous system and HRV score. Your particular rate persists throughout your lifetime. This is called your Resonant Frequency Breath Rate and Hanu uses it to customize your training sessions.
BOLT Score (Body Oxygen Level Test), is a breathing assessment coined by a renowned breathwork specialist named Patrick McKeown. It measures the capacity of your breathing volume. By regularly training with Hanu, you should see your score improve.
Other powerful Hanu features include:
- Stress Resiliency Score helps you understand your body’s readiness to handle stressors
- Threshold analysis detects HR and HRV abnormalities
- Historical data tracking to understand your progress over time
- “Life Events” help you identify stressful events and pattern
- Growing library of breathwork training exercises and assessments to continually improve
What I’m looking forward to most, however, is a more robust Life Events feature. So that I get an alert when emails or distractions slip me into a reactive beta-brainwave dominant state. A few breaths at my resonant frequency later, and I’m back into productivity. Accomplishing something similar to neurofeedback.
Since I’ve been using it daily for months now, I’ve started to uncover certain things that
Factors That Impacted My HRV
The more I track and work on improving my HRV, the clearer the patterns.
Both healthy and unhealthy lifestyle habits and substances often plummet my scores in the short term.
Only healthy things cause a large rebound effect. Later leading to a net increase in HRV.
Because of the time lag, and confounding activities with altered breathing patterns, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact net effects of each. Nevertheless, these are the trends I am noticing from my repeated experiments.
What increased my HRV
Proper breathing. Deliberate breathwork produces a rapid and immense HRV spike. I do this with a simple technique. Breathing long 4-6 second, deep diaphragmatic breaths and exhaling for longer than I inhale. Ensuring that I have proper posture throughout the day opens my chest and allows me to breathe properly through my nose.
Meditation. I practice various forms of meditation, and virtually all of them improved HRV. Yes, many use conscious breathing as the “anchor” to focus on, but not all. My HRV score seems to remain highest throughout the day and rebound fastest (from other stressors) when I meditate for at least 20 minutes.
Light walking. Initially, when I stand up and walk around, my HRV drops. After about five minutes of low effort, though, it increases back to baseline. No amount of walking increases it too far above baseline though. I continue anyway because walking is incredibly beneficial.
Happy mood. Anything I can do to shift my state and feel happy consistently dramatically boosts HRV. Even just celebrating my “micro-wins”/task accomplishments throughout the day produced the spike. Hapbee (review) and Infopathy (review) neurowearable devices also registered tiny but visible increases.
Cold exposure. After my usual 3-5 minute ice bath soak, I saw my HRV plummet. A few hours later, however, it rose above baseline. On days I exceeded 7-minutes, I saw less rebound.
Apollo Neuro. This is one of few wearables that actively stimulate HRV. It does so via haptic technology (a fancy term for vibration at specific frequencies and rhythms). Fifteen minutes after activating recovery mode, Apollo causes a large HRV spike. I was extremely skeptical about Apollo until I thoroughly tested it myself. Learn more in my Apollo Neuro review.
What decreased My HRV
Workouts. Most of my workouts consist of strength training, light jogging, “rucking”, HIRT, and occasionally sprinting (here is a guide on sprinting, its benefits, and how it works). Virtually all of these destroyed my scores for many hours. Active recovery “working in” movements, however, had an immediate beneficial HRV rebound when I stopped.
Mouth breathing. Even at normal breath rates, when I switched from nose breathing to mouth breathing I immediately saw the consequences. HRV dropped fast. The other breathwork practice that negatively impacted my scores was the technique of alternate nostril breathing but only when I breathed exclusively through my right nostril.
Nootropics. When I took Nootopia (my review explains why it’s the best brain-boosting product), about 45-minutes later I noticed HRV dropping. Some formulas, however, had the opposite effect. GABA-based nootropics, on the other hand, improved my HRV.
Coffee. As you’d expect with sympathetic “fight-or-flight” activating stimulants, Nick Urban’s Outliyr Coffee reduced my HRV. For hours. Modafinil and other classic stimulants all had the same effect.
Deep work. When I really want to focus, I plug my headphones in, drop into the zone using Brain.fm technology (review), and tune out my surroundings. This comes at the cost of a sustained HRV dip. Interestingly, if I do either (work or Brainfm) by itself, my score doesn’t fluctuate.
Sedentary time. Strangely, on the days I’m inactive, my scores worsen. I still toggle between seated, standing, and other positions, but my body doesn’t react well to long bouts of motionlessness.
Sauna. I expected that I’d react similarly to the cold plunge from this heat exposure, but 20-minutes at 185 degrees inside my traditional sauna crushes my HRV for most of the day. I have a feeling this might change now that the weather has cooled off. Perhaps it could have been due to dehydration.
Meetings. Meetings, but not the podcast interviews I conduct, hurt my HRV. I suspect that’s because my guests do most of the talking during podcasts, and I lead team meetings (and thus do a lot more talking).
Hanu Health Pricing
Hanu retails for $299.
That price will include the Polar H10 device as well as access to the app for twelve months. Currently, after twelve months a $19 monthly membership will maintain your access to the app.
I don’t love subscription models. As of this writing, the only other continuous HRV biofeedback system (Lief) charges $99 per month — and from the beginning. I hope the pricing model will change at some point.
For a limited time, however, Hanu is offering you 40 percent off the $299. That’s a perk of being an early adopter! Using code URBAN will bring your total down to about $180. Making it more affordable than similar heart rate variability biofeedback tools. Hanu accepts credit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.
Should you not love your Hanu, you have 30-days from the shipping date to request a return.
Hanu Health Verdict: Is This HRV System Worth It?
Heart rate variability has become one of the hottest health and performance biomarkers of the last decade.
The interval between each heartbeat contains a gold mine of biological information.
This non-invasive metric provides the status of your nervous system. Thus, informing your ability to excel at sports (or workouts), or perform cognitively.
Perhaps more important, however, is what we can do with that information. Most systems tell your score after you finish measuring.
To gain actionable insight, you want an active HRV biofeedback system.
That’s how you build your personal resilience against stress.
The key difference between elite performers and everyone else isn’t how hard they can push.
It’s how they respond to adversity. Physically, mentally, and Outliyrften overlooked, emotionally.
You can train stress resiliency on your own. Without any tech.
But a quality system can:
- Dramatically speed up the process
- Make your training more effective
- Catch you when you’re most unaware (email apnea is real)
I especially like using devices for that last one. Bringing your awareness to unconscious patterns helps you reprogram subconscious behaviors.
I’ve tried a bunch of different HRV wearables. Very few offer continuous HRV monitoring. None come close to Hanu. The accuracy, informational content, program customization, and actionable insights put it in its own league.
If this sounds interesting, I suggest you use code URBAN to capitalize on their limited-time 40% off promo pricing.
But I am curious…
Do you practice HRV biofeedback training? Let me know your thoughts and experience in the comments below!
Hanu Health HRV Biofeedback
Heart rate variability biofeedback is powerful. Continuous HRV devices show real-time HRV & give actionable insights. This review explores Hanu Health's system.
- Extremely accurate
- Actionable HRV insights
- Plans to support other hardware & software/apps
- Data privacy and security
- Knowledgable team
- Great support
- 400-hour battery life
- Waterproof up to 30M
- Pairs to multiple devices
- Low HRV alerts
- No Android app (yet)
- No web app dashboard (yet)
- Beta test had glitches