With my eye mask on, and noise-canceling headphones in, I gently applied a proprietary “biosignal processing disc” to my left wrist and skeptically wondered…
Can NuCalm neuro technology really deliver what it claims?
On-demand, near-instant, rejuvenation equivalent to 2-3 hours of sleep, but in just 20 minutes?
Welcome to the futuristic world of “digital drugs. Powerful effects without the side effects, delay, and harsh biological consequences.
If this system lived up to its hype, I could slip away for a 30-minute mid-day power “nap” and return to the latter half of my day fully restored. After all, experts agree that sleep is a prerequisite for long-term high performance.
I now use it several times per day and will share my full NuCalm experience. The science, technology, benefits, and whether this seemingly magic system really delivers regeneration at the push of a button.
What is NuCalm
NuCalm is a system originally designed 30+ years ago by Dr. Blake Holloway and a neurotherapeutics company called Solace Lifesciences Inc. They developed NuCalm as a safe, narcotic-free technology to treat patients with acute post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Their goal is to design therapies to rebalance the body and mind and help humans perform at their highest potential.
Then, Dan Selene brought his 40+ years of experience in music production and sound design to level transform NuCalm into the most advanced neuro-audio technology on Earth. Today, NuCalm is run by Solace Lifesciences President and CEO James (Jim) Poole.
Basically, NuCalm is a patented super brain music paired with a few other gadgets. Several notches above standard binaural beats or isochronic tones.
As good scientists do, they’ve continued discovering, inventing, developing, testing, refining, and releasing NuCalm upgrades. Transforming it into “the most sophisticated, powerful, and predictable neuroacoustic software in the world”.
Our minds are more powerful than the most advanced supercomputer. Outsmarting it to achieve any desired effects at the click of a button is no small feat and requires a hefty dose of humility.
In 2009, they brought NuCalm to the medical industry with amazing success:
- 2M+ dental surgeries without a single reported adverse reaction
- Thousands of dentists replaced IV sedation, oral conscious sedation, and nitrous oxide use with NuCalm
- 98% of dental patients surveyed would recommend NuCalm to friends and family (7,144+ subjects so far)
They have an impressive lineup of testimonials on their website too.
NuCalm has become a tool of choice for all kinds of peak performers:
- Tony Robbins
- Diana Wentworth
- Robbie Balenger
- Ben Greenfield
- Luke Storey
Since then, they’ve managed to make the device simple, user-friendly, and highly portable.
How NuCalm Works
At its core, it works quite simply.
NuCalm interrupts the stress response. By rebalancing and strengthening the autonomic nervous system, the heart-brain axis nourishes our mental health and performance.
For a system designed by a neuroscience company, I expected something quite complicated. With a full array of dials, knobs, and switches. Nope.
There are just two main components to NuCalm:
- Audio technology
- “Biosignal Discs”
The audio comes from the NuCalm app installed on your smartphone.
The Biosignal Discs prime your nervous system to rapidly enter a regenerative state.
In addition to the primary two components, certain modes also work best when paired with a few other things, which we’ll cover later.
NuCalm’s audio technology
People often dismiss NuCalm as “just binaural beats”. But as someone that’s listened to hundreds of hours of binaural beats and isochronic tones, this is different. Binaural beats stop working after you listen a few times and your brain adapts. NuCalm works consistently, the mechanism through which is likely patented. Isochronic tones are better but sound terrible and still not as powerful.
Our brains form trillions of connections between cells. They send messages to each other using electrical and chemical signals. Large-scale coordinated communication generates what’s called a brain wave. To simplify, the more often these messages occur, the more mind and body stimulating.
When designing the audio, Dr. Holloway focused on four areas of the mind:
- Reticular activating system
- Corpus callosum
- HPA axis
- Autonomic nervous system
This is where Dr. Holloway collaborated with Dan Selene to evoke targeted electrical changes at key brain regions that regulate cognition. Resulting in powerful neurobiofeedback. As Dan puts it, “The advanced neurobiofeedback neuroacoustic software files developed by Dr. Holloway contain the most sophisticated algorithms and frequency matrix I have ever worked with”.
While these two were the dynamic duo, they had an army of composers, musicians, audio engineers, lawyers, and licensing specialists to help them meticulously craft each music segment to deliver the maximum power as fast as possible.
So while technically NuCalm uses isochronic tones, this audio is in a league of its own and continues to work long after most become useless.
NuCalm’s Biosignal Processing Discs
The other component of NuCalm is settling the nervous system (shifting from a sympathetic “fight-or-flight” to a parasympathetic “rest-and-digest” state). Older versions of the system used a dietary supplement called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and considered a “chill” supplement. This worked, but it required precise timing and came with some side effects. I’m not exactly looking to unwind for a bunch of hours in the middle of the workday.
NuCalm pivoted to using these mysterious Biosignal Discs. Theoretically, these work by infusing the body’s energetic Pericardium Meridian with the electromagnetic frequencies of GABA and other inhibitory substances.
It goes just above the left wrist and sends a relaxation signal to your brain. This works as a biomimetic, shutting down the stress response produced by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
Together with sensory deprivation, the discs induce parasympathetic nervous system dominance. Temporarily blocking down the stress and anxiety response.
Sadly, the discs are not reusable. Though from my own experience, they’re not entirely necessary either.
Though mostly used for recovery, the NuCalm system features multiple different modes to amplify particular brain states.
The mode we choose either elevates or relaxes our state.
Slow-wave dominant states (delta, alpha, and theta) are more restorative, while fast-wave states (beta and gamma) are associated with optimal performance.
NuCalm offers different modes based on your desired state, current situation, and free time.
Note that Rescue, Recharge, Recharge 20, and Reboot are available in the standard NuCalm plan, the others require Premium.
Rescue is NuCalm’s original mode, designed to drop you into the deepest possible recovery and restoration.
This one is alpha and theta (12Hz – 4Hz) dominant. The same realm as late-night, dreaming sleep and deep meditation. The shortest time available, however, is 30 minutes. I use this most mornings before getting out of bed, especially when I am sleep deprived.
Rescue requires all gear (app, biosignal processing disc, eye mask).
Reboot is a newer mode, used to induce creativity, calm, and relaxation.
This one keeps you in an alpha (12Hz – 7.83Hz) dominant state.
It’s considered an option for advanced users, so I haven’t played around with it much yet. If I have this much time free, I’d prefer to go for the full Rescue. If not, I’ll do a Recharge. So I don’t see much use for it.
Reboot requires all gear (app, biosignal processing disc, eye mask).
Recharge & Recharge 20
Recharge is my go-to mode for the mid-day slump, to balance the 7 energy centers/chakras, boost energy, and recover in minimal time, aptly described as the “ultimate power nap”.
This one is both alpha and theta (12Hz – 4Hz) dominant.
I like that the shortest setting is just 20 minutes, making it accessible virtually every day.
Recharge requires all gear (app, biosignal processing disc, eye mask), but I find it works great without the discs.
Focus is described as the mode for clarity, concentration, and comprehension.
This one induces a beta (20Hz – 15Hz) dominant state, making it ideal for all kinds of work. It’s suitable for frequent use, whereas Ignite (described below) shouldn’t. It’s a newer mode, released in mid-2022.
The available timing range significantly, and I most often use the 47-minute track. I am actually listening to it right now while I work.
Focus only requires the app.
Ignite is the mode for high-intensity, peak physical and mental performance, mistake-free focus, and to reliably enter the “flow state”.
This one induces gamma (41Hz – 39Hz) brain waves, a band associated with world-class performers. Learning to naturally enter the gamma-dominant state often takes decades, and most people never reach it.
NuCalm warns not to exceed 60 minutes per day (to avoid adrenal exhaustion) or to use Ignite too close to bedtime.
Of course, this is my favorite mode and the strongest audio technology I’ve used by a mile (and I’ve tested lots). I generally use it for about 60 minutes per day.
Ignite just requires the app (and discipline not to exceed 60 minutes per day).
DEEP SLEEP is the final mode, used to downregulate the nervous system for full recovery and rest without drugs or side effects.
This one induces delta (4Hz – 0.5Hz) brain waves, which are profoundly sedating. So it should only be used before bed.
I really like DEEP SLEEP, as it nicely compliments my wind-down routine and helps me transition more effectively than any supplement, and I’ve tried just about everything to biohack my sleep.
DEEP SLEEP just requires the app. You can even play it through speakers. It has two durations, 50 minutes and 8 hours.
Health Benefits & Use Cases of NuCalm
What started out as a niche solution has branched out and gained mass adoption.
People now use NuCalm for all kinds of things:
- Sleep quality enhancement
- Power napping
- Relieving anxiety
- Accelerating workout recovery
- Athletic performance
- Alleviating pain without narcotics
- Deepening meditation
- Shift work
- Slowing biological aging
- Easing addictions
- Lifting stress
- Rapid and painless transitions throughout the day
Although we can naturally shift our mental state, the process takes time and effort. The NuCalm system accelerates the process while simultaneously unlocking higher levels of functioning.
How to Use NuCalm
Now, to demystify the entire NuCalm experience.
I was a bit intimidated as I awaited the arrival of my order, but it’s actually all quite simple.
Step 1: Apply Biosignal Disc
For most regenerative modes, NuCalm recommends applying the Biosignal Processing Disc.
As mentioned earlier, you take one disc out of the EMF-blocking faraday bag and apply it just above your left wrist.
I don’t think this is as necessary first thing in the morning. At this time, we’re awakening from an alpha, delta, and theta-dominant state.
Step 2: Open NuCalm app
Next, if you haven’t already downloaded their app, do that and create an account.
After going through the onboarding, you’ll select your desired mode and the appropriate duration.
Some modes have mode options and durations available than others.
Step 3: Prepare for session
Depending on the mode you selected, you may want your eye mask.
For the performance-based modes, you’ll just want high-quality headphones or earphones. I find that headphones work better than earphones.
You can download the modes for offline use, which I recommend. That way, you can put your phone on airplane mode and avoid damaging non-native electromagnetic radiation.
Relax and hit the start button.
Step 4: Enjoy your experience
With few exceptions, there are no words during NuCalm sessions.
You just sit back and enjoy. Let your mind wander. Notice the way you feel. I find that the effects amplify when I focus on the way I physically feel, rather than observe my thoughts as I do during meditations.
That said, it does intensify unguided meditations too, making it easier and faster to reach deep states.
It’s completely normal to lose track of time.
NuCalm can play a soft chime at the end of your session to gently bring you back.
Step 5: Notice after effects
People also respond differently to certain brain wave frequencies.
Some people feel more restored from pure alpha frequencies, while others prefer modes that combine alpha and theta frequencies.
I suggest logging your before and after states along with the mode you used each time. Until you get the hang of it.
Regardless of the mode you choose, the effects persist. You’ll continue to enjoy the benefits for hours after use. If you have wearable biohacking devices, I suggest using them to quantify your NuCalm experience. I see huge improvements on my Hanu Health continuous HRV monitor.
Ultimately, this will help you determine if NuCalm is worth it for you.
My Real Experience Using NuClam
I’ve been testing all the neuroaudio technologies I can find, so I gladly accepted when the NuCalm team offered to send me a system for an unbiased review.
I told some friends about the upcoming trial, and they asked some variation of, “well, is NuCalm a hoax”? From my own testing and talking to other regular users, no. NuCalm Ignite mode, for example, feels stronger than most of the supplements & nootropics I take (including caffeine).
The NuCalm envelope arrived in the mail, surprisingly small and lightweight. Inside, I found the biosignal discs, an eye mask, a carrying case, and written instructions.
Before glancing at the instructions, I immediately downloaded the NuCalm app and created an account. The app icon and UI certainly look outdated, but I had no issue finding my way around. I remained hopeful about the technology.
My main complaint is that the audio player only has to stop and restart buttons! Where is pause? I’d also like the ability to rewind.
Overall, these are minor complaints.
What NuCalm feels like
All NuCalm modes result in increased well-being and performance.
When I finish restorative sessions, I generally feel lighter but also slightly groggy for a few minutes. As I get back into the day, my physical and mental energy lift. More than the energy boost is the increased stamina. I can go for longer, with deeper focus and making fewer mistakes. My motivation stays higher. Ultimately, I am more effective.
Recharge 20 mode. As previously instructed by other users, I began here. This is the regenerative mode with the highest return on the time (R.O.T).
I used it first thing in the morning, so I capitalized on my natural alpha and theta dominant brain state and saved the biosignal discs for later.
I did my normal self-guided meditation while the app pumped out relaxing and semi-familiar yet distinct audio.
I shifted my focus from the nuances of the music to my body to both simultaneously. The session itself felt dream-like. I didn’t feel fully conscious, nor did I feel asleep. Almost like the delirious state in the middle of the night when something wakes you from a dream.
The session fades between what I can best describe as multiple different audio scenes, likely one for each energy center.
Rescue mode felt similar, but progressed slower and with a deeper sound. It felt more restorative, a bodily regenerative state. Recharge, on the other hand, also improved creativity, abstract thinking, and pattern recognition.
I emerged from both modes feeling slightly drowsy until I stood up. Then I’d best describe my state as crisp. Completely recharged and ready to take on the day, without any overt stimulation (which can also result in jitters and anxiety).
I now use Rescue every night I sleep <7 hours, and fairly consistently duck away for a quick mid-day Recharge 20.
DEEP SLEEP mode surprised me. This is the only mode that doesn’t require headphones or earphones. A speaker suffices. There are a bunch of different options, and I used their rain track as a replacement during my wind-down routine. I also used this on the occasions I woke up with my mind racing and couldn’t get back to sleep.
Reliably, regardless of what I was doing, in as little as 4 minutes, DEEP SLEEP shifts my mind into drowsiness and relaxation. Sometimes, I fell asleep long before I planned to, without any of my usual sleep supplement stack.
Ignite mode. As predicted, this is by far my favorite. It’s the ultimate digital pre-workout and nootropic. In less than three minutes, my body feels switched ON. Way stronger than a cup or two of coffee. This one surprised me the most. The first time I used it, I felt a major urge to go on a run. And I hate running. Ignite is my go-to performance enhancer now. I highly recommend the explicit Certainty motivational audio track.
Gamma is an incredible brain state. It’s addicting and can be depleting if not balanced with parasympathetic recovery. I only allow myself to use it after a recharge session.
Focus mode. Although nowhere near as profound as Ignite, Focus is sustainable and good for the workday. I didn’t even test this mode for the first week or so. I’d say it favorably rivals the other neuromusic company which I reviewed called Brain.fm. Focus definitely improves my productivity.
The performance modes, however, start kicking in instantly.
NuCalm effects quantified
With audio, you never know how it’s actually influencing your electromagnetobiochemistry above baseline.
That’s why I turn to self-quantification devices to compare my response against Spotify or a productivity playlist.
I notice that NuCalming dramatically impacts multiple biomarkers:
- Normalizing heart rate
- Increasing heart rate variability
- Decreased Garmin “stress” scores
- Slight improvements in continuous blood glucose
Performance modes increase my heart rate and blood glucose (likely due to the sympathetic nervous system activation). But unlike stimulants, they also increase HRV.
Both the recovery and performance modes significantly boost HRV.
I pre-ordered a Sens.ai neurofeedback system, so I will report back on the real-time brain wave shifts I see from using this.
NuCalm Pricing & Discount
The biggest flaw with NuCalm is its price.
While accessible to the world’s elite performers willing to spend on the tools that will give them an advantage, NuCalm is expensive.
It’s not some run-of-the-mill software or Amazon neurohacking product.
For consumers, there are basically two plans, both massively discounted when purchased annually.
|Subscription Duration||1-month/1-year||1-month/1-year||5-years||2-year commercial (unlimited access) software license|
|Biosignal Processing Discs||10/120||10/120||200||400|
|DEEP SLEEP Access||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Premium Eye Mask||1||1||2||50|
|Travel Case||1||1||Travel case + Eddie Bauer travel bag||Travel case + travel bag|
|Bonuses||–||–||Private mastermind community, “A New Calm” book, affiliation invite, early access to new tech & products||Premium Curva Lounger chair, “A New Calm” book, affiliation invite|
|Subscription Cost (Annual, Monthly)||$499.90 /yr or $49.99 /mo||$1,299.90 /yr or $129.99 /mo||$3,495||$8,495|
International customers only have the above annual options.
No matter what you choose, NuCalm isn’t cheap.
To make it more accessible to Outliyrs like you, they’re offering my audience a limited-time exclusive discount of 10% when you use the code NU10-OFF.
Then if it doesn’t exceed your expectations, capitalize on their 30-day full money-back guarantee.
NuCalm vs Alternatives
After the sticker shock of the price of NuCalm, you may be curious about how it compares to others.
There are only two systems I’d consider NuCalm alternatives. One of software, and the other is both hardware and software.
Brain.fm (read my review). This web app (and mobile app) contains a vast library of audio scientifically proven to help you enter desired states on command. Before NuCalm, I used this service all day, every day. Deep Work throughout the day, and Sleep mode before bed. An entire year of Brainfm is about the same price as a month of NuCalm, the catch being it’s about 1/4 – 1/3 as powerful.
Brain.fm is ideal for those on a tight budget and who don’t mind weaker effects.
BrainTap. One of the hottest new all-in-one systems on the market, BrainTap combines multiple modalities to effectively entrain desired brain states. They’ve scientifically engineered audio with precision lighting. You wear a futuristic helmet, choose from one of many presets, and move into your ideal mentality. BrainTap is regularly used in clinical research, works awesome, and is one of the most commonly recommended systems these days. The main problem is the helmet itself costs about $550 and requires a monthly subscription that’s about half the price of NuCalm.
BrainTap is best over the long-term, as the monthly fee is much cheaper and the system itself is quite powerful.
I’m sure there are a lot of other NuCalm substitutes, but these are the two I found most similar.
NuCalm Questions & Answers
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about NuCalm, and here are a few of the most common.
Does NuCalm actually work?
Although I was skeptical, after 100+ uses and countless hours, I’ve determined that NuCalm works and is quite powerful. I’ve found the effects from performance modes feel stronger than caffeine and DEEP SLEEP mode works between than pills.
Is NuCalm anti-aging?
NuCalm helps slow the aging process by shifting the brain into stress-free “repair” mode. Activating regenerative pathways throughout the body and mind. It’s a useful tool for increasing healthspan in minimal time.
Is NuCalm FDA-approved?
NuCalm is FDA-approved. It’s approved for combatting stress and as an effective drug-free approach to handling pain.
NuCalm Review: Final Verdict
Theoretically, the NuCalm system is quite simple.
You use the system to disable your sympathetic stress response.
Solving stress improves:
- Sports performance
- Biological aging
- Mood issues
- Trauma and PTSD
Then through modern technology, you rapidly drop into the deepest possible restorative state. Unlike binaural beats which only work the first few times you use them, NuCalm tech has benefitted from millions of dollars of reach and several patents. The NuCalm algorithm continues to be just as effective on day 100 as it was on day one.
Sessions accomplish the equivalent of 2-3 hours of deep sleep in just 20-30 minutes. Dramatically reducing stress and anxiety while also improving sleep, emotional resiliency, cognition, and performance.
The peak performance modes are newer but equally as powerful (and my personal favorites).
The more often you use it, the faster your brain can reach those same states on its own. This is “neurohacking” at its finest.
My primary complaint with NuCalm is the price. It’s simply too expensive for most. Mostly, the elite are the ones who can afford high-tech performance-enhancing technologies. And they already have options. Luckily, there are other decent options too.
If it fits your budget though, I’m thoroughly impressed with NuCalm. The system works far better than the others I’ve tested, and I’ve used a LOT. The app’s UI could use an overhaul, but it works as expected.
If you’d like to give it a shot for yourself, click the button below and make sure to use the exclusive discount code.
Use the exclusive NUCALM code URBAN for 10% off
Should you have any issues, take advantage of their full 30-day money-back guarantee.
Have you tried NuCalm? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below!
NuCalm is the world's first & only patented neuroscience technology clinically proven to lower stress & improve sleep quality, and dramatically improve physical and mental performance.
Product Brand: NuCalm
- Responsive support
- Portable & convenient
- Clinically proven
- Downloadable tracks for offline mode
- Stacks nicely with other therapies
- Modes to fit any goal
- Outdated app UI
- Missing controls
- Limited number of tracks
- No photobiomodulation modality