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Apollo Neuro Review: Can Soundwaves Reduce Stress?

Apollo Neuro Review: Can Soundwaves Reduce Stress?


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The Apollo Neuro is a wearable device for stress relief. The brand claims that their product improves sleep, focus, heart rate variability (HRV), physical recovery, and sense of calmness.

In this article we’ll review the health claims made by Apollo Neuro based on published medical research to determine if we recommend the product. We’ll also highlight some stress-reducing alternatives (both lifestyle and supplemental) which consumers may want to consider over this device. 

Medical Research Review

Apollo Neuro health claims

Apollo’s website claims that their product was “Born in the Lab,” but at the time we published this article the brand had shared no medical research proving their product to be effective for any of the stated health claims.

Since then, Apollo Neuro has added a Studies Roundup page on their website highlighting ongoing and completed research on their device.

The majority of these studies are ongoing and the full data set is not yet accessible. We would caution consumers to be wary of claims of efficacy based on "preliminary results" given the information asymmetry: the brand has access to these results but consumers don't. Until the full study is published and researchers can analyze the study methodology and full data set, we do not believe early results are particularly valuable (though we do believe it's a good sign that the company is engaged in a number of legitimate research trials).

One clinical trial on the Apollo Neuro has completed, and was published in the reputable Biological Psychiatry journal. The trial found that both experienced and inexperienced meditators achieved deeper meditation states after using the Apollo Neuro device regularly. This suggests that the device may be effective for inducing relaxation and stress relief, but more data is needed in our opinion to state so conclusively.

It's worth noting that the clinical trials that Apollo Neuro is funding are more legitimate than the majority of "clinical trials" funded by medical device companies we've reviewed on Illuminate Health, in that they're conducted by research institutions and are aiming to be published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

This is legitimate medical research, whereas many companies pay private, for-profit research firms to conduct a "clinical trial" which is published nowhere but the brand's website. The latter is not legitimate medical research, so we commend Apollo Neuro for the investment in this regard. 

How Does Apollo Neuro Work?

The proposed mechanism of action of the Apollo Neuro is called “touch therapy.” The company claims that low frequencies of sound waves emitted from their device can cause changes in our nervous system that improve the way we respond to stress.

We can’t find any existing medical research backing these claims. We searched PubMed, which is one of the largest medical databases in the U.S., for any research published on sound waves and stress (not just published by Apollo but by anyone), and couldn't find any useful information.

This doesn’t mean Apollo is necessarily ineffective, just that there doesn’t currently appear to be much existing research on the mechanism of action of their device (other than the one clinical trial referenced previously of relatively limited scope).

Perhaps Apollo Neuro has created a truly revolutionary device that can reduce stress and anxiety through sound waves alone, but we will reserve judgment until more research emerges.

Apollo Neuro Team

Apollo Neuro was founded by a credentialed medical expert, which is generally a good sign for a medical device brand. David Rabin, the founder, is a Medical Doctor (MD) and holds a PhD. His background is in neuroscience and psychiatry; both relevant fields to this company.

No one else on their team appears to have any medical credentials, including his wife Kathryn Fantauzzi who is the CEO of the company.

Given the founder’s background, we hope that research emerges in the future proving the efficacy of the Apollo device. Their site claims that many medical trials are currently in progress. 

We're somewhat surprised that an MD with a PhD runs a company making claims of clinical efficacy without publicly-accessible research to support all of those claims, given that he’s necessarily familiar with the process of clinical trials. As an example, we don't believe it's fair for the brand to state on their homepage (at the time of updating this article) that Apollo Neuro improves sleep, when there don't appear to be any completed medical trials proving so.

Stress Relief Alternatives

The most well-proven, and free, alternative to a wearable device for stress management is daily meditation. Meditation is proven in medical research to reduce stress and cause favorable adaptations to the nervous system. It can cause the effects that Apollo claims their product can cause but at zero cost, and all that’s required is a bit of discipline.

The meditation practice we recommend, and the one outlined in the book The Science of Meditation, is a 25 minute practice with the first 15 minutes dedicated to focusing on the present moment and releasing thoughts, and the final 10 minutes dedicated to visualizations with the eyes closed.

This book was written by psychologist Daniel Goleman PhD and is a must-read for anyone skeptical about the research benefits of meditation.

For consumers who want a supplemental alternative for stress, ashwagandha is proven to reduce stress on average. This herbal supplement has been used for thousands of years for its adaptogenic function, and clinical trials prove that it can reduce stress and decrease morning levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.

We recommend an ashwagandha product which is standardized for withanolides, at a range of 2.5-5%, because this is the active chemical compound in ashwagandha and the standard most frequently used in medical research. Look for a brand that publishes independent testing proving the purity of their ashwagandha supplement, because this herb is often grown in India where there are relatively high levels of environmental pollution.

Apollo Neuro Real User Review

One of the most popular YouTube reviews on the Apollo Neuro is published by a channel called "Katie Type A," and has garnered over 30,000 views at the time of updating this article.

This creator reviews how the device works, and shares their personal experience using it. The review appears unsponsored:

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

At this time, we don't recommend the Apollo Neuro device because we don't believe there's enough data backing its efficacy. The one completed clinical trial was relatively limited in scope. If more research emerges proving that the Apollo Neuro is effective for improving sleep or anxiety, we will consider changing our position. Given that there are ongoing medical trials on the device, this is possible.

We can’t find any existing medical research proving the mechanism of action of the device; that low-frequency sound waves can favorably modulate stress function.

We believe that a combination of meditation and ashwagandha extract supplementation (or either one of the two) would be a superior alternative to Apollo Neuro for safely reducing stress levels over time. Both of these therapies have significantly more research backing than the Apollo Neuro.




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