Apollo Neuro Wearable: Stress Relief for Older Adults & Caregivers?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
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This wearable device from Apollo Neuro claims to reduce stress and anxiety using a series of pulsating vibrations. Could this device help the stress of seniors and their caregivers?

apollo neuro wearable review
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Disclosure: I was provided an Apollo Wearable at no charge so that I could personally evaluate the product and give my personal review. I have not received any compensation for this review, and the opinions are my own – based on my own personal experience.

Facing the realities of aging is often a major life stressor. And caregiving for our elderly loved ones has its own stresses and challenges. There are ways to deal with stress, including improving overall health, meditating, and exercising.

However, a company called Apollo Neuro has designed a wearable device that they say can reduce stress and anxiety. But is this possible?

Here is what you need to know about this device, along with my personal observations after using it for several weeks.

Apollo™ Wearable

Apollo™ Wearable

The Apollo™ wearable improves your body’s resilience to stress, so you can relax, sleep, focus, recover, and feel better. Rather than tracking your health, the Apollo wearable is proven to actively improve it.
$399.00

What Does The Apollo Wearable Do?

The Apollo Wearable is an electronic wearable device that mimics the benefits of deep breathing and touch using soothing vibrations. These vibrations help you feel calm, relaxed, and in control. The device was developed by physicals specializing in neurology to improve sleep quality and focus by improving heart rate variability and reducing the signs of stress and anxiety.

It goes beyond the standard fitness trackers that just measure heart rate, breathing rates, heart rate variability (HRV), and stress indicators. The device actually works to reduce heart rate and blood pressure by increasing HRV (which is a good thing) and reducing other stress indicators. This effect is achieved through pulsating vibrations, which have been shown to calm and relax.

The Apollo wearable was created to provide the positive effects of better sleep, peaceful meditation, deep breaths, non-invasive touch therapy, and regular exercise. These practices help you recover from stress and, with repetition, can even make you more resilient to stress in the long run.

apollo wearable control buttons
Close-up of the wearable device showing the control buttons.

What Does It NOT Do?

You should not use the Apollo wearable with expectations of curing anxiety, depression, or any other mental disorders. Please consult with your physician or mental health expert to treat these disorders.

It is also not a fitness tracker in the traditional sense. It will not measure your workout distances and times and does not measure the variety of health statistics that most fitness wearables will. You can use it in conjunction with your favorite fitness watch or tracking device to confirm that the Apollo wearable is working for you though.

How Does the Apollo Wearable Work?

Of course, I am not a neuroscientist or a physician, so this explanation of how the Apollo wearable works is based on my own understanding as someone who reads a lot of health and wellness information.

Soothing Vibrations Simulate Touch and Deep Breathing

Perhaps everyone knows that taking a series of deep breaths can relax and calm you during a stressful situation. Apollo replicates the benefits of deep breathing with soothing, repeating vibrations. These vibrations also rhythmically stimulate your body’s touch receptors, similar to how your favorite song can calm you down.

Increases Heart Rate Variability to Decrease Stress

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measures the time between your heartbeats. Most people don’t realize it, but your heart doesn’t beat at perfectly spaced intervals. The time between beats is controlled by your autonomic nervous systems based on your body’s reaction to stress, illness, and your daily life.

It sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but a higher HRV value indicates your body and nervous system are balanced and handling stress well. On the other hand, a lower HRV means you are fighting stress and could even be getting sick. If your HRV stays low, it will take you longer to recover from exercise and illnesses.

The Apollo wearable uses its vibrations and pulses to engage the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to increase blood flow. Further, repeated use will train the PNS to help you make you more resilient to stress.

apollo wearable on wrist
If you wear the device on the wrist, it should be on the inside directly against the skin.

Like Playing Your Favorite Song

It’s been said that “music calms the savage beast.” When music is played, and the sound waves hit your body, they provide a minute and indetectable vibration on your skin. The Apollo wearable produces similar rhythms and vibrations electronically.

What Comes in the Box

When you order an Apollo Wearable, you get the wearable, one band in the size of your choice, one clip, and a micro-USB charging cord. Note that you do not get the charging box to plug into the wall. You will have to use a USB charging port or get a box if you want to plug it into the wall.

You also get free access to the Apollo Neuro App. More information about that follows.

Apollo™ Wearable

Apollo™ Wearable

The Apollo™ wearable improves your body’s resilience to stress, so you can relax, sleep, focus, recover, and feel better. Rather than tracking your health, the Apollo wearable is proven to actively improve it.
$399.00

How to Use the Apollo Wearable

The Apollo wearable has several options that allow you to customize how the device works for your specific and individual requirements.

Wearing the Device

You have the choice of a hook and loop band or a clip. The band is used around the wrist or the ankle. The clip is ideal for clipping to a belt or waistband.

To get the intended benefit from it, you should wear it “backward.” I mean that the device will go right against your skin. And, the band or clip will be away from your body, helping hold the device against your skin.

If you are wearing it on your wrist, put the device against the inside of your left wrist. For the ankle, put the device against the outer side of your ankle. It doesn’t matter whether or not you use the right or left ankle.

If you use the band, tighten it enough that the curved side makes continual contact with your skin. However, don’t wear it so tight that you cut off circulation.

Personally, I like the clip because it is a more discreet option.

apollo wearable charging port
Apollo Wearable Charging Port

Charging the Wearable

To charge the wearable, simply plug the included cable into a USB port and the other end into the device. My device fully charged itself in about 90 minutes.

Connecting to the App

Download the Apollo Neuro app to your iOS or Android device. This lets you control various programs, modes, and vibration intensity with a simple touch of your screen.

Before syncing with the app via Bluetooth, go ahead and charge the wearable fully.

The syncing process is simple. It is easier than syncing most headphones. The app walks you through it step-by-step. It even tells you if the device isn’t ready to sync due to a low battery.

Once you have synced your device with the app, it first checks for updates. If you have any updates to download, the app notifies you and allows you to process the update at the touch of a button.

Vibration Intensity

I love that you have complete control of the intensity of the vibrations. This really helps you ease into using it, especially if you are sensitive or unsure of what it will feel like.

Using the two buttons, you can adjust the intensity up or down on the device itself. But, the easier way is to use one of the modes below in the app and adjust the intensity using the simple slide bar control.

apollo wearable app modes
Modes Available in the Companion App

Modes

Various modes are included and are pre-programmed settings based on your goal and the situation in which you are using the device. For example, I am using it as I type this review on the Clear and Focused mode at 30% intensity to help me focus and feel less distracted!

The included modes and default settings are:

  • Energy and Wake-up Mode – used to boost energy when waking up or feeling drowsy. It uses 10% intensity for five minutes.
  • Social and Open Mode – use this mode to elevate your mood and energy levels in social situations. It uses 15% intensity for thirty minutes.
  • Clear and Focused Mode – this is one of my favorites! It helps filter our distractions by calming and settling nerves to improve focus. This mode uses 20% intensity for 30 minutes (although I increase it to 30%)
  • Rebuild and Recover – This mode helps improve recovery times after a workout or after stressful events and sicknesses. The default setting is 30% intensity for 15 minutes.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness – This mode is more intense and is used to get you ready to meditate or when you need a boost of calm and peace. It uses 35% intensity for 30 minutes.
  • Relax and Unwind – I like to use this mode to wind down at the end of the day before bed to provide deep relaxation. The standard setting is 40% intensity for 30 minutes, although I sometimes bump it up to 45 or 50% personally.
  • Sleep and Renew – The purpose of the last mode is to promote better sleep by helping you get to sleep and quiet your mind. It operates at 60% intensity for 60 minutes.

Each mode has its own pattern or rhythm of vibrations to achieve different results. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them.

apollo wearable mode settings
Mode Settings and Customization

Setting a Schedule

If you want to use this device on autopilot, you can automatically set a schedule to run throughout the day. For my testing, here is the schedule I ended up using after a few tweaks along the way:

Morning

I use the Clear and Focused Mode at 30% intensity for 15 minutes to wake me up and get me started for the day. It starts automatically at 5:15 AM. It provides a much gentler wakeup than a blaring alarm clock. I’ll lie in bed and check my emails during this time. If I need more of a boost I’ll turn on the Energy and Wake Up Mode at 35% for about 5 minutes.

If I run that morning, I’ll also use the Rebuild and Recover mode for 15 minutes at 35 or 40% intensity.

Throughout the Day

I have the Clear and Focused Mode turned on at 10:00 am every day at 35% intensity for 30 minutes because that is usually the time I am working on tasks that require more attention. This is usually the time of day I am writing or working on strategy or business objectives.

If I need an extra boost during the day, I use the Social and Open for 30 minutes at a time for 30 or 35% intensity.

Ending the Day

At 8:15 PM each evening, I use the Relax and Unwind setting for 30 minutes at 45% intensity while watching some TV or reading. I have found that this helps my body settle down and prepare for sleep.

Once I am ready to go to bed, usually around 9:30 or 10:00 PM, I use the Sleep and Renew mode for an hour at about 55% intensity. I am usually asleep within 7 to 10 minutes, according to my Fitbit Charge.

apollow wearable scheduling in app
Mode Scheduling Screen in the App

My Personal Experience

Based on my own personal use of the wearable, here are my observations.

Easy to Use

As far as using the device, it is very easy to use – especially if you’ve ever used an app-controlled device in the past. I found the modes easy to activate and customize with my own preferred settings. The schedule is easy to set and adjust too.

Comfortable to Wear

The hook and loop band is soft and comfortable enough to wear all day long. I was even quite surprised that it didn’t bother me when I slept.

I typically wear it on my left ankle. While I sometimes put it on my wrist, I also use a Fitbit Charge – I don’t like wearing both right next to each other. Although, I’ve gotten some strange looks in public because some people wonder if I’m wearing an ankle monitor and if they should stay away from me.

I received my trial unit before the clip was made available, but I will get one. That seems like the best way to wear it overall – especially in public or group settings. The clip is more discreet, and no one will even know you are wearing it.

apollo wearable on left leg
Wear the Apollo device with the darker, rounded edge against the skin for best results.

What Does It Feel Like?

The sensation is a bit odd in the beginning, but you will quickly get used to it. The vibrations are gentle and not at all jarring. The best way I have found to describe it is the feeling is similar to having a cell phone on silent mode vibrate against your skin.

When you use the various mode settings, the vibrations aren’t constant. They go through a cycle of different pulsating patterns. So, you may notice it more in some modes than others. I have found myself reaching down at times and touching it to see if it’s working because it’s so gentle.

I was really surprised how quickly I adapted to wearing it while sleeping. I thought the vibrations might keep me awake, but they were actually soothing. Which, I guess, is the idea, right?

Apollo™ Wearable

Apollo™ Wearable

The Apollo™ wearable improves your body’s resilience to stress, so you can relax, sleep, focus, recover, and feel better. Rather than tracking your health, the Apollo wearable is proven to actively improve it.
$399.00

So, Does It Work?

This device caught my eye because of its use to increase HRV, as I discussed earlier. It seems to be scientifically valid that this measurement is a good way to measure overall physical fitness.

My Fitbit measures HRV, so I will be reporting back soon about whether or not the device did – or did not – improve my HRV. Of course, that is just a study of one, but I think it will be interesting to see.

I should also report that I don’t tend to be a nervous or anxious person overall. But, like everyone, I do have some shyness and social anxiety that I experience in certain situations. I am much more comfortable behind a monitor typing than on camera or speaking in public.

I found the device offers a calming presence and helps me focus on the tasks at hand. It also helps me feel more secure when doing public and “on camera” tasks.

Is the effect just anecdotal or a placebo effect? Possibly. But if it helps, I’m ok with it anyway.

I’ll share some data and statistics based on my own use in the next few weeks, with screenshots from my Fitbit to validate the device’s effectiveness.

Apollo reports significant improvements in managing stress and anxiety have been validated in several university lead studies. Studies have also been conducted at a VA Medical Center and a Skilled Nursing Rehab center. I suggest you read these studies and decide for yourself.

One study specifically addresses caregiver stress and burnout, which is particularly interesting. You can read it here.

What If It Doesn’t Work For You?

If you decide to give it a try and are unsatisfied with it, Apollo does offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. They will accept your return – for any reason – for 30 days from the date of delivery. Note, though, that the cost of shipping will be deducted from your refund.

Summary

The Apollo Neuro uses pulsating vibrations to soothe anxiety and reduce stress. A benefit of this reduction is a higher Heart Rate Variability (HRV) which can indicate a higher level of health and physical fitness.

Of course, both dealing with getting older and being a caregiver can lead to great amounts of stress. And, it’s important to reduce stress as much as possible for a longer and better quality of life.

Not everyone has the time for long exercise, yoga, or meditation sessions. That’s where devices like these come into play.

Apollo™ Wearable

Apollo™ Wearable

The Apollo™ wearable improves your body’s resilience to stress, so you can relax, sleep, focus, recover, and feel better. Rather than tracking your health, the Apollo wearable is proven to actively improve it.
$399.00
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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