Stress and Breathing Connection

75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are due to stress related ailments and complaints, with OSHA estimating stress costing American industry alone more than $300 billion a year.

Why is breathing so important? Beyond keeping us alive, how we breathe can have a huge impact on our stress levels and physiology. Breathing is one of the few body functions we have both conscious and unconscious control over. Specific ways of breathing have been proven to calm the nervous system and lower stress.

We are in the midst of a global epidemic of poor breathing habits which are fueling stress. Prolonged sitting and bad posture are significant contributors to compromised breathing. Prana is designed to bust this trend and restore healthy breathing habits. It is a 100% drug free stress relief device.

What is Prana?

Prana is the first wearable to combine three critical body function measures to comprehensively improve the quality of our breathing for maximum stress fighting results. These measures are diaphragmatic breathing, posture, and our breath patterns. Prana’s advanced algorithms uniquely integrate these measures in a clear actionable way. Our app provides a fully interactive gamified experience to make it easy, fun, and seamless to retrain our breathing for lasting benefits. 

Prana lowers stress by rapidly triggering our body’s relaxation response (also known as the parasympathetic response). The parasympathetic response is the opposite of fight or flight mode which many of us get chronically locked into. Having our bloodstream constantly flooded with stress hormones and adrenaline can contribute and worsen many serious health issues including:   

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Digestive disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Lowered immune function and infection
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma and COPD (this additional application of Prana is discussed below)
  • Systemic inflammation

Nearly every system of our body is susceptible to the ravages of stress. Proper breathing is a natural non-drug way to rapidly tap into our body’s built-in stress reduction mechanism (see this Harvard article on how good breathing lowers stress). Prana is designed to make such stress-busting breathing accessible to everyone. 

Prana Wearable and App

Prana includes:

  • An elegantly designed clip-on device worn on the waistband, featuring a stylish metallically finished case, and measuring only 1.25” X ¼” for a comfortable and non-obtrusive wearable experience
  • Wireless charging base
  • A mobile app with cutting edge patent pending algorithms seamlessly unifying diaphragmatic breathing, posture, and breath patterns, for both iOS & Android

Complete Picture of Breathing

Prana is designed not only to lower stress, but to optimize our breathing for the full spectrum of long term health benefits. It is the only wearable that looks at respiration not as an isolated signal, but holistically in connection with two critical biomechanical functions which affect the quality of breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing and posture. Diaphragmatic breathing together with the proper breath pattern have been shown to more effectively activate our relaxation response than simply trying to slow respiration rate. And posture can directly impact the quality of our breath patterns. This is why we have integrated these three measures to give a complete picture of our breathing, and for maximizing stress reduction. Our system is fully transparent so that you can see in real-time that breath tracking is accurate and actually working.

Diaphragmatic Breathing


Prana is the first wearable specifically designed to monitor and train diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, the most natural and healthy way to breathe, which has been disrupted by modern stresses. For most today, the source of breathing has shifted upwards, with chest or accessory muscles being used to inflate the lungs. This shallow, stressed, and unnatural form of breathing neglects the lower lobes of our lungs, which have up to 7 times the oxygen carrying capacity. The benefits of diaphragmatic breathing have been emphasized by ancient traditions for thousands of years, and supported by many recent medical studies. Prana helps to restore this healthy natural form of breathing–utilizing more of our lung capacity–by providing a sensor which detects and helps guide the movement of our diaphragm, and an app which both warns and proactively trains us to breathe in this manner.


A strong connection between posture and breath has been emphasized by many traditions for thousands of years, including Yoga Pranayama. The basic idea is that good posture facilitates good breathing. This idea is now supported by a number of recent studies and research. For example, this research paper found a significant relationship between a particular seated posture and the quality of pulmonary function. These researchers found that in slumped sitting, spirometric measurements of forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume, and peak expiratory flow were all significantly decreased compared to a normal upright seated posture. Our posture affects the distribution of weight of visceral organs on our diaphragm, which affects its mobility when breathing. Prana’s advanced algorithms are able to disentangle breathing from posture to provide a posture-corrected breathing signal, all from one location on the body. Prana warns us when our posture can be improved, and our app understand how different postures impact breathing.

There are many additional benefits of good posture which Prana helps support, including preventing back problems and muscular pain, less fatigue (since muscles are used more efficiently), decreased stress on joints, ligaments and the spine, as well as improving our appearance.

Sitting and Standing

Prana recognizes when you sit or stand. While you sit, Prana analyzes your breath patterns, diaphragmatic breathing, and posture. When you stand or walk, Prana automatically switches to standing mode where it functions as a step tracker. We employ this strategy because the quality of breathing is most vulnerable to disruption while sitting and being inactive, especially during stressful times.


Passive Tracking

While you’re sitting, Prana normally functions in the background. It only alerts you if it detects signs of stressful breathing or poor posture. When we are stressed, we tend to breathe faster and more shallow, with breathing often shifting to the chest from the belly, which Prana can detect. Poor posture in turn can limit air flow into the lungs, further disrupting our breathing pattern, and contribute to back pain. Prana can notify either by a gentle on-device buzz, or through a smartphone alert, that it’s time to improve breathing or posture or both.


Gamified Active Training

Our active training mode allows you to participate in short game sessions (2 to 3 minutes) to consciously train the quality of your breathing. This is where you can rapidly experience a relaxation response.

You start a game session whenever you feel like it. You can use it as a therapeutic tool to reduce stress, anxiety, and even stop a panic attack. Or you can use it to retrain and learn better breathing habits. Our app can be set to alert you to start a training session (a tune-up) whenever passive tracking results are less than optimal (i.e. poor breathing or posture have been detected for an extended period of time).

As in the video below, the game works by tracking your real-time breathing as you fly through a colorful Zen garden. The goal is to collect flowers by carefully controlling inhalations and exhalations to follow the target breath pattern, while maintaining good posture. You directly control the game character with your breathing, with the bird flying higher as you inhale, and lower as you exhale (by means of a live Bluetooth connection between Prana and your smartphone). Staying within the flower pattern means you are breathing in the right way for the selected pattern. Good posture activates the forward scrolling motion. With our anti-stress pattern, you can feel calmer in as little as two minutes.

Breath Patterns 

A breath pattern goes far beyond what can be captured by a simple summary statistic such as respiration rate. It is defined by how we breathe over time, with parameters such as inhalation time, depth, retention, smoothness, exhalation time, and time between breaths. Recent studies have found that the patterns we employ, both consciously and unconsciously, can make a major difference. In particular,research has found that prolonging exhalation times versus inhalation can help to more rapidly trigger the relaxation response and a feeling of calmness (by means of more efficiently stimulating the Vagus nerve, also known at the Pneumogastric nerve). For example, a breathing pattern provided by Prana called 4-7-8 (inhale for 4 seconds, hold breath for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds) has been shown to be effective in curbing an anxiety attack in as little as just a few minutes (a great possible alternative to Xanax and other addicting benzodiazepine drugs). Other patterns have been found to increase energy (controlled rapid breathing for a short duration), while others are very good for enhancing concentration (such as a popular pattern from Yoga Pranayama called Sama Vritti, emphasizing equal controlled inhalation and exhalation times).

Visualized Breath Patterns and Stats

Prana has been designed to make it clear and easy to unlock the benefits of following specific breathing patterns. Our app offers two primary ways to visualize your real-time breath pattern: our game mode (previously discussed), and our clinical mode. Our game mode again shows the contours of the target breath pattern against a carefully timed scrolling background, with your breathing directly controlling the movement of the game character through the pattern. Our Clinical Mode provides a more in-depth timeline interface for tracking 10 distinct breath stats, posture, and displaying real-time breath patterns, as well as scoring each breath with respect to a target breath pattern. 

Here are the real-time stats we track:

  • Respiration rate
  • Inhalation time
  • Exhalation time (both absolute and relative)
  • Breath retention
  • Time between breaths
  • Breath uniformity (smoothness)
  • Diaphragm excursion
  • Posture
  • Adjusted inhalation depth relative to posture
  • Frequency of full breaths
  • Tidal volume

Benefits beyond Stress Reduction

Our app offers a library of dozens of distinct breath patterns/exercises for active training. Popular patterns include “Wake Up”, “Focus”, and “Wind Down”, which translate to different breathing exercises from traditions around the world, such as Yoga Pranayama, Buteyko, Tai Chi, 4-7-8, and many others. While stress reduction is our primary application–and we offer precise breath patterns to achieve that–our library of breathing patterns supports other applications, including:

  • Lowering blood pressure and heart rate 
  • Increasing energy
  • Improving focus
  • Helping to fall sleep
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Helping with chronic pain
  • Improving mood
  • Improving heart rate variability (HRV) 
  • Even patterns for helping medical conditions such as Asthma, COPD, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome.  


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. Beyond reducing stress, we single out COPD as an application where Prana can offer significant assistance. It is well known that a high percentage of sufferers of COPD have compromised diaphragm function. By specifically training diaphragmatic breathing, Prana can help COPD patients strengthen their diaphragm to breathe in a more effective way, potentially offering significant relief.

Below is a video of a COPD patient trying Prana for the first time (this is with an earlier belt-version of Prana, though our pod version functions in the same way). Within seconds, he was able to shift his breathing to his diaphragm, and receive immediate visual real-time feedback that he was doing it in the correct way. Here is an excerpt of his comments:

“This would really be great to teach me how to breathe from my abdomen. I’m a really shallow breather… I feel it would be a great tool to help people learn how to breath properly.”

Prana Sensors and Hardware

  • Prana utilizes highly sensitive multi-axis accelerometers, making even the lightest breathing detectable
  • Low energy Bluetooth (BLE) connection to most smartphones  (iOS and Android)
  • Energy efficient mobile processor with flash memory
  • Switchless design
  • Rechargeable Battery life of 7 days and up
  • Qi wireless charging base
  • Vibrational element to gently inform via on-device buzz when breath or posture can be improved
  • Highly advanced new algorithms to disentangle breath from posture signals from one location on the waistband
  • Sleek and metallically finished case with clip, worn on the waist (1.25″ x 0.25″)






Prana is the first wearable to combine three critical body function measures to comprehensively improve the quality of our breathing for maximum stress fighting results. These measures are diaphragmatic breathing, posture, and our breath patterns.

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Contact Information:
Andre Persidsky

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Source: icnw

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