Stress resilience, backed by science
Born in the lab
The Apollo Neuro technology originated from Dr. David Rabin MD, PhD’s research at the University of Pittsburgh Program in Cognitive Affective Neuroscience (PICAN) laboratory. As a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Dr. Rabin has dedicated his career to understanding the effects of chronic stress on our well-being. He observed a core challenge - healthy behavior changes will benefit us in the long term, but making those changes when we’re under chronic stress is really, really hard.
The reason? Chronic stress itself. Our nervous system is there to keep us safe. When you face stress, your brain tells your body the equivalent of “hey, there’s a lion over there.” That’s why you have trouble sleeping, low energy, and a hard time focusing - it’s like the nervous system is saying “run” when you’re just trying to get through your day. We developed Apollo Neuro to restore balance to the nervous system, calming the body to clear the mind, and leaving you feeling safe and in control.
Improved quality of sleep
To study the effects of Apollo Neuro’s stress-busting technology on sleep, our research team launched a real-world sleep study with over 500 users. Through analysis of this trove of sleep data, rarely available at such high volumes and in real-world settings, we observed the following trends from those who used the Apollo wearable consistently (at least 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, during the day and night):
“High quality sleep is essential. But we’re evolved to not be able to turn on our sleeping system when we are under real or perceived threat. Many of us experience stress much of the day, and we live in a state of fight-or-flight. With Apollo Neuro, you’re finally able to access sleep and relaxed states when you need it most.”
Dr. David Rabin, MD, PhD
Neuroscientist & Board-certified Psychiatrist, Apollo Neuro
Our health and survival are dependent on the dynamic relationship between the two branches of the autonomic nervous system: the parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) branch and the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) branch.
Biology of stress
Chronic stress strains the whole body by over-activating the sympathetic nervous system, releasing stress hormones like cortisol, making breathing shallow and fast, and sending heart rate up and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) down.
When the fight-or-flight response is overactive it makes it physiologically harder to focus, meditate, relax, or sleep. Your body and mind are both signaling each other that you are unsafe, under threat, and need to be escaping danger — not sleeping or focusing on work. It leaves you sleepless, restless, distracted, and in overdrive.
Sleep, meditation, deep breathing practices, touch therapy, and regular exercise help you to recover from stress by engaging and training the parasympathetic nervous system, but they are all physically and mentally harder to do when you’re overwhelmed by chronic stress. To improve your resilience to stress, you can tap into your nervous system, the root of stress, through the sense of touch.
The science of touch
There is a deep biological connection between your sense of touch and your emotional wellbeing. When you touch something, the touch receptors in the skin send a signal to the center of the brain, and that signal branches in two directions: one to your somatosensory cortex, the part that characterizes if the touch is soft, rough, slow, fast, hot, or cold and the second to your emotional cortex, the feeling part of feeling, the part that associates emotion with touch.
When you feel the Apollo wearable, you feel more than vibration, you feel a rhythm that signals your emotional cortex to evoke a certain state, the same way that the right song can set a mood.
HRV and stress
Heart rate variability (HRV) is one of the most reliable biomarkers of resilience and ability to recover from stress. HRV is a measure of the variability between heartbeats, a function controlled by your autonomic nervous system. When your HRV increases, it indicates a more balanced nervous system ready to adapt to the ebbs and flows of the day.
Low HRV indicates that you are not recovered — your body isn’t bouncing back from stress and is spending too much time in fight-or-flight mode. This is also a sign that you’re more likely to get sick and less likely to recover quickly.
The goal is to increase parasympathetic activity because doing so sends our blood (and all the good stuff it carries with it like oxygen and glucose) to the parts of your body important for recovery, sleep, reproduction, digestion, empathy, and immunity. This helps decrease the chances of getting sick and improves the quality of life on the whole. High HRV indicates that your nervous system is in balance and you’re able to adapt, perform when needed, and bounce back quickly from stress.
Meet the Scientific Advisory Board
Rachel Yehuda, PhD
Vice Chair of Psychiatry, Endowed Professor of Psychiatry and the Neurobiology of Trauma, and Director of the Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai; Director of Mental Health and PTSD Programming, Department of Veterans Affairs
Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Belinda Tan MD, PhD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; Co-Founder of Science 37, a market leader in virtual clinical trials; Co-Founder and Co-CEO of People Science
Joseph C. Maroon, MD, FACS
Clinical Professor, Vice Chairman of Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience; Team Neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steele
Michael Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor; Double board-certified Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Sleep Specialist; Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine
Ben Kelmendi, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University; Co-Director, Yale Program for Psychedelic Science; Co-Founder, Yale Psychedelic Science Group
Bryan Donohue, MD, FACC
Interventional Cardiologist, Former Chair of Medicine & Chief of Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center