Technology aims to shock us into being relaxed

Massages and mood music may be a thing of the past if this technology startup has its way.

Wearable technology startup Thync wants to do more than track what’s going on in your body like the exercise tracking gadgets do. It wants to give you instant symptom relief via electric zaps that give your mind a boost. Founded in 2011, the San Francisco-based company claims its device stimulates the brain with low-voltage electric pulses. These pulses give neurons a jolt, causing them to ramp up or curtail the release of chemicals that influence your mood.

These electric pulses can increase your willpower and help you think more creatively, according to Thync co-founder Jamie Tyler, a neurobiologist and former research fellow at Harvard’s Center for Brain Science and Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology. They may even one day be able to jumpstart emotions like happiness he claims.

According to the technical information on the Thync website your body is constantly balancing the activity between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system is associated with a “fight or flight” response to help regulate your reaction to stress. The parasympathetic system counteracts stress to help you enter a relaxed “rest and digest” mode.

Thync has developed proprietary neuro-signaling technology (“Vibes”) that deliver signals to the brain through these three neural pathways. As a result, your body is able to effectively balance these nerves as you choose. Neurosignaling builds upon the best features of long-standing tDCS and TENS techniques by using pulsed currents with lower-intensity and higher-frequency outputs, delivered through bio-compatible materials for greater safety and comfort.

In simple terms, you attach the Thync device onto purpose-designed strips you strap to your head. You then use the app on your phone to manage the electrical stimulation and change the way you feel.

Thync has raised more than $25 million from investors to develop the product. Thync has published one study involving 82 volunteers who reported that a 14-minute session reduced stress. Tyler admits it’s still early days for the technology, but future treatments could have a positive impact on things like migraines and more serious neurological conditions. And if you have to live with migraines, you’ll be hoping the technology proves itself quickly.

In the meantime use this colouring book app to help you relax.

Image credit: Thync.