There is no end to the various bodily functions that wearable technology can monitor, each of which is supposed to provide the perfect mix of actionable data and improve your overall health as a result. BreathResearch is a company that claims the one you want to pay attention to is your breathing, a biometric that can be used to reduce stress, optimize athletic performance, lose weight and improve sleep.
The company have been developing the technology since 2008, working on research that analyzes “breath acoustics,” otherwise known as the quality of your breathing. Earlier this month, they also launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new breath-monitoring smartphone headset which has currently raised over 50% of its $30,000 target.
Founder and CEO Nirinjan Yee is a trained holistic medicine practitioner, and spends a good amount of time working with patients suffering from chronic pain and hypertension. This experience is what led her to believe breathing was being overlooked as a possible cause for these problems. Talking with GigaOM, she said:
In the medical environment, and even in the alternative medical and fitness worlds, we’re looking at a lot of stuff, like blood work, diet and exercise, but no one was looking at breathing. What I found in all the patients that I work with is that their breathing really seems compromised.
Using 10 years of data, which amounts to over 10,000 recordings of various people’s breathing, the company has translated the data into numerical values that contribute to a “breathing index.” Combined with a mobile app, the headset listens to a user’s breathing, analyzes the patterns, generates a breathing score and provides recommendations on how to improve breathing.
Even though breathing is a relatively young biometric, recent studies suggest that breath analysis can detect stress levels, bacterial infections and other conditions. More research also suggests that some breathing exercises may help alleviate stress, asthma and other conditions with a greater link to breathing than previously thought.