Flowtime by Entertech is a headband with sensors that can record brainwaves, heart, and respiration rates. When used in combination with the App available for iOS and Android, Flowtime will unlock the doors to numerous guided meditation programs. It has never been easier to reduce stress and meditate. Thanks to the ability of Flowtime to differentiate between the five major brainwave patterns, improving meditation and reducing stress levels will not require intensive training. Suitable for both experienced or beginner meditators, Flowtime is well priced at under $200. A device we recommend for improving your quality of life without breaking the bank.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years to reduce stress and improve overall health.
From its distant Indian origins, practicing meditation evolved with time and technology to combine cutting-edge technologies and millennial knowledge.
This article reviewed one of the latest iterations of biosensing headbands: The Flowtime. Leveraging on the improvement of Electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors, the Flowtime headband combines design and technology to deliver an affordable device that may change how you relax and meditate.
Before diving into the details of this innovative device, we need to understand where it comes from and how Flowtime compares to its competitors.
Up to recently, The Muse Headband was seen as the gold standard for meditation headbands. Backup by numerous scientific studies, InterAxon’s Muse headband came in various iterations, form factors, and prices.
Related Article: What Is the Science Behind the Muse Headband?
Marketed as a digital sleeping pill, the Muse S differs from the Flowtime headband, which focuses only on helping users meditate and explore the brain wave patterns to relax better. In that sense, the Flowtime headband delivers on its promise to become a digital meditation assistant.
What about Entertech?
When evaluating a product, especially in the tech world, it is critical to understand who is behind it better. In that sense, Flowtime and Entertech do not disappoint. The company is the brainchild of Haoxiang Yi, a biomedical engineer, and serial entrepreneur involved with numerous high-technology companies, such as Kether, which developed EEG interfaces to control vehicles and Naptime, to cite a few.
With years of experience developing EEG devices, it is no surprise that Mr. Yi used his skills to create a meditation headband.
With a biomedical engineer as its CEO, Entertech was well-equipped to release Flowtime. In 2019, the company even won second place in the 5th China College Students “Internet Plus” Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Flowtime in a nutshell
Flowtime comes as a lightweight, less than 30g or 1 oz, rigid headband that includes two channels EEG sensors and a photosensor to measure the blood flow and extract data related to heart rate and Heart Rate Variability.
The design is slim and compact (310 mm, 100 mm, 15 mm). The device also comes with three different size bands (8 cm, 13 cm, 17 cm) to help secure the headband and maintain good contact between the sensors and the skin. The battery is included in the earpiece and can be charged with the included USB cable. Overall, the built quality is good, and the headband is comfortable. Being lightweight, the Flowtime is not distracting, and the signal quality appears reliable.
The 40mAh battery lasts numerous days and will be fully charged in just a few hours, which we appreciate. However, we regret that the USB cable is not a regular USB C. We all have numerous electronic devices, and having another cable to deal with is always a bit of a nuisance.
Once charged, Flowtime will smoothly connect via Bluetooth to the App available for iOS and Android. Most wearable devices are only as good as their companion app, and Entertech did an outstanding job developing the Flowtime one. The App is easy to use and combines the right amount of data without being overwhelming. Whether you are tech-savvy or not, being able to check your brain waves (beta, gamma, alpha, theta, delta) in real-time is an exciting experience.
In recent years, biomedical technologies made tremendous leap-forwards, and Flowtime is undoubtedly a device that combines high-tech science and practical uses.
Who is Flowtime best suited for?
You do not need to be a wearable device collector to maximize the benefits of Flowtime. The recent pandemic dramatically impacted mental health, and we live in a world where stress has become the norm. However, it doesn’t mean that we should not do anything and accept our fate. We all know that stress and burnouts impact our quality of life, and scientists published numerous studies correlating these two metrics.
In a recently published large study including over 3,000 industrial workers, stress was undoubtedly associated with poor quality of life.
More than a decrease in the quality of life, stress has been shown to have a physiologically quantifiable impact on the cardiovascular, digestive, and cognitive systems.
According to a study published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine and cited by the Harvard Medical School, mindful meditation has the potential to ease anxiety and decrease stress.
In that sense, using Flowtime and following their guided meditation programs is a simple way to relax after a long day and decrease the stress levels accumulated during the day. Flowtime will benefit everybody; you do not need to be a master yogi to make the most of it.
The Flowtime App at the center of your meditation journey
Unlike a portable Electroencephalogram device, Flowtime is a complete relaxation ecosystem with an app that will guide you through your relaxation journey.
When opening the App and switching on the headband, the Bluetooth connexion should be smooth and non-eventful—log in and set up your profile to open the doors of meditation.
The program comes in two flavors: Unguided or Guide.
It is possible to set up a timer for 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, or custom timer during unguided meditation. Before starting the time, the device will check that the contacts are accurately positioned to allow the recording of a strong signal. It takes a little practice to find the optimal position of the headband…usually on the middle of the forehead. We recommend choosing a rubber band that will maintain firm contact between the sensors and the forehead without being too tight. We also noticed during our tests that women should remove their makeup to avoid artifacts or signal loss.
We also noticed that the heart rate data collected from the optical sensor are more likely to be lost or overestimated. Therefore, as with any optical sensor, we recommend regularly cleaning the LED. It takes a couple of seconds for the heart rate signal to stabilize.
The real-time biodata available are:
- Real-time Brainwave
- Changes in Brainwave Rhytms
- Heart Rate
- Breath Coherence
Five types of brain waves can be detected and will provide insights into your level of relaxation. Each type of brain wave has a different frequency will allow to understand the brain state and meditation level better.
- Alpha Waves relate to alert and focus states and are the type of waves beginner meditators want to aim at.
- Theta Waves are mostly recorded when in a state of light sleep. Experienced meditators have the ability to reach this state while still being awake.
By showing the brain wave levels, Flowtime allows users to understand their meditation status better and actively aim for the correct patterns.
The guided meditation programs will be at the center of your meditation journey and come either free or for a fee. During the guided programs, relaxing sounds or a voice will help reach a state of relaxation. All the premium contents are accessible for $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year. To be noted that the Flowtime device comes with a voucher worth $28, which is an excellent way to check on the guided programs and define if they correspond to what you are looking for.
What we think of the Entertech Flowtime
The Flowtime is part of this new generation of devices that give you the possibility to measure your brain waves from the comfort of your home and use them in actionable ways. The electroencephalogram sensors appear reliable, and checking on your brain waves while meditating is most definitely valuable. We are convinced that Flowtime will improve your meditation routine. It also has the potential to reduce stress. The device is well-built, and comfortable to wear. Having the possibility to access a library of guided meditation programs brings a lot of value to the device, which becomes a complete relaxation ecosystem. Being reasonably priced, the Flowtime has much to offer, even though finding the right forehead location to record the heart rate accurately may require a little practice.
DISCLAIMER: Entertech provided a testing device but had no say in our review or editorial content.