It’s been a little over a year since I started using my Muse headband to assist in my meditation practice. I use it almost daily. I had a few days where circumstances made it difficult or impossible to wear the headband while meditating. But my consistency had been very good prior to using the band, so we are comparing apples to apples. In other words, Muse didn’t make me meditate any more or less than in previous years.
My overall impression is that it is a useful tool in a meditation practice. I am sure that it is not necessary to become a “good” meditator, but it will probably help kickstart someone who has little to no experience. If you can afford it and you like gadgets, give it a shot!
Here are my pros:
- The app is user friendly and has a nice interface.
- The reports and graphs are useful for tracking.
- The “gamification” of meditating (trophies, messages of congrats, how many birds, etc.) can encourage your practice.
- The unit has performed flawlessly. I have not done any maintenance and I have dropped it a few times. It works just as well as when I received it.
- The app is gamified. This seems counter to the “zen” feeling that you’re aiming for. I had 228 days straight when I had a tech snafu (not realizing my phone’s bluetooth was off) and I broke my streak. It was quite upsetting to my type A personality.
- The accuracy of the device is questionable. There are days when I use the app with the sound off so I get no aural feedback. There are times when I know my mind was unfocused and I get a lot of birds. Other days I feel very focused and birds are rare. But in general, the report post-session seems to reflect what was happening.
- The challenge levels end at 24. I achieved that many moons ago, so I’ve topped out of the gamification. It’s a minor point because I don’t use the app for games. Now I’m using it just to track.
- The in-app guided meditations are good but limited. I don’t always use guided meditations, but if I do, I no longer use the in-app ones. I use a different app on my iPad and I keep the Muse app muted.
If you like gadgets and data, I would recommend using the Muse headband as a way to enhance and monitor your progression in your mindfulness practice. However, it is not a substitute for actually doing the work. You still have to sit and be present, one breath at a time.