James Dixon examines the stress relieving benefits of the Sensate 2 and assesses just how effective it is and if it’s worth it’s price tag in his Sensate 2 review… read on to find out how he got on with it.
We live in a stressful world – an increasingly stressful one, according to most data. It can be hard to disconnect from it and simply be, especially within your own mind. There are various reasons for this, including modern media and technology.
Happily, though, sometimes the cause is often the cure. This is certainly the case with Sensate 2, a wonderful little device designed to soothe you into a meditative state whilst simultaneously boosting your resistance to stress and anxiety. It is easy to set up, easy to use, and really quite clever and beautiful.
Let’s find out if it’s a good fit for you in my full Sensate 2 review…
Quick Verdict: Sensate 2
I really like the Sensate 2. It’s a beautiful, well-designed, well-built piece of kit that works superbly, delivering on all of its claims. You can set it up easily and use it without any bother with just what you get in the box. The app is simple in a good way – easy to navigate, pared back, soothing in its straightforwardness – and the audio library, whilst limited, is solid and set to expand in the near future.
Just 10 to 30 minutes per day could absolutely revolutionise your relationship to stress and anxiety. Though it seems a little pricey, I see it as one of the best value-for-money, most profound investments you can make in your short- and long- term wellbeing.
About Sensate 2
Sensate 2 is a high-tech, state-of-the-art sensory device, priced incredibly affordably for what it is and does. The wearable component is a small plastic pebble, around the size of your palm or slightly larger, that works in conjunction with an audio app that is easy to navigate.
You simply hang the pebble around your neck by its lanyard (included) and set the audio app up – it will play a wide variety of soothing sounds.
This coupling gives you a potent range of infrasonic sound waves. These sound waves in turn focus in on the nervous system, particularly the vagus nerve. They will stimulate your nervous system – or, rather, they will do sort of the opposite, soothing it, and thus you – whilst also improving your resilience to stress.
The manufacturers recommend that you use Sensate 2 lying prone in a comfortable, relaxed position. This is supposed to help you to make the most of its soothing effects. I used it in savasana, or mritasana, when I tried it out, sometimes at the end of a yoga flow, more often in isolation, and found that it worked an absolute treat.
It sort of gave me the feeling of a longer meditation after just a few minutes – though I’m getting ahead of myself. More on my own experience later on.
I say it’s reasonably priced, and it is for what it is. It’s still a bit of a hefty investment. It will set you back around two-fifty, depending on where you buy it from. This gives you all the hard- and soft- ware you need to get set up and going straight away.
The app is free to download from iTunes and Google Play and is easy to sync up and get going with. You’ll be able to find a list of compatible devices on their website to make sure the app works on your smartphone, though any iPhone and most Android systems will work fine.
It’s good looking, too. This shouldn’t usually matter with a piece of health or fitness gear (though it does, and I’ll always be the first to rave about a good looking new piece of kit). However, we are talking about something that works on your mood, here. And just as it’s easier to relax in a zen garden than an abandoned industrial estate, so too do aesthetic matters impact your use of this kind of gadget – it looks like it should soothe, which helps it to soothe. Unscientific, sure, but effective.
It’s made of black, soft plastic, almost like vulcanized rubber or something soft like that. This means that it’s even soothing to handle!
That’s sound, sight, and touch that they have nailed here, giving you a broad sensory experience designed to keep you nice and mellow.
It has a power button on one side which lights up when it’s working and a power socket at the bottom for use with its USB charge cable.
How Sensate 2 Works
It works by emitting low-frequency pulses that enter your body via conduction through your breastbone. This will turn your thoracic cavity into a bit of a resonating chamber, using its natural acoustics as a force multiplier.
Alongside the device, a charger, and the lanyard on which to hang the device, you also get an eye mask in the box when you buy Sensate 2. This helps you to go for full immersion in the experience, which is a really nice touch.
There are a few different settings to choose from. Or, rather, there are plenty of different sound experiences to choose from. You can simply start a soundscape session, lay down, and go for it. This was my preferred use.
You can also select tracks from their app’s library. These are all sorted into themes – including nature, space and time, sacred spaces, and breathe. These may sound like nebulous naming conventions, but give them a go and you actually really do get what they’re about. The names really do describe the audio’s flavor.
You can’t use your own music with the app. This is because the tracks all need to be in line with SIRT (Sensate Infrasound Resonance Technology). They work in a far more directed, focussed way than simply chilling you out with some nice tunes.
The audio selection is a little limited. It’s not too bad, but you hit a ceiling quite quickly if you use it often. However, there is a wider sound library in the works. This should come out fairly soon.
So it’s not cheap. However, you get a lot for your money. It is reasonably priced, all things said and done, and it’s clever.
Benefits of Sensate 2
There are several benefits to be gained from Sensate 2, more than earning its price tag in my view. Firstly, it is clever and potent. It is designed to promote relaxation whilst also helping you to fortify yourself against stress, teaching your nervous system to deal with it far more ably.
It’s a good premise. How about the execution?
That’s good, too. It’s very easy to set up and operate. The hardware is lovely – it is well-made, beautiful, and lovely to touch. This means that the relaxing, satisfying experience you’re looking for with something like Sensate 2 begins from the moment you get it out of the box. Everything you need to set it up is included, so you really can get it going within minutes of buying just the one box.
I’ve seen some criticism of the app. Many detractors call it spartan or boring. I know where they are coming from, but I don’t quite see it like this.
I see nothing wrong with ‘spartan’, especially in this kind of setting. You don’t want to be bombarded or overwhelmed. The app is also not a visual experience – as long as it syncs and plays the audio you want, without in any way distracting from the experience, you’re good to go. And its simplicity makes it very easy to use and navigate.
The only downsides are the price tag and battery life. The price tag is very good for what you get. It is a hell of an investment, though, and will put Sensate 2 out of plenty of people’s budgets. It’s a shame that something of this calibre, whilst worth every penny, couldn’t be more accessible. And the device is thirsty for power, so you’ll be charging it after every few uses.
Using Sensate 2
I’ve already begun talking about my own use. I really did enjoy it. Well, ‘enjoy’ isn’t the word. It’s not a fun product – it shouldn’t be! It should be a relaxing, soothing, satisfying product to use, which it absolutely is.
I was skeptical going into it.
How can a vibrating pebble that plays nice tunes at you make much of a difference to your wellbeing and stress levels?
It sounds a bit far-fetched.
However, for such a small device, it kicks out a lot of functionality. It really does seem to radiate a sense of calm, converting that thirsty energy intake into a really lovely energy output.
There are a fair few audio options available through the app. As above, this is all incredibly easy to use and navigate. You can sample tracks before downloading them and I’m pretty certain there should be something for everyone here.
I took a wide sample from the library, using a little bit of everything until I found what I liked (not that I particularly disliked or failed to connect with any of them). It will all ultimately come down to individual preference, but I’m a sucker for forest sounds. Their rainforest selection was like catnip to me.
Audio in place, you’re set up for a really full-bodied, well-rounded sensory experience. Lie on your back. I would recommend a yoga mat on a hard floor with some subtle incense going, though simply lying on your bed will do the trick.
Either way, lying on your back allows the device to best calibrate itself. It uses its own weight to pulse its low frequency vibrations through your chest and into your body. These pulses correspond to the audio you’ve selected and can range from gentle and relaxing to actually quite invigorating.
It may feel funny at first. It is an odd proposition, after all – lie on your back as this pebble rumbles on your chest. But you should find yourself sinking into it quite quickly. I did. And when I did, I found my whole mood and mindset changing.
I used it with simple earbuds, which really allowed me to tune out the external world. This combined with the audio, the eye mask, and the pulses, brought me into a meditative state far more quickly and with far less effort (if ‘effort’ is the right word?) than usual. It is more effective than simply following guided meditation or zen practices, or whatever flavor of meditation you tend towards.
I tried a few different timespans out for my sessions, ranging from 10 minutes to half an hour. Obviously, the half hour will give you the most benefit. This is where I found myself most frequently returning. However, it’s far from necessary. If you can, put in a couple of 30 minute sessions here or there. Also feel free to jump into it for ten minutes during your lunch break or before bed. You will benefit in all cases.
It’s easy to use and a joy to live with. I would recommend it to anyone.
Where do I place the Sensate device?
The device comes with a lanyard that you wear around your neck. Ostensibly, this is all you need to worry about. Put it around your neck, keep it rested against your chest, and you are good to go.
However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind.
Firstly, you ideally want it around the centerline of your collar bone, 2-3 centimeters below the top of the bone. Secondly, it works best if you’re lying on your back. This allows the device’s own weight to sit on your breastbone, allowing for the pulses to transmit smoothly, evenly, and with the most optimal amount of force into your body.
You can use it on top of clothing or on bare skin. For women, it should hang between your breasts.
What does it feel like?
The Sensate 2 is a little odd feeling to begin with. This soon goes, of course, and is actually really very pleasant. However, it does take some getting used to. It works by emitting low-frequency pulses that enter your body via conduction through your breastbone. This will turn your thoracic cavity into a bit of a resonating chamber, using its natural acoustics as a force multiplier.
All told, this will feel a bit like a pleasant, low-level hum that rumbles faintly through your chest. You can adjust intensity to suit your own personal taste.
How long does the battery last?
The battery isn’t the longest living in the world – it takes a lot of power to deliver those infrasonic pulses. If you go with the 10 to 20 minute sessions, a full charge should just about last you a week. I tended to go for 30-minute sessions and had to charge a couple of times per week. However, it charges quickly, coming to full power in around 3 hours, so it’s easy enough to manage and live with.
Can I have the app on more than one phone?
You can download the app onto as many different devices as you like. However, much like Netflix or Spotify subscriptions and their ilk, you can only use it on one device at a time. Make sure you exit the app when you’re done so that you can switch between devices if you need to.
I would very much recommend Sensate 2 to anybody looking to relax more with a device that is easy to use and adaptable to any mood, requirement, or timescale. It’s simple, quick to set up, easy to use, and incredibly lovely to live with. You do need to perhaps keep an open mind. As above, it’s an odd proposition. However, if a skeptic like me can get on board after just a few uses, you should do just fine.
It’s not the cheapest device in the world. Though I think it sits at a very reasonable price point for its quality and utility, it is still an investment.
This will make it an unworkable option for many. It will take a deep breath and a bit of thought before you buy. But I would urge you to do so if your budget permits. It won’t just relax you. As above, it will change your relationship to stress for the better.