Apple’s announcement of the Breathe app on WatchOS 3 may come across as odd. I mean, who needs a reminder to breathe? But a closer look will give you more clarity and understanding of how useful such an app could be.
Apple’s WatchOS 3 ‘Breathe App’ is an app that promotes deep breathing and is extremely useful during meditation.
Deep breathing is said to alleviate several common medical conditions such as high blood pressure, stress, depression and anxiety.
According to Dr. Herbert Benson from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital:
“Taking a moment every day to do some deep breathing can reduce stress, calm the body and mind as well as having long term health benefits. Deep breathing is one of the ways to evoke the Relaxation Response, which is the opposite reaction to stress.”
This is where WatchOS 3 Breathe app comes in.
WatchOS 3 Breathe App
These days using meditation apps like Headspace has become common. But many users find the voice guidance distracting.
Apple’s WatchOS 3 Breathe app offers a balance between having a guide but without the distracting voice ruining your attempt to meditate.
The WatchOS 3 Breathe app comes with default settings that prompt you to have a focused breathing session every four hours.
During a breathing session, you are guided through a series of deep breaths. By default, a one-minute breathing session has seven breaths.
This duration can be extended to more than one minute. Number of breaths can be decreased or increased.
Breathe notifications pop up to begin a breathing session. But you can snooze the session.
Once the session begins, the WatchOS 3 Breathe app tells you to “be still and bring attention to your breath.”
During the session, there are two things that happen simultaneously: Circles on the display and Haptic feedback.
If you prefer to keep your eyes open during the breathing session, you can look at the Apple Watch screen displaying mesmerizing circles that look like an unfurling flower. These circles gradually expand, along with feedback on the wrist, telling the user to slowly inhale.
If you prefer to keep your eyes closed and focus on your breathing, without having to look at the wrist, the Haptic feedback is more like a piano keys effect that begins fast and tapers down towards the end, similar to lungs filling to capacity. When the feedback begins, you inhale along with them and exhale when it ends. The intensity of this feedback can be adjusted.
After the session, you will see a summary screen with the data of number of sessions, the heart rate during the last session etc.
Click on the “Breathe Again” button if you wish to continue your sessions.
WatchOS 3 update will be available free for all Apple Watch owners, when it arrives this fall. Currently, the beta version of the OS is available for developers.