Breathing with moonbird, how does it work?

May 3rd, 2022,

7 min read

Breathing with moonbird, how does it work?featured image

Controlling your breath helps reconnect the mind with the body. That’s why we developed moonbird, the world’s first breathing tool that fits in the palm of your hand and guides you through doing slow breathing exercises. With moonbird, you can lower your stress levels and start relaxing with simple breathing exercises, whenever, wherever.

How exactly does moonbird work? Let us explain a bit more and take you through the frequently asked questions.

What can I train with moonbird?

Moonbird is first and foremost a physical breath guide: moonbird expands and contracts in your hand. Simply follow its rhythm with your breathing and you'll be more relaxed in just a few minutes. We also provide real-time biofeedback via the moonbird app so you can see the impact of the exercises on your body.

How do we do this? Using a built-in heart rhythm sensor we measure your heart rhythm and determine heart rhythm variability. We also calculate your level of ‘heart coherence’, which indicates how synchronous your heart beats together with your breathing during the exercises.

How can I keep track of my biofeedback scores?

You can see the effects of your breathing exercise on your body both during and after the exercise, in the stats section of the app.

Stats during exercise: HR, HRV and heart coherence. HR and HRV are indicated in numbers & graphs, level of coherence is indicated as:

Balanced Almost in balance Not in balance

Stats after exercise: HR, HRV, and heart coherence. HR and HRV are indicated in numbers & graphs, level of coherence is indicated as:

Dark blue = you are breathing nicely coherently and your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are in balance. Blue = you are well on your way to balanced breathing. Light blue = you have unbalanced breathing.

What does HRV mean?

Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Our heart does not beat to a fixed, regular rhythm like a metronome. Rather, the rhythm of a healthy heart is irregular, with the intervals between successive heartbeats constantly varying. This variation between heartbeats is called heart rate variability, or HRV for short.

Read more about HRV and how you can improve it.

What is heart coherence?

Heart coherence is the degree of synchronization between your heart rate and your respiratory rate. Heart coherence is an indication of whether your breathing and heart rhythm coincides nicely. When you breathe coherently, your heart rate changes in sync with your breathing: your heart rate speeds up on the inhale and slows down again on the exhale.

Read more about heart coherence and how you can improve it.

How is HRV measured (by moonbird)?

There are many different ways to calculate HRV, such as time-domain, or frequency-domain analysis. We use the formula HRmax - HRmin (the difference between the tops of 2 successive heartbeats). The HRV scale is expressed in heartbeats (bpm, beats per minute).

Scientific research shows that this formula is the most appropriate for calculating the influence of breathing on HRV. This may differ from other wearables where a different formula is used, e.g. RMSSD (the average time variation across several heartbeats), which is expressed in milliseconds, and where a value is between 0-100 ms.

If, for example, your heart rate slows down from 70 to 50 bpm during one breathing cycle, the difference will be20 bpm. Based on our calculations, the HRV typically fluctuates between 0 and 20bpm, with higher being better.

How do I interpret my HR en HRV scores?

The HR graph should fluctuate (up when you breathe in & down when you breathe out) indicating constant variation in your heart rate in sync with your breathing.

The HRV graph should be going up, indicating that your HRV is increasing throughout the exercise. Based on our calculations, the HRV typically fluctuates between 0 and 20bpm, with higher being better. An ideal graph could look as follows:

The colors in the coherence graph in the app indicate how coherent you are breathing through the following distribution:

Dark blue = you are breathing nicely coherently and your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are in balance. Blue = you are well on your way to balanced breathing, good job! Light blue = you have unbalanced breathing, keep on practicing.

What are good and bad scores? What is a healthy HRV?

Determining a ‘normal’ range is difficult: your own minimum and maximum values depend on several factors, such as your age, hormones, stress levels, circadian rhythm, lifestyle, and general health. Therefore, it is best to compare your numbers with your own baseline values, not with others. Based on our calculations, the HRV typically fluctuates between 0 and 20bpm, with higher being better.

You might ask yourself: "Is this a good HRV score? Am I making any progress?"

When it comes to your HRV score, keep in mind that it is more important to develop your own personal baseline than to compare yourself with the general population. As mentioned, HRV scores depend on many factors and therefore vary greatly compared to other people. This is why it is far better to compare yourself to who you were yesterday than to who others are today.

Moonbird is not intended for continuously tracking your HRV throughout the day. You can however use it to calculate your baseline HRV. By doing your breathing exercise with our device at the same time every day, such as in the morning immediately upon waking, you can see how your HRV is improving over time. Since HRV is such a sensitive measure, it might take a while before you will see improvements. It can take weeks, sometimes even months. This is completely normal. Don't let this discourage you from practicing your breathing!

How can I improve my HRV score?

Breathing slowly is one of the best ways to increase HRV and reduce stress. Of course, if your HRV is rather low, it doesn't mean you're doing ‘bad’. First, take a look at what your HRV is when you're not paying attention to your breathing. Then you can look for the moonbird exercise that works best for you to get that HRV as high as possible.

We would recommend starting with 5 minutes, three times a day, so for example in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening before going to bed. Three times five minutes is a great start, from here you can build it up and start noticing your progress. Good to know: the beauty of calming breathing exercises is that it is never too often or for too long. So if you want to practice longer or more often, that can only be beneficial!

Can I see my average HRV, and my progression?

Currently, there are no progression reports in the app. We are working on a new version of the app where this will be implemented. We expect to roll out this feature soon. So be sure to keep an eye on our newsletter as we will announce such updates there.

What is a 'streak' and a 'best sequence'?

Your streak represents the number of consecutive days you have practiced. If you for example breathe for 4 consecutive days from today and then miss 1 day, your streak will be 4 days. After this, the count starts again at 0. So if you practice for 10 consecutive days after that, your streak will become 10, and this will also become your new best streak (if 10 is your maximum streak).

More questions?

Feel free to ask us anything via hello@moonbird.life. We’re here to guide you.

By combining the intuitive breathing guidance with the biofeedback, moonbird helps you to connect your mind and body and calm down, or fall asleep faster. Whenever, wherever. Did you know you can try moonbird for 14 days, risk-free? Order yours now.

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