Total Brain Introduces Heart Rate Variability Measurement and Stress Management Tools

Enhanced product capabilities help develop new neural pathways to improve adaptability to stress


SAN FRANCISCO, October 19, 2021 – Total Brain, a mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform, today announced the introduction of the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Measurement to its robust, clinically-validated mobile platform. HRV works in concert with Total Brain’s Resonant Breathing exercise, offering real-time stress measurement and the ability to show the effectiveness of breathing exercises on stress levels.


Regularly taking the 40 second ± HRV reading will reflect the extent of a user’s calmness and overall readiness to tackle upcoming challenges. By using Resonant Breathing with HRV as needed in times of stress, and as part of daily practices of relaxation, users can help their brains develop new neural pathways that better manage stress. By taking regular measurements and tagging to specific events or activities users gain insights into the factors that impact their ability to manage stress and how that ability changes over time.


“The introduction of Heart Rate Variability Measurement, coupled with Total Brain’s Resonant Breathing exercise, reflects our commitment to leveraging the intersection of neuroscience and technology to continually enhance our product capabilities,” noted Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. “The ability to measure stress in the moment and then see the impact of mindfulness and breathing exercises on stress levels has tremendous behavior change benefits. This is truly game-changing.”


HRV – How It Works


Unlike heart rate, which focuses on measuring the average beats per minute, HRV measures the specific variation in time between successive heart beats. Higher heart rate variability is associated with low stress and better wellness. Conversely, stress is strongly related to lower variability in the length of beat-to-beat intervals.


Total Brain transforms the user’s mobile phone’s camera into an exceedingly accurate heart rate measurement device.


  • The light from the flash emits an infrared light to the blood vessels in the user’s fingertip.
  • The camera measures the reflected light from the dilating and contracting blood vessels to measure and record each heartbeat and the time intervals between each beat.
  • The level of beat to beat variability is then calculated using a measure called RMSSD (Root Mean Square of Successive Differences), which specifically measures variation of beats that occur next to each other.
  • This RMSSD index is then compared to Total Brain’s normative database to provide a score from 1 to 100 that reflects a user’s current level of calm and focus compared to others the same age.

Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO, said, “It’s clear that there will be lasting impact on mental health in the workplace due to the pandemic. The prevalence of trauma for employees is real, but so are the improvements in focus and resources by employers to support mental health and wellbeing. On balance we may be better in understanding and supporting mental health as we move forward.”


Resonant Breathing – How It Works


Resonant Breathing is based on established science which shows that breathing at six breaths per minute strengthens blood pressure reflex (called the baroreflex) and sends messages to the brain to increase HRV. Resonant Breathing practice boosts calm and focus in all situations, by directly controlling the body’s automatic responses and calming them down. Resonant Breathing can also be used as an “in-the-moment” circuit breaker to reduce stress, and in cases of addiction, to quell cravings. The exercise uses visual and audio guides to help users achieve this optimal state of breathing, creating a happier and healthier mind and body.


Total Brain’s HRV Measurement and Resonant Breathing tools are available to users of the Total Brain app at no additional cost, providing additional benefit to Total Brain’s clinical, corporate and affinity customers, as well as their respective constituents. For more information, visit Total Brain here.


About Total Brain


Total Brain is based in San Francisco and publicly listed in Sydney, AUS (ASX:TTB). Total Brain is a mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform that has more than 1M registered users. Benefits for employers and payers include better mental healthcare access, lower costs and higher productivity. Benefits for providers include improved patient outcomes, tracking of evidence-based outcomes across the continuum of care, and a reduction in clinician fatigue.


Media Contact:
Kelly Faville
Rocket Social Impact

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