Handheld device gets to the heart of stress

Kiss your outdated squeezable stress ball goodbye, and welcome the emWave Personal Stress Reliever.

The sleek-looking rectangular handheld device--designed by Doc Childre, creator of the Institute of HeartMath and CEO of Quantum Intech--functions when you place your thumb on its red sensor. The tool purports to gauge your body's level of "coherence," or the way in which your systems are working together. Specifically, it monitors your heart rhythms and confirms when you are in the coherence mode.

emWave Personal Stress Reliever
Credit: Quantum Intech

With every heart beat, the emWave site explains, the heart transmits complex patterns of neurological, hormonal, pressure and electromagnetic information to the brain and throughout the body. As such, it is uniquely positioned as a powerful entry point into the communication network that connects body, mind, emotions and spirit.

Although the emWave tells you whether your center of balance is off, the gadget itself doesn't do anything to restore the equilibrium. Well, unless you count the Coherence Coach CD that comes with the device. It imparts various techniques for relieving stress and improving performance.

As if we weren't all stressed out enough, the $199 price tag isn't exactly soothing. But if you're ever wondering whether that feeling in the back of your neck is from stress or just the way you've been sleeping, this clever mechanism might just have the answer. If only there was a built-in massage feature.