Breathe Sync is one of a host of paced breathing apps on the iOS App Store. I have tried five different apps for the iPhone and Android whose aim is to bring the breath to an evenly paced level. The formats vary. A few just offer the pacing clock and you breathe in accordance with a visual representation of the in breath and the out breath. Others use the camera phone to measure some level of cardiac coherence and give feedback, either in real time or at the end of the session.
I like Breathe Sync because it has given me the fastest and most effective path to get into a high level of coherence. I use it now to “power up” when I need a boost to coherence. The interface is very straightforward:
The circle in the middle expands and contracts based on in the in and out breath respectively. The heart in the upper right pulses to let you know that the app is picking up your heart rate. And the timer on the bottom lets you know how much time until the end of the session. You have your finger on the camera so it is reading your heart rate. And here is where Breathe Sync is different – it changes your breath pattern based on the state of your heart rate. Coherence occurs when your heart rhythm and your breath rhythm are moving on the same cycle and Breathe Sync gets you there faster as it moves your breath rhythm to your heart rhythm.
How much so? I measured my coherence using Heartmath Pro and for 25 sessions would fire up Breathe Sync for a 1 minute session when I was in low coherence according to the Heartmath coherence score. The average Heartmath coherence score increased was 2.7 points per Breathe Sync one minute session. From experience, that is a large increase. When I used Heartmath’s own breath pacer in comparison 1 minute sessions after hitting a low coherence score the improvement was .75 points per session.
The difference in approach is that Heartmath does not change the breathing based on your heart rhythm. You breath steadily and eventually the heart catches up. It works but it is much slower.
As with all disciplines there is a mixture of tools that gives good results. Heartmath gives a coherence score that lets you know how you are doing. Breathe Sync gets you to coherence faster than any other approach. And SweetBeat Life allows you to take detailed and accurate telemetry while on the road. Currently I use all three to get the best results.