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My Full Review Of The Muse Meditation Headbands

muse meditation headband

Written By Sean Grabowski

A passionate ambassador, educator and student of mindfulness and meditation. Advocate for unique experiences and life long learning.

March 26, 2020

What are Muse Headbands for?

The Muse Headband is a physical headband used for meditation and mindfulness. Both the Muse and the newer Muse 2 are worn around the head and are able to monitor the body feedback to provide the person in meditation with realtime information about their session. Depending on the model used, they provide charts on the feedback of heart rate, brainwave EEG patterns, breathing patterns and focus. This information is used to help meditators improve their practice by recognizing where they lost focus, why they lost focus and understanding via direct data & graphs how effective their session was in bringing calm and clarity to their mind.

What are the Benefits of Meditation?

Meditation is the ancient practice that in more recent years, is being understood as the total and complete workout for the mind that improves memory, focus, cognition, and problem-solving while decreasing anxiety, depression, stress, and reactivity. These benefits are widely studied and well understood in both the scientific as well as the spiritual community. Not only does meditation function largely as a figurative ‘bicep curl’ for the brain, strengthening it’s most important parts, it also serves the purpose of bringing much larger amounts of self-awareness into the minds of those who practice it. Meditation inherently involves quite a bit of solitude. In this regular solitude we become increasingly more attuned to our bodies and our minds. We learn and understand our ‘ticks’, learning more deeply where they come from and why they are there. This self-awareness can indeed help individuals make decisions in life that are more applicable to who they are as individuals. Each and every one of us is completely unique, and therefore shaping the unique lifestyle that is right for who we are is one of the most important things someone can do to be their best and most happy self. 

The Benefits of Muse Headbands

The Muse Headbands offer a unique set of benefits that have never been available to everyday meditators until now. By bringing body sensing technology to a personal level, these headbands give everyday people the ability to track their brain waves and their heart rate before, during and after their meditation sessions. Just like all areas of life, this feedback is information that allows us to understand the performance of our practice without a coach or teacher in the picture to point out our pain points. We can understand what areas of practice we need to hone or work on by simply looking at the charts in the Muse app after each session. Analyzing our own meditation performance is a quantitative way to improve an activity that has traditionally been almost entirely based on results that have been more emotional in nature that scientific/data-driven.

The Cost of Muse Meditation Headbands

Right now the cost of muse headbands ranges from $259.99 to $449.99 per device, depending on whether you want the older Muse 2 Headband or the new Muse S Headband. 

See more on the Muse Website where this screengrab was taken HERE

The Differences Between Muse, Muse 2 and Muse S Headbands

Firstly, it’s important to mention that the original Muse Headband is now out of production. Although it may be available at some retailers, it is no longer sold by Muse/Interaxon. The models that are currently still available are the Muse 2 Headband and the newest model, the Muse S Meditation. For myself personally, I’ve meditated many times using the Muse headband and the Muse 2 Headband. I am yet to try the Muse S headband, although I’m sure I will have the chance to test that one out soon through my local meditation group. Whenever that time comes I’ll update this article with my review. Below are features available on both of the versions of the Muse Headband that you can currently buy.

Muse 2

  • Mind sensing (EEG).
  • Heart Rate sensing (PPG).
  • Breath sensing (PPG, Accelerometer, Gyroscope).
  • Body sensing (Accelerometer, Gyroscope).
  • 5-hour battery life.
  • Made of flexible polycarbonate.
  • Meditation experiences include Muse essentials, mind, heart, breath, body.

Muse S

  • Mind sensing (EEG).
  • Heart Rate sensing (PPG).
  • Breath sensing (PPG, Accelerometer, Gyroscope).
  • Body sensing (Accelerometer, Gyroscope).
  • Go-to-sleep (EEG, PPG, Accelerometer, Gyroscope).
  • 10-hour battery life.
  • Made of comfort-fit fabric (90% rayon, 5% nylon, 5% spandex).
  • Meditation experiences include Muse essentials, mind, heart, breath, body, go-to-sleep.

My Honest Review Of The Original Muse Meditation Headband

This headband was the first tool I ever tried for enhancing my meditation practice. I tried and utilized this meditation headband both at Mindset Brain Gym here in Toronto for many sessions, as well as alone at my home. When initially putting the band on my head, this one synced quickly and remained stable throughout the meditation session. The EEG sensors did not seem entirely accurate, but the graphs displayed after each session always matched up with the experience I was having during my sit. I found this tool very good in observing the patterns of my mind after the fact but did not find it to be an essential part of my daily sit. The metrics it provided me with were not necessarily tidbits of information that would actually tangibly help me improve my meditations and were more so just interesting to look at after each session.

My Honest Review Of The Muse 2 Meditation Headband

This Meditation headband was indeed a great improvement on the original product. In comparison to the Muse 1, this headband was able to read EEG signals from the brain seemingly much more accurately and the inclusion of insights on heart rate and breath actually made it much more useful in improving meditative sits continuously through the biofeedback provided. This information helped in self-observation and in becoming breath aware during meditation sits the more I used the Muse 2. During setup, I did, however, find that this headband had difficulties syncing up and reading signals properly. In comparison to the original Muse Headband, I found that this headband actually did not stay connected to the biofeedback signals and I would often have my sits interrupted by the heart rate and/or EEG monitors losing their connection and halting the guided sit. Although I probably do actually have a larger head than most people which may have caused the sensors to sit more lightly than ideal on the surface of my forehead, this disconnection likely happened roughly one-quarter of the time I sat down to use the device. Overall, the Muse 2 was definitely a large improvement on the original. I am sure the disconnection issue was a large factor in the Muse team choosing to utilize a form-fitting headband for the newest Muse S Headband that just recently came out. Although I am yet to test this model, I am sure this would solve most of the problems with the shape of previous models.

How Muse Headbands Help Your Meditation Practice

  • Measuring Heart Rate
    • Breath and meditation are intrinsically tied to heart rate and the parasympathetic nervous system. When we are calm our heart rate decreases, and measuring this patterning provides valuable biofeedback for meditation.
  • Measuring Brain EEG
    • Being able to observe your own EEG patterns after meditation sessions helps to better understand the parts of our practice we can improve on and how far, of course, they took us from our intended line of focus.
  • Breathing Feedback
    • Muse headbands measure your heart rate, which allows you to later analyze your breath, and eventually become more breath aware in your meditation sits and regular practice.
  • Increases Focus
    • By understanding our biofeedback mechanisms and partnering this information with high quality guided meditation sessions, Muse tools are excellent for meditative performance, if that is what we are going for. 

The Muse Meditation Assistant App

One of the most important things to mention about the Muse, Muse 2 and Muse S Meditation Headbands is that to utilize guided them for guided meditation, you do have to download the Muse Meditation Assistant App. When you download the app, it comes with a small set of free guided meditations, and aside from these, the remainder of the sessions available require a subscription to unlock. The prices for the app are as follows:

Per month: $ 12.99 USD / $ 17.99 USD

Per year: $ 94.99 USD / $ 124.99 USD

muse meditation app

This subscription unlocks more than 300 guided meditations from dozens of notable meditation teachers from around the world. This allows you to test out a wide range of meditation styles, techniques and routines to analyze your biofeedback and diversify your regular practice. 

Summary of The Muse Meditation Headbands

Overall, I would say that Muse Meditation Headbands are easily the coolest technical tool I have ever tried when it comes to mindfulness and improving my own practice. The feedback aspect is incredibly interesting and actually provides a lot of great information about how my sessions went when all was said and done. These are the kinds of tools that truly helped me step up my game as well as my understanding of different techniques I often read and hear about on my own. In my sits, I was able to test techniques and later observe what kind of activity was occurring in my brain and body during each new aspect I tried. 

Who the Muse Headbands are for:

In my opinion, the Muse Headband is a great tool for new, beginning or intermediate meditators. For those who are more advanced, it may be cool to try, but if you are anything like myself and others who I have asked, you may feel that this is not necessary or interesting for you in the long term. However, for those who are in the earlier stages of their meditation practice, these headbands are an amazing way to get interested and excited about meditation. Not only do they help you understand you, your body and your technique, they give new meditators a way of accessing a huge variety of different kinds of meditations from different teachers, countries and with different goals. The pairing of the headband with a paid subscription is quite likely the perfect tool for entry-level individuals, and though they may seem expensive at first glance, they hardly compare the cost of a full-fledged introduction retreat where you would likely be spending a couple of thousand dollars to partake. 

Important Things to Consider if you are Looking at Buying one of the Muse Headbands:

  1. The cost of the headband alone is not how much you will have to spend if you are looking for the full experience. If you are going to buy the headband, the reality is that you also may as well go all the way in, and buy a subscription as well. Add roughly $100+ per year you think that you will use the headphones when planning out the expense.
  2. The first thing to consider is that these are an investment. Make sure you are aware that this is something that costs money, to supplement a practice that is inherently free. This is an investment in your own well being, which is in my eyes one of the best things you can possibly put your money toward.
  3. These headbands are not the cure to your meditation challenges. The Muse tools are there to hone your practice, but they are not a solution. Challenges in your practice will only be overcome through dedication, education, and practice.

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