Big Difference In Hrv Sense App And Inner Balance App



  • Thanks Guys, very useful information!

  • You are most welcome Moodswing!


    So I don't seem too biased in favor of Marco Altini's apps, here are some of the other iPhone apps I've tried.  


    1.  BreatheSync (Stillworks) - a great HRV based breath pacer.  Very minimal, nice design.  I used this for quite a while, but eventually dropped it in favor of HeartRate+ because it provided more options and more feedback.  If minimalism and elegance are your thing, this is your app.

    2.  Stress Doctor (Azumio) - this is still an excellent app.  It can be hard to figure out how to get a high score (yin-yang's), but as a visual tool to see your heart rate go up and down, this one is perfect.  Doesn't generate any HRV data like RMSSD.  Works fairly well to practice coherence.  I would like to see it updated for larger screen iPhone's.

    3.  Inner Balance (Heart Math) - probably the best coherence trainer.  Downsides are price, requiring an external sensor, and lack of providing true HRV data.  


    Disclosure for why I like Marco's stuff so much is that he's an indie developer, but also a PhD candidate.   His PhD focus is "to develop algorithms able to derive individualized assessment of physical activity behavior (activity type recognition, energy expenditure estimation) and health markers (cardiorespiratory fitness estimation) in free living conditions, using wearable sensors".  In other words, he's a smart, motivated, passionate guy, and i think he's trying to help us all.   

  • what would you say are the main differences between his various apps? i got the HRV4Training one, 3 more days before i have a baseline for that. but there are a few are they different? its kinda hard to tell just  by reading the descriptions what the value of each one is. 

  • 1.  HRV4Training - Daily AM measure of HRV for athletic or other training

    2.  Camera Heart Rate Variability - True HRV using iPhone camera without need for external sensor

    3.  Heart Rate Variability Logger - same as Camera HRV, but for use with a bluetooth chest strap.  Good for continuous monitoring (like during an event you want to track

    4.  Stressed Out - Similar to HRV4Training, but designed to use to coach decreasing psychological stress.  I tried it but found that I didn't need it, so I can't comment much on this one

    5.  Activity App - Multi tracker.  Requires at least iPhone 5s for Activity tracking.  I downloaded this one, but never had a need for it yet so I deleted it from my phone.


    The reason they can be so different is that they are totally different measurements.  With the Inner Balance, Heart Math is measuring how smoothly your heartrate increases as you breathe in and decreases as you breathe out.  While this absolutely decreases your stress and sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight), it is not a direct measure of true HRV.  Sweetbeat/HRV sense get the stress score most likely from the RMSSD (root mean square of standard deviation between heartbeats), which has been shown in research literature as a fairly accurate surrogate for parasympathetic nervous system tone (opposite of fight or flight).  I've tested probably a dozen HRV related apps and read everything I could get my hands on, and this is my conclusion. 




    Hi Gabe, it's not the RMSSD that's used for stress monitoring in SweetBeat, it's the ratio of LF to HF - thus balance of sympathetic vs. parasympathetic as you pointed out.


    I interviewed Ronda Collier (CEO sweetbeat) for the Quantified Body podcast earlier this week, we talked about all the metrics and got into a lot of detail about pulling them apart and using them - I'll post up a link when I publish it.

    The Quantified Body Podcast 


    Gain Confidence in What You Invest Your Time & Money In.

    Learn from Data-Driven Experiments using New Tools & Tactics to Improve Health, Performance and Longevity

  • Thanks Damien.  Looking forward to checking out your podcast.  


    I saw that as well about Sweetbeat using the LF/HF.  Did Rhonda mention why they chose that metric over RMSSD?  I've seen more research literature about RMSSD.  I'm curious what her take on the advantage of either approach is.  Maybe at some point I'll do some comparisons of my own data and see what my relationship between the time-domain and frequency-domain measures gets me.  


    As you can probably tell, I'm fairly pleased with a daily AM RMSSD reading for 60 seconds.  I have found it totally useful.  

  • Hi Gabe,


    I am curious about the differences you have seen between  Marco Altini's apps and SweetBeat/Hrv Sense.


    I use SweetBeat in the morning when I wake up with their 3 minute session that measures HRV and that also gives you the history of your other morning HRV sessions over time.  It does seem to correlate well with good sleep/lack of sleep etc...


    I don't look much at their stress score as it doesn't seem to correlate well with how I feel about my stress level.


    The HRV number produced by SweetBeat is based on the RMSSD and so is the one by Marco Altini right?


    Have you seen some big differences between the HRV number calculated by SweetBeat versus the one calculated by Marco's app?

  • Ioan,


    I think they do a similar job in terms of quality of information.  If you want to record data while exercising, or over time, I would go with SweetBeat.  If you want to take a simple spot reading for 1-5 minutes without external hardware, I would use Marco's apps.  I would break that down into using HRV4Training if you want an app that graphs HRV over time and correlates it with training by design.  I would use Camera HRV if you want more flexibility and more data, and feel like you have a better understanding of how to interpret HRV metrics (or you want to learn).



  • NickatNickat
    edited September 2014

    Goldmine of info on this thread. Thanks. The android versions seem more reliable than in the past and that has rekindled the flame to try them out again.

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    Just scanned through this thread... FYI  all your questions are FAQs in this forum, Daves podcast and on the sweetbeat homepage as well... Stress can be seen as something positive as excitement... so this is why HRV and Stress are seen as two different things..


    The algorithms for the apps are different. all apps I know go from 1-100 but it doesn't mean HRV 100 on app a is necessarily 100 on app b. sweetbeat just changed their algorithm because people reached the 100 score and couldn't go beyond...


    HRV and Coherence are two different thing. HRV is your heart rate variablity. The ability to change time between heart beats quickly. Coherence is basically a state of mind that has positive influence on you HRV.


    See it as the opposite state of fight or flight mode which probably isn't correct but kind of what you are trying to achieve by being in a coherent state.... :) We should make a sticky for these questions.



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  • Hello,

    I would like to use HeartMath for its healt benefits.

    Is there an app out there that does the same thing as HeartMath and does it as well?

    An app that attracts me is called EliteHRV. It has guided breathing among other things. Does its guided breathing do the same thing as what HeartMath does?

    FYI, the last comment in this discussion was two and a half years ago.

    Thank you!

  • dazdaz today is a good day ✭✭✭

    Hi @Gabe which HRV app are you using these days? if any

    fake it till you make it

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