Research results that ``balls that change shape according to breathing'' reduce anxiety

As we navigate our stressful modern world, it's important to find ways to reduce our ever-increasing levels of stress and anxiety. A research team led by

Alex Farrall , a doctoral student at the University of Bath, UK, found that using a ``ball that contracts and expands with breathing'' can help maintain concentration and reduce anxiety. I reported it.

Manifesting Breath: Empirical Evidence for the Integration of Shape-changing Biofeedback-based Artefacts within Digital Mental Health Interventions | Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Breathe! The shape-shifting ball that supports mental health

This Shape-Shifting Ball Can Reduce Anxiety by 75%, Experiment Shows : ScienceAlert

In recent years, it is known that deep concentration on one's breathing relieves anxiety and increases happiness, and mindfulness breathing methods are also used for cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma treatment. However, it is quite difficult to maintain a state of concentrating only on your breathing, and there are many people who say, ``If you close your eyes silently, you will inevitably think about irrelevant things.'' Inability to focus on breathing undermines mental health interventions and prevents the full benefits of breathing exercises.

Therefore, Faral et al.'s research team developed a ``ball that contracts with breathing'' to support mindful breathing. This ball, named 'Physical Artefact for Well-being Support (PAWS)', collects data on breathing patterns with sensors attached to the body of the subject and inflates the ball. It gives tactile feedback by shrinking and shrinking.

You can see what kind of ball PAWS actually is by watching the following video.

The shape-shifting ball that supports mental health-YouTube

A woman sitting on a bench with her eyes closed is holding a PAWS.

It is a mechanism that converts the subject's lung activity collected by the sensor into air pressure, and the ball expands and contracts according to breathing.

In an experiment with 58 subjects, the research team compared ``a group that breathed according to only the voice guidance of the meditation app'' and ``a group that breathed by combining the voice guidance of the meditation app and PAWS''. As a result, it was found that the group that did not use the ball had a 31% reduction in anxiety, while the group that used the ball had a significantly higher anxiety reduction rate of 75%. Subjects seemed to be able to concentrate more on breathing by using the ball, and the occurrence of disturbing thoughts decreased. People who used the ball along with the meditation app audio also had significantly higher changes in heart rate activity, which indicates resilience from stress and emotional regulation.

Farrall plans to conduct larger-scale trials of PAWS involving more medical professionals, as well as work on developing a portable version that will be easier to use in real-world clinical settings.

Although this research paper has not been peer-reviewed at the time of writing the article, the research content is the international conference on human-computer interaction held in April 2023 ' CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems ' It was announced in

``By giving physical form to breathing, the ball increases self-awareness and engagement, which has positive effects on mental health,'' Farrall said. We hope that it will be one of the solutions for people of all ages.'

in Science,   Video, Posted by log1h_ik