Hapbee review & VIP discount
Hapbee claims to be able to change your mood or feelings by emitting low wavelength electromagnetic signals by means of a powered headband controlled by an app but does it work?
I couldn’t turn down the chance to write a review of Hapbee, a somewhat unusual wearable that inadvertently also enabled me to fulfil a childhood dream and look a little like Geordi La Forge from Star Trek. Continuing the Star Trek theme, regular readers here will better know me as Captain Sceptical rather than Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise, thus you wouldn’t be surprised that I really, really (did I say “really”?) expected to find that Hapbee did absolutely nothing.
Here is my summary review of Hapbee, if you scroll further down you will see I cover many aspects in much more detail, including competing products, my tests and the science. Even Captain Sceptical listens to the science.
If you just came here for the VIP Discount then this link gets you at least 25% off: hapbee.com
Verdict - Surprisingly, I found Hapbee does change my mood states.
Price - 75%
Build Quality & Design - 80%
Features, Including App - 85%
Does Hapbee Work?
My sleep ring stats suggest Hapbee gives me more consistent sleep and more deep sleep. My anecdotal evidence is that the ALERT mode helps me better concentrate, focus and clears my morning brain fog.
Hapbee uses low-frequency waves to affect the biochemical ‘behaviour’ of molecules that might be associated with the moods that humans experience.
I approached Hapbee with extreme scepticism. Yet, after over 20 hours of use (and counting), I’m pretty sure it does ‘something’ although it might not correspond exactly with the mood change I expected. We are all different and perhaps Hapbee could affect each of us differently.
My sleep stats tell me that Hapbee gives me a more consistent night’s sleep and more deep sleep. I would add to that that I generally have felt better in the mornings when I use Hapbee to aid sleep.
The other Hapbee modes seem to all affect me in a similar and subtle way, I would describe the feeling as ‘lifting the early morning fog‘. I deliberately avoided reading any of the product claims before testing Hapbee and that was the phrase that I came up with by myself and it is a near-identical phrase that Hapbee does, in fact, use in their marketing!
The non-sleep effects are subtle-to-noticeable and there may even be more, longer-term cumulative effects that I haven’t yet experienced.
The physical product/app itself functions in an easy-to-use way. It seems flexible enough to be used in several wear positions as well as being able to adapt to most head circumferences. Obviously, it does look a bit silly when you wear it on your forehead. The packaging, band and app could all be better made but they are fine.
I suspect that Hapbee is the sort of product that people either intuitively believe in or not. I am (was?) definitely in the latter camp and would never have tried Hapbee were I not a tech reviewer-cum-athlete. Now I’m just glad that I’ve found a new way to improve my sleep and focus more!
- Hapbee seems to affect my cognitive states to some degree
- I’m reasonably sure it positively affects my sleep
- Can be worn on the head or put under your pillow or worn like a necklace.
- Bluetooth and the light can both be disabled when in use.
- Changes to cognitive states are subtle, don’t expect to become super-happy within 5 minutes.
- I could just be imagining it all
- There could be a placebo effect.
- I would prefer a night time limit longer than 4-hours
How does Hapbee work?
I guess it’s easier to accept that ingested or injected medication will affect your brain function more readily than a magnetic signal. Yet some medications aimed at brain function have no effect on many people whilst working on others.
We could all probably accept that a pigeon has an inbuilt, biological magnetic compass and so can detect magnetic fields to some degree, yet Kirschvink (link: bbc.co.uk) monitored changes to alpha waves in the brain and claimed to find that humans can also detect changes in magnetic fields around them.
More specifically than that, Hapbee claim that specific frequencies will interact with specific molecules and affect their behaviour (think of behaviour as the clustering of molecules)
For example, if you told me that caffeine works by blocking the adenosine A2 receptors then I’d agree as I already knew about caffeine from an athletic perspective! You would probably be inclined to agree that there is a linkage between a drug (caffeine) and a receptor (adenosine A2)? Now, Hapbee would jump in here and point out this research
“A magnetic field at 75 Hz (3.5 mT/35 Gauss) induced the clustering and activation of these receptors in neutrophils (PMID: 11976268; British Journal of Pharmacology), acting like the adenosine molecule, but without any adenosine being present”
So, there we have it. Some science says it might be possible to use a 75Hz magnetic field to have a similar effect to a ProPlus caffeine tablet.
Extrapolate that reasoning and we might come up with a broad theory that it might be feasible that other magnetic frequencies affect other molecules. Now you have the basis for believing that Hapbee MIGHT be able to deliver other biophysical-level effects than just a caffeine buzz, it just needs the science to prove or disprove the theory.
INTERESTING READING: UK’s NHS rolls out a gadget to zap away Cluster Headache Pain
This brings me to these links that Hapbee scientifically cite in support of their work, I’ve only skimmed the abstracts and I don’t claim to be a scientist nor to be able to understand the detail.
- Magnetic field desensitizes 5-HT1B receptor in brain: pharmacological and functional studies
- EGF receptor clustering is induced by a 0.4 mT power frequency magnetic field and blocked by the EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor PD153035
- Activation of the EGFR signalling pathway (after the magnetic field induced clustering) in a cell culture system (Peer Reviewed)
- doi: 10.3109/10799893.2016.1147583
- doi: 10.1080/09553002.2018.1466208
- doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205569
- doi: 10.33594/000000062
- doi: 10.1002/bem.22249
3 studies showing that waveforms can selectively stimulate biological systems are shown below, although note that Butters appears to have connections with Hapbee
- [Butters 2014] Using a signal derived from the small molecule taxane paclitaxel. An ulRFE signal was able to promote tubulin polymerization as effectively as a commercially available taxane.
- [Butters 2017] Using a signal derived from a small interfering RNA for the MAA7 enzyme in the algae model system Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Algae exposed to the ulRFE signal selectively reduced growth rates through the expected pathway.
- [Ulasoz 2017] Using a signal derived from the siRNA of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Cells exposed to this EGFR siRNA ulRFE signal saw a 30–70% reduction of EGFR mRNA expression and ~60% reduction in EGFR protein expression compared to control-treated cells.
These are additional academic literature on magnetic fields in biological systems
- the ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) model, modifications of the ICR model (Zhadin and Fesenko 1990; ISSN: 0955-9701),
- the ion parametric resonance model (Blackman, Blanchard et al. 1994; ISSN: 0197-8462),
- the Lorentz-Langevin model for Larmor frequencies (Muehsam and Pilla 2009, doi: 10.1002/bem.20493)
- the resonant recognition model (Cosic, 1994; doi: 10.1109/10.335859).
Unboxing & Contents – Hapbee Review
You get the device and a standard charging cable. The stand is purely for display, not charging and there is a carry bag.
- Hapbee Device
- USB-C charging cable
- Hapbee display stand
- Hapbee travel bag
- Free Hapbee app (iOS or Android)
- Manufacturer limited warranty
Hapbee App Screens
Using the app is easy as shown on the following screens. You can start your session and set its duration at the bottom of the SIGNALS screen after you have chosen the signal you prefer. The light and Bluetooth setting can also be changed and will reset the signal timer.
The product has a good spec for its intended purpose. We always like more battery life of course.
- Colour: black
- Materials: ABS, TPE – a flexible band
- 15mm thick x 200mm x 200mm (approx, flexible oval shape)
- Internal circumference: approx 620mm, adjustable
- Size: regular
- Weight: 5.1oz
- Battery capacity: 720mAh
- Battery life: > 8 hours
- Battery charge time: 2.5 hours
- Wireless connectivity: BLE
- Wireless range: 30ft
- Output spectrum 0-22kHz (FCC Certified)
- FDA ruled for general wellness
Hapbee is very simple to charge via the supplied USB-C cable and to use with the app. Pairing is by BLE within the app and is reliable on iOS.
You can wear Hapbee on your head, around your neck or under your pillow. I have a big head and Hapbee fits nicely ‘as-is’. If you have a small head, you are meant to squeeze the flexible part of the band to reduce the circumference or you could just wear it around your neck.
The app works in a very obvious way. You choose the MOOD and can change the duration from the default one hour to between 15 minutes and 4 hours.
Hapbee has a light on it to indicate it is functioning and both that light and the Bluetooth signal can be temporarily disabled for when you wear it, if that’s what you want.
There is a buzz at the start and end of the period of operation…and that’s it. Simple.
The MOOD or MODE you choose can be one of these 6 and here are the claimed uses of each.
- “Calm” instead of taking something for mental stress
- “Alert” for afternoons when it’s too late for coffee
- “Sleepy” instead of taking melatonin or other sleep aids
- “Focus” for long workdays
- “Happy” instead of alcohol or social drugs
- “Relax” for relaxing and when you have physical anxiety in the body
Please note that I’m not claiming any of my tests have any scientific validity whatsoever. My tests are merely about my personal perception based on a variety of uses which could be wrong or there could be a placebo effect.
I would say my approach to the first of my tests was ‘Lol, this just isn’t going to do anything.‘ Yet, after 5-10 minutes, I really did feel ‘subtly different’. From that point onwards my cynicism was replaced by healthy scepticism and I was more like ‘Hmmm, maybe there could be something here‘. After over 20 hours of use, it’s ‘Hapbee definitely does something for me‘. Let’s talk a bit more about what the ‘something’ is.
I tested 4 of the 6 Hapbee modes, spending the most time with FOCUS and SLEEPY modes. I tried HAPPY a few times because I just wanted it to work, I’d love to be able to help find a product that could make the place a happier world. But…
SLEEPY MODE Testing
I often have difficulty in getting to sleep.
I’m reasonably sure that Hapbee delivers something positive to me on the sleep front. I don’t feel any different in SLEEP mode but using Hapbee 15-30 minutes before I try to get to sleep seems to then get me to sleep quickly immediately afterwards.
You can see from the second of these images from my Sleep Ring tracker that Hapbee might have helped me to quickly get into an extended deep sleep of over 3 hours. I then woke up and found getting back to sleep difficult for another sleep stage.
The third night is where I wore Hapbee for about 10 minutes before putting it under my pillow with the 4-hour SLEEP mode enabled.
Look closely again at those images
- No Hapbee (typical night, just happens to be the previous one) – clearly there is very little deep sleep throughout
- Hapbee Before Sleep – clearly there is a 3-4 hour boost in deep sleep at the start
- Hapbee during sleep – clearly the effect on deep sleep is the same for the first 3-4 hours and then the extended Hapbee usage may also have reduced the amount of wake time
Note: We all need each sleep type
Those are typical results of the limited number of extra nights’ sleep data I have too. There IS something positive happening here.
FOCUS MODE Testing
I’m a night owl and definitely not a morning person. I need coffee to wake up. A normal morning for me feels like the mists have descended inside my head. Hapbee does seem to clear the mist and help me focus on work eg right NOW as I write this! I would describe the Hapbee effect as more like the sun starting to break through on a misty Autumn/Fall morning rather than being miraculously transported to mid-day in the middle of summer. I would say Hapbee makes no difference to the quality of work I churn out but rather seems to help me produce more quantity by focusing better.
HAPPY MODE Testing
This didn’t make me feel any more or less happy! That said, there was a lightening of my mood similar to the FOCUS mode.
Musing about naturally occurring serotonin/5-HT which is thought to regulate mood. Prescribed medications that are so-called serotonin-boosting increase serotonin levels gradually by stopping reabsorption after they have transmitted signals between synapses. It takes WEEKS for prescribed antidepressants such as Sertraline/Zoloft to work in this way. Perhaps Hapbee is like the happy pills and takes a while to kick in?
ALERT MODE Testing
Semi-seriously! – My first ever use with hapbee resulted in a crossword PB of 4:27, typically I’m a minute slower and typical best times are around 5:00, I have only ever achieved similar times on 4 or 5 occasions over the last year. Yes, I appreciate that you now realise how interesting a life I really have ;-). This particular puzzle may have been a tad easier than normal but it was the next one on the list, so I guess that’s kinda random. After my crossword glory I further livened up the evening and helped out with the group jigsaw puzzle (it’s replaced the Chardonnay during lockdown) apart from the obvious giggles from the others seeing me wearing the Hapbee, I was soon told to slow down and was half-heartedly accused on being a bit manic and puzzling faster than I normally do. (I really need to get out more). I didn’t feel alert per se but seemed to externalise different behaviour, maybe I was alert?
In my experience, the ALERT MODE produced similar feelings to FOCUS Mode
CALM MODE & RELAX MODE Testing
I didn’t try these. I’m normally a calm & relaxed person.
It’s tricky to perform a blind test as the effects from the Hapbee take ‘a while’ to work and Hapbee physically buzzes when it starts. So a family member helped out and set the Hapbee running (or not) in a different part of the house before bringing it to me. The light was on even if the Hapbee was/was not emitting a signal. I instructed the other person to either use FOCUS mode or have no mode activated. I performed a single test once only on each of 3 consecutive mornings just in case one test affected a subsequent one.
In 3 out of 3 tests I correctly identified when Hapbee was on/off – twice on and once-off. (Yes, I know that’s not scientific proof)
In about 1 out of 5 usages I get a very mild tingling sensation on my forehead about 1cm above the Hapbee.
Organisation & History
Some commenters on this product have links to the company. For example, Dave Asprey is on the advisory board to Hapbee. I have no links with the company other than to produce this review.
Hapbee was publically announced on 17 Feb 2020 and raised over $500,000 of funding via an Indiegogo campaign with over 1,000 backers. A creditable $215,000 was raised on the first day. As of 12 Feb 2021, it has a market capitalization of over US$12million.
This class of wearable product appear to be loosely referred to as neurostimulation products. As such, a wide range of products could be classed as competitive in some way or other such as Philips Sleepband / Smart Sleep; Dreem 2 headband, Muse S, Muse 2, Neorhythm and the Apollo Mood Altering wearable. However within the specific class of consumer-grade, low-wavelength electromagnetic signal emitters, Hapbee claims to have patent protection. So I don’t know to what degree technically similar products exist or could ever exist. It sounds like directly competing products can’t exist.
Hapbee Discount, Price & Availability
Hapbee is only available directly from hapbee.com globally for US$379 and there are often discounts or offers of around 20% off giving a net cost of US$299. The monthly subscription is usually free for at least 2 months and £19 thereafter. Alternatively, a free-for-life price is currently $799. Check if a minimum purchaser age applies.
Other Hapbee discounts
- The best Hapbee discount is this one which is automatically applied and always gives you at least 25% off: hapbee.com
- Periodic holiday discounts are automatically applied and tend to be about $100 off with a further discount if you buy more than one directly from Hapbee.
- Ben Greenfield’s site might give you $20 off but you will only be able to use one discount
- Dave Asprey’s site might give you $25 off but you will only be able to use one discount
- Jim Kwik’s link at Limitless Brain might give you $20 off but you will only be able to use one discount
These guys are all linked in some way to commission from Hapbee.
FTC Disclaimer: Paid-for review. Hapbee paid in full prior to seeing a final draft of this review. Hapbee had a right to veto publication but no right to a refund nor any editorial control.