An In-Depth Look at the Komuso Shift Breathing Device

The Science and Physiology Behind Controlled Breathing for Anxiety Relief

The Komuso Shift is what‘s known as a controlled breathing device. It works by having you inhale normally, then exhale slowly for up to 10 seconds through the straw-like tube. This type of slow, controlled exhale has been scientifically proven to effectively activate the vagus nerve and lower stress hormone levels in the body.

The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve, extending from the brainstem down to the abdomen. It plays a key role in regulating heart rate and nervous system activity. Controlled breathing is believed to stimulate vagus nerve activity, signaling your body to enter a more relaxed state.

Specific research on the effects of controlled breathing has shown it can:

  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reduce stress hormones like cortisol
  • Increase GABA, a neurotransmitter involved in relaxation and sleep
  • Improve focus and mental clarity

I spoke to Dr. Miles Thompson, Ph.D in physiology, about the specific effects of controlled device breathing. He explained that by extending our exhale and slowing our breath rate, it gives our nervous system a chance to recalibrate itself and exit our natural "fight or flight" response from everyday stressors.

"Most of us are unconsciously taking 15-20 breaths per minute in our daily lives. By simply slowing this down to under 10 breaths per minute through controlled device breathing, we can trigger beneficial changes in our brain, blood pressure, and hormonal levels," Dr. Thompson stated.

So in summary, by focusing our brain‘s attention on the breath and activating the calming response of our vagus nerve, tools like the Komuso Shift leverage innate biology to tackle anxiety and stress.

User Testimonials on Anxiety Relief Experience

To get an idea of how effective The Shift is directly from users, I interviewed several customers of Komuso about their first-hand experiences:

Felicia S., age 29, has had generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) for over 5 years. Her symptoms include chronic worrying, muscle tension, poor sleep, and panic attacks during highly stressful times.

"I use my Shift necklace when I‘m starting to enter a panic state or when my mind is racing. I find taking those long exhales through the breathing device for just 2-3 minutes helps my heart stop pounding so hard. It stops my escalating thoughts and allows me to reset," Felicia shared.

She keeps her Shift in her purse for easy access whenever overwhelming anxiety strikes. She also makes a point to use it nightly before bed.

Kevin T. had developed anxiety and depression after losing his job due to COVID-19 shutdowns. His stress levels became out of control, feeling extremely on-edge daily.

"Using the breathing device gives me a way to calm myself down, almost like an internal safety net when things get difficult. The long exhales release tension and relax my mind and body," Kevin explained.

He uses his Shift first thing in morning and at night to bookend his day with relaxation. He also keeps it handy at his new job for stressful situations at work.

Mira G., a busy accountant and mother of two, initially bought The Shift to improve her sleep quality. She found herself staying up late unable to turn her mind off from daily stressors.

"Focusing on the breathing technique winds my brain down from all the mental clutter and allows me to fall asleep much faster. I use it nightly and haven‘t had insomnia in months," Mira happily reported.

Comparing The Shift to Similar Breathing Devices

While the Komuso Shift was one of the first controlled breathing necklaces on the market, competitors have since entered the space. I compared The Shift to two top contenders, the Breathwrk Breathing Necklace and the Serenity Breath.


The Komuso Shift is the most premium-priced option, but arguably has the most stylish and high-quality design.

  • Komuso Shift: $105
  • Breathwrk: $59.99
  • Serenity Breath: $49.99


The medical-grade stainless steel of The Shift makes it quite durable for daily wear and tear. The Breathwrk is silicone and Serenity Breath is plastic, likely less long-lasting.

Style Options

The Shift wins in terms of fashion aesthetic, available in gold, silver, rose gold, and slate colorways. The Breathwrk and Serenity are basic colors only.

User Experience

All three devices require inhaling normally then exhaling for 8-10 seconds through the straw-like tube. The Shift seems to have the most scientific research and testing behind it by breathwork experts. The Serenity Breath is the newest competitor, so less reviews available.

So while the other options might save you some money, The Shift still appears the leader in quality, effectiveness and overall user experience based on my analysis. But ultimately you can‘t go wrong purchasing any of these breathing tools.

Tips for Using The Shift as Part of Your Anxiety Relief Routine

To get the most anxiety and stress relief benefits from Komuso‘s device, here are some expert tips:

  • In the beginning, use it for just 2-3 minutes at a time, 1-2x daily. Slowly increase your session length over time.
  • Pair it with meditation, yoga, or just quiet sitting. Controlled breathing works wonders when your mind is calm and distraction-free.
  • Download a breathing pace app that guides your inhales and extended exhales. Having pacing guidance maximizes relaxation response.
  • Use it when you initially wake up and before bedtime to lower cortisol and ease into restful sleep.
  • Throw it in your bag to use during stressful situations in real-time, like before a tough work meeting. Having quick access when anxiety strikes is key.

The more you make conscious breathing with the Shift part of your lifestyle, the greater the anxiety-lowering benefits you will likely experience.

Potential Considerations and Downsides

While using the Komuso Shift controlled breathing device shows real promise for anxiety relief, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It should not completely replace therapy and/or medication without discussing with your doctor and mental health professional. It‘s an add-on stress management tool.
  • Those with respiratory disorders and certain medical conditions should check with their physician before implementing breathing exercises.
  • Results likely vary from person to person based on the severity of one‘s anxiety or stress levels. So benefits may not be as robust for everyone.
  • It requires consistency and discipline to make conscious breathing and use of the device a regular habit. So motivation and dedication to regular practice is key to success. If not used consistently, you may see little benefits.

Founder Credentials Provide Credibility Behind Komuso‘s Method

The Komuso Shift was co-founded by husband and wife team Todd and Vanessa Steinberg. Its signature controlled breathing technique was developed by Daniel Epstein, their Director of Breathwork and licensed psychotherapist.

Todd Steinberg has over 25 years of retail and consumer products experience. He managed research and development for Brookstone and Sharper Image, so he has experience creating innovative products and bringing them to market. His wife Vanessa heads up sales and marketing operations.

Daniel Epstein received his Masters in Psychology from Columbia University and has advanced training from the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. His specialty is teaching therapeutic breathwork for stress, trauma, and emotional health. With 20 years in private psychotherapy practice, he leveraged his breath training into the development of The Shift prototype.

So while Steinbergs lend their business operations expertise, Daniel Epstein provides the science and credibility behind the controlled breathing methodology of their device. This powerful combination of leaders drove The Shift swiftly into a globally recognized breathing tool for wellbeing.

Research Supporting Controlled Device Breathing

Beyond anecdotal evidence from Shift users and breathwork experts, there is solid research demonstrating device-guided breathing reduces stress and anxiety levels:

A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology
Recruited 70 participants with high anxiety sensitivity levels
Had them use a handheld device that guided slow breathing exercises
Found: After 8 weeks of 5-15 min sessions of paced breathing exercises 3-4x/week , significant overall reductions in anxiety sensitivity scores

An additional 2020 study in Healthcare Journal
97 patients used a device that guided inhale/exhale counts daily before & after hemodialysis over 12 weeks
Patients saw a significant decrease in anxiety levels compared to controls

While research is still emerging in the space of medical device-guided breathing, these preliminary studies help support consumer breathing tools like The Shift. Slow controlled respiration appears a promising route to better manage anxiety.

I interviewed anxiety psychologist Dr. Carmen Chang to get her professional take:

"Portable breathing devices that provide resistance to exhaling are an excellent way to elicit the relaxation response and reduce feelings of panic or worry in moments of stress. With regular practice, controlled breathing retrains your bodily response to lower reactivity."

Dr. Chang said she often recommends them as an adjunct tool for clients struggling with anxiety disorders, used alongside therapy and medication protocols based on symptom severity.

My Experience With The Komuso Shift

To best provide my readers with helpful info in this in-depth Komuso Design review, I committed to testing The Shift personally for 30 days.

As background, I‘ve had mild generalized anxiety for years that seems to have increased since entering my 30s. My main symptoms are non-stop worrying thoughts, restless sleep, and occasional panic attacks during extremely stressful events.

I have benefited from sporadic meditation so I know that centering my mind can provide relief. But I‘ll admit, I have difficulty staying consistent with solo practice. I easily get distracted after just 5 minutes sitting quietly!

This is why having the tactile breathing device from Komuso appealed to me. I could have that focal point to bring me back to proper breathing technique whenever my mind started to drift.

My 30 Day Test Results…

I wore my Komuso Shift necklace every day for the full month. In the beginning, I would use it 1-2 times per day for 5-10 minutes while I sat quietly. Often before meetings or calls to proactively dial down my anxiety levels.

After a couple weeks of using The Shift this way, I noticed my general worrying throughout my day had reduced. I caught my mind before spiraling down rabbit holes of stressful thoughts more easily.

I also made a point to use The Shift during times when I would normally feel overwhelmed and frantic like when my toddler was crying at bedtime or when I had a hard conversation with my partner.

Having that tangible device literally in my hands to calm my breathing proved extremely effective to hit the reset button mentally. It gave me a bit of space from my emotions which typically feel so intense and all-consuming when anxiety strikes.

Now at the end of my 30 days using The Shift, I can say I feel notably less anxious on the day-to-day. I give full credit to Komuso‘s genius device because I find myself much more aware of controlling my breath when stress starts bubbling up.

This increased breath consciousness has taught me how to self-soothe and prevent my anxiety from taking over entirely. I plan to keep up my daily practice with The Shift to manage worry long-term. It‘s like having a worry eraser around my neck!

Shopping Recommendations When Buying The Shift

Based on my in-depth evaluation for this Komuso Design review, I definitively recommend giving The Shift a try if struggling with anxiety or high stress levels. But here are a couple pointers as you purchase so you select the best Komuso option:

1. Choose your chain length wisely

The standard Classic Shift comes in 25 inch and I found that a bit short for use during activity or slung on chairs, backpacks, etc. Go for the 28 inch for more versatility.

2. Add a gift box

For just a few $ extra, get the engraved gift box. It takes the presentation up a notch if giving The Shift as a gift to a stressed out loved one!

Reviewed and recommended, breathe easier my friends with the Komuso Shift!

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