Amrita Singh scours the market for the smartest health devices going.
Mobile phone apps that promote mental health through meditation and breath work are gaining popularity.
Here's a device that complements an app to take this activity to the next level.
Muse, an EEG (electroencephalogram) measuring headband device, passively senses brain activity by tracking electrical impulses.
It also facilitates meditation by converting brainwaves into 'weather sounds' -- an overactive mind generates stormy weather noises whereas a calm mind results in peaceful weather.
By letting you track when your focus shifts through these noises, the headband brings attention back to the breath, thus aiding meditation.
The product has received rave reviews from users and experts who also use its anonymous data for neurological research.
Once a session is complete, users can review results and track their meditative progress on the Muse app.
Price: Starts at Rs 30,000.
Not strictly a health product, it does seem to keep some of us away from the dentist's clinic.
Teeth-whitening sessions at a dentist's can cost between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000 but these kits promise similar results for far less.
Kits are available from as little as Rs 500, and can go up to Rs 5,000, but do exercise caution if you intend to avail yourself of one.
Dentists point out that the quality of the bleaching agent can be dubious and that if the bleaching tray that is to be inserted in the mouth is not a good fit, it might lead to patchy-coloured teeth.
However, dentists do recommend smart water flossers that remove bacteria from below the gum-line and between teeth while stimulating the gums.
Flossing, that generally neglected area of dental hygiene, becomes easier with a portable flosser that ejects ultrafine water flow (0.6mm) with the thread.
Price: Starts at Rs 2,500.
Portable ECG monitors
With heart-related diseases on the rise, affecting both the young and the old, portable ECG devices are becoming almost as common as first-aid kits.
These devices can be used to measure heart rate variability or stress levels on a daily basis, allowing you to track your fitness levels.
Most of these ECG devices are designed to have long battery lives and can also be synced with phones to display clear ECG tracings.
A range of options is available; it is advisable to go for those that are FDA approved.
Kardia Mobile's AliveCor ECG, for instance, captures a medical-grade ECG in 30 seconds, which can be emailed to your doctor.
Price: Starts from Rs 10,000.
These thermometers are at the next level: they not only tell body temperature but also suggest ways in which a body can recover faster by interpreting symptoms.
For instance, the Kinsa thermometer works with the Kinsa app on both iPhone and Android by maintaining a record of body temperature on the app and then using this data to recommend medicines, and even doctors, track your family's health, keep you informed about local illnesses on the rise and set medicine dosages and reminders.
The thermometer thus becomes a communication tool that informs and helps you contact appropriate experts in real-time and in your own space.
Some of these thermometers even have inbuilt games -- perfect to keep a restive young child still during readings.
Results arrive within eight seconds.
Price: Starts at Rs 2,200.
Air quality measuring devices
All of us already know this: deteriorating air quality in almost every Indian city has led to a rise in respiratory disorders.
But some of us suffer the adverse effects of air pollution more than most -- and here's a device that can alert you to highly polluted environments.
A portable device called Atmotube, one of several such available, is a wearable air pollution tracker that detects PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 pollutants such as dust, pollen, soot and mould.
By measuring exactly how polluted the air is, it helps afflicted people to avoid environments that are particularly harmful for them.
Note, though, that the accuracy of such devices remains unverified by both users and experts.
Price: Starts start at Rs 10,000.
Electric handheld massagers have always been tempting buys.
(They're easier than making a trip to the spa, not to mention a lot cheaper too.)
Some claim to cure back, neck and assorted aches and others claim to help tone the body.
For instance, a handheld massager by Dr Physio has four massager heads for deep tissue, neck, back and body ache.
It also has a dead skin removal head, which can be used all over the body.
It goes as far as to claim to help with anxiety and depression as well as boosting immunity.
Again, as with all devices that promise the moon but relate to your health: use only for general therapeutic purposes.
For worrisome injuries and pain, please do consult a good physiotherapist.
Price: Starts start at Rs 500.
This handy addition to your car keychain can be a life-saver.
It tells you exactly how much you have had to drink so you stay within permissible (and sensible) limits before you set off in your car (if you don't already know how much you have had to drink, then you shouldn't be driving at all).
The device is activated when it is blown into for five seconds, after which it gives the BAC (breath alcohol content) estimate.
The device measures the alcohol level of air in the lungs and works best when the user has not had anything to eat or drink 15 to 20 minutes prior to use.
While portable breathalysers are available across price points (from Rs 500 to Rs 3,500), research indicates that accurate estimates are given by those that use fuel cell sensors and are FDA-approved.
*Image is used for representational purpose only.