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Thync Relax Pro review

Can zapping your neck really relax you? Yep. It can also mess with your dreams

There’s something pleasingly sci-fi about the Thync Relax Pro, just like there was about the original Thync. It’s a wearable in the true sense, in that it fixes directly to your body and doesn’t do anything at all when it’s not. It’s designed to help the stressed relax, the anxious become calm, and the sleepless get more rest, which it does by stimulating nerves in the back of your neck using subtle-but-tingly electrical stimulation. It’s the wearable the crew of the Enterprise might choose, and the stuff of cyberpunk dreams.

It’s a wearable in the true sense, in that it fixes directly to your body and doesn’t do anything at all when it’s not.

Before we go any further — yes, it’s safe. The original version, which uses the same low electrical output signal, has logged 2,500,000 minutes of use, backing up studies and surveys all indicating the safety of nerve stimulation. There’s no reason to worry it’ll burn you, cause your head to explode, or otherwise disfigure you during your quest for a bit of relaxation.

Nerve stimulation has been around for years, and there’s a wealth of scientific data on how it works, much of which can also be found on Thync’s website.

Here, we’re less interested in how it works, and more about if it works. Almost everyone wants to relax more, and many of us will instantly see how a device that could help us achieve that in a short space of time would fit into our lives. We tried out an early version of the Thync Relax Pro, when it was known as the Thync Relax, and were impressed at the time. Now we’re using the final model that you can go and buy for yourself.

The Thync Relax Pro isn’t an impulse buy though. It requires financial commitment. The $150 upfront price is only the start, and to enjoy its benefits you’ll need to spend $30 each month for a steady supply of the necessary sticky pads, and access to the app. One year of Thync Relax Pro use totals $510, so it better do something.

The short answer here is yes, it does something. However, our experience is anecdotal, and may not reflect the experience you get using Thync Relax Pro. Thync told us we needed to use the device for ten days straight to ensure we felt the effects; but that wasn’t strictly true. Over the first five days, the effects were clear; but not always what we wanted. Before we go into that, let’s address how to wear the device.

It’s shaped like a squashed down triangle, and is almost identical to the original Thync in design. We think it looks great.

While the Thync needed a complicated, weird-looking, and often frustrating cable attached from the device on your forehead round to the back of your neck, the Thync Relax Pro simply attaches to the back of your neck using very sticky contact pads. These last about five times before they need replacing, and are the reason for the subscription cost. Five uses may be a little optimistic, as we found the pad was past its best by the fifth go. This may differ for others depending on your skin, as sweat, skin products, and oil will affect the pad’s longevity.

A device that’s supposed to reduce stress shouldn’t be stressful to use.

It’s easy to place, and Thync has some helpful videos and animated guides to help. The app is also very simple to use. There are two modes: Deep Relax, which is made for quick relaxation at any time; and Deep Sleep, which is designed for use just before bedtime.

The Thync Relax Pro synced with the app without fail, and the only controls are to start the program and adjust the intensity. Complicated apps stop us using products, and Thync has done the right thing by keeping the app incredibly easy and fast to operate. After all, a device that’s supposed to reduce stress shouldn’t be stressful to use.

I spent the first few days using the Thync Relax Pro just before sleeping. My sleep patterns have never been bad, but there are definitely periods where I sleep better than others. I was going through a good period of sleep, and wondered if the device would simply help me sleep for longer.

The effect it had was to make my sleep deeper, which given the program’s name, shouldn’t be surprising. Sadly, it wasn’t something I found very pleasant. The deep sleep gave me vivid dreams and left me with a groggy feeling in the morning, neither of which I usually experience. It was definitely affecting my sleep, but not in a way I wanted.

Thync Relax Pro
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I moved onto the Deep Relax program, and my sleep returned to normal. On one day of way more stress than I usually have, I had all the expected symptoms of high stress — elevated heart rate, inability to concentrate, and tensed muscles. Running Deep Relax genuinely helped. The tension left, and I calmed down. The Thync Relax Pro earned its keep that day. It reminded me of how the original Thync worked. It was always the relaxing mode that was most effective for me, and that seems to have repeated itself with the Thync Relax Pro.

What’s interesting is the day after, with the same level of stress, I chose to visit the gym instead. It had the same effect. This brought the Thync Relax Pro’s strengths into focus. Not everyone will have an hour to head out to the gym when they’re feeling stressed out. The Thync Relax Pro needs 10 minutes, and is inconspicuous enough that it can be worn anywhere and at any time. However, the benefits of going to the gym to work out stress are greater than sitting down with a piece of tech stuck to the back of your neck.

Be safe in the knowledge you’re not buying snake oil here. Thync Relax Pro works.

There was never any pain from using the Thync Relax Pro, and only one time was there a little discomfort after I accidentally set the intensity too high. It’s easy to wear, easy to use, and in our own personal experience, it is effective. Whether you enjoy the sensation it gives will come down to personal preference; but be safe in the knowledge you’re not buying snake oil here. Thync Relax Pro works.

Even the battery is good, with a single charge lasting the 10 day test.

What’s bothering us is whether it justifies $510 for the first year, and $360 for each year after that. If it was $150 and that was it, then we’d unequivocally recommend it. For me, because the sleep experience wasn’t that pleasant, and I’m not a hugely stressed person, it’s a hard sell for that price.

If either of those are problem areas on a more regular basis for you, then explore one of Thync’s alternative plans. It charges $430 for a “lifetime” subscription, for example, or you can rent it for $50 up front for a 30 day trial, and then $50 per month if you decide to keep it.

When we tried the prototype Thync Relax last year, there were concerns over the company’s funding and future. Digital Trends spoke to Thync about this, and received the following statement:

“Thync is doing well and we’re excited about the interest we are seeing for the Thync Relax Pro. The company transitioned to a new set of investors 18 months ago and we are seeking to raise our next funding round within the next six months.”

Thync Relax Pro
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There are very few other products like the Thync Relax Pro out there. If you’re looking at it and can already see a space for it in your life, then we’d definitely recommend giving it a test by using the 30-day trial. You’ll have to be quick though, as supplies are limited for this offer.

The very worst that will happen is like me, you may not enjoy one of the programs; but on the right day at the right time, the Thync Relax Pro may end up helping you de-stress when there was no other solution available. It’s pretty hard to put a value on that kind of help.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
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