App Description

BreatheWell Wear, an app being developed for Android Wear smartwatches, is designed to assist people with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in managing stress through diaphragmatic breathing.  

When people endure stress, they experience the fight-or-flight response. Their heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallow, exacerbating anxiety. Slowing their breathing, particularly when exhaling, helps calm them. BreatheWell Wear assists the user in performing deep, slow, diaphragmatic breathing by providing visual and auditory guidance to pace breathing, including a display of the user’s heart rate in real time. It also provides the user with the option of listening to calming sounds and music or selecting a song from their own music library. Breathe Well Wear allows users to program reminders to practice during periods of low stress to help them perform the breathing technique effectively during periods of high stress.


Core target users include military service members living with mTBI and PTSD, and therefore usability testing is being completed at Shepherd Center's SHARE Military Initiative, a rehabilitation program dedicated to serving  military service members living with mTBI and PTSD.

Initial user testing included one-on-one in-depth interviews with 6 participants during which participants received a demonstration of BreatheWell Wear and gave input regarding the usability and design. All 6 participants reported they feel BreatheWell Wear is something that could help them. The ability to change the pace of inhalation and exhalation on the spot while using the app and the ability to see the user's heart rate in real-time while performing relaxation breathing were among favorite features reported by participants. Input from the participants was used to inform refinements in the development prior to clinical testing. Clinical Testing is currently underway.


  • Android Wear smartwatch

Development Team

  • Tracey Wallace
  • John Morris
  • Scott Bradshaw
  • Shepherd Center
  • SHARE Military Initiative