Omron Healthcare Product Reviews: the Evolv and TENS

As I sit here typing, I’m enjoying the benefits of one of the healthcare related products I’m going to review today. It’s delivering electronic pulses right now. Thanks to Omron, we get to review two fabulous medical tools that you can use at home- the Evolv wireless blood pressure monitor, and the Avail wireless dual channel TENS device.

photo credit-Omron

As luck would have it, or maybe not, I tweaked my back the other day, and I was in tons of pain. Now, we just recently reviewed a device that used electromagnetic therapy to help ease pain. Unfortunately, this device didn’t even touch the pain that I was in. We just got the Omron Avail TENS device, and I decided this would be a very good time to test it out.

Many years ago, I had knee surgery, and in physical therapy, they attached little electrodes to my knee to help work the muscles so they wouldn’t atrophy. This handy home device made me reminiscent of that time.

I unboxed the Avail, and immediately downloaded the app (available for iOS and Android) to my phone. The app walked me through set-up (which was simple) the precharged device attaches easily to the pad, the device synced to my phone through Bluetooth very quickly. I removed the plastic from the sticky backing, and placed it in the area directed by the app. I was asked to pick what kind of therapy I wanted- TENS or microcurrent therapy.

I chose TENS. You can do this type of therapy up to 3 times a day. The app will give a list of what kinds of treatment modes you can choose from. The one I selected was suggested for lower back pain. Then you can choose how long your treatment lasts. Once it starts, you can turn up the intensity of electronic pulses. My therapy started with some tapping, and changed to kneading with some varying pulses throughout. You can add a session to your favorites- allowing quick access to programs.

When you are finished, the devices and their pads fit nicely in the provided case. A charging dock also is included. You’ll have to charge them after about 3 hrs- which is 6 uses if you are going for half hour sessions.

The great thing about this device is that it’s wireless, and really, you can wear it while doing everyday activities, although I found it weird to walk around while it was working. It comes with two devices and two different pads, so you can do treatments on different areas of your body simultaneously.

Cons? You’ll have to buy new pads after about 3 months of use, but they’re not too bad. About $15 for each pad. You’ll spend more on physical therapy and other doctor’s treatments- that’s for sure.

I have not tried other TENS devices, and there are cheaper ones out there, but I can’t say if they work any better than this OMRON one, which is on sale for $159.99.

photo credit-OMRON

The other unit, we were sent to review is the wireless Evolv blood pressure monitor. Many people are concerned about blood pressure levels. I know that I have to check mine frequently. My levels usually rise when I’m at the doctor’s office for some reason. This is an easy way I can check my blood pressure at home.

This monitor can be used with or without an app. With the iOS and Android compatible apps, you can wirelessly transmit readings and track trends in blood pressure. It’s also easy just to take your blood pressure and get the read-out right there on the LED screen.

It doesn’t have a charging cable, but does require 4 AAA batteries- which are included. A carrying case would be nice, but this model doesn’t seem to include one.

The monitor holds up to 100 readings, and then will re-write after that, so you will need to make sure to sync your results every now and then if you want a history of your readings. User reviews seem to all say the app needs a re-working, and we think that would be good of OMRON to do. Otherwise, it seems to be a decent monitor that could literally be life-saving. It comes at a price of $99.99 on their website, but Wal-Mart’s website is carrying them for $62.20.

This is another unbiased and fair review of products that OMRON sent us for free to review. No other compensation has been paid to us.

Will the Oska Pulse Heal Your Pains?

TechnoMark ran into the Oska company at CES this year, where they unveiled their device that uses Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Fields(PEMF) to bring natural pain relief. This wearable device is called the Oska Pulse, and the company sent us a unit to review.

credit- OSKA

Now, I have chronic lower back pain, and I’m always interested in finding natural ways to relieve the pain without having to take pain reliever. This product promises to relieve everyday aches and pains, as well as reducing swelling.

The OSKA Pulse is simple to use. There is an included USB cord to charge it up. There is a button on top of the device to press, and you will hear a beep and a blue light will begin to pulse. The OSKA fits inside a little pocket in the stretchy compression wrap that comes in two sizes- one is big enough to wrap around a torso. The smaller wrap works for wrapping it around a leg or arm. The device is said to work within 8 inches of the injury, so you don’t have to strap it to you all the time if you would rather not.

It takes about 3 hours to charge the OSKA fully, but once charged, you can get about 15-20 sessions that last 30 minutes each.

It’s hard to tell if the device is working or not since there is no vibration, heat or any other indicator besides the glowing that tells you the device is working. Very different from devices like TENS machines that deliver pulses you can feel.

So it is suggested at first for long term pain that you use the OSKA four to six times a day during the first week and two to four times a day following that for the rest of the month. After that, it is suggested you use it 1 to 2 times a day. You’re also supposed to drink water to help the healing process along.

I’ve been using the device for about three weeks now, and my back does feel better when I’m using it, and for a short time after, but I’m not sure if it’s due to the pressure of the device in that spot, or if the electromagnetic pulses are really working. The company says there is a 90 percent customer satisfaction rate, and that you shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It might take a while. Fortunately, there is a 90 day trial period with a money back guarantee. So, maybe it’s worth a try for you. There are plenty of testimonials that claim the product worked, and helped so much that the customers no longer rely on pain medication.

The Oska Pulse costs $399, which seems steep, but if it helps you avoid having to go to the doctor or massage therapist multiple times, it could be worth the money. If you buy it off their website, you can buy it in a 3 payment installation. Also, if you have an HSA or FSA, you could use these accounts to pay for it as well. The replacement compression wraps seem really expensive to me at $60 for the large and $40 for the smaller one. You could probably find something much cheaper to wrap it to you if the need ever arises for a new one.

While we received the product to review at no charge, we are not sponsored by Oska, and this is our fair and unbiased review.


The BACtrack Scout Breathalyzer Will Help you Drink Responsibly

Techno_Mark and I don’t do a lot of drinking, but we strongly encourage those who do to do so responsibly, and that includes knowing when you’ve had too much to drink before driving.

We’ve reviewed other BACtrack items in the past, but this one is a bit different from others we’ve reviewed.  The other ones have worked with your cell phones, but this one is its own device. It’s of high quality, though. “Police-grade accuracy” is the touted claim, using XtendⓇ Fuel Cell Technology.

The BACtrack Scout is easy to use- ready to be blown into after a touch of the button. It’s small and lightweight, and would fit in a pocket easily. It does have a carrying pouch that comes with it, so you can store it with a mouthpiece in your pocket or purse. It comes with six mouthpieces so other people can use it if needed as well.

This device does meet DOT/NHTSA Standards, but it cannot determine the exact blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The company has told us that a breathalyzer – any breathalyzer – ours, a police unit, etc. only provides an estimate. The only way to get a person’s exact BAC is with a blood test. You also want to make sure to get it calibrated every once in a while to make sure it stays precise.

The small print does say that you shouldn’t rely on results to determine your level of intoxication or how safe it is to drive or operate heavy machines. So even if the estimate comes up in the safety zone, it’s really up to you to determine how inebriated you are. Also make sure not to eat, drink or smoke 20 minutes before using it, as that can throw off results or damage sensors.

In conclusion, we would suggest that you can use this device, but know your limits, call a cab (Uber, Lyft, or whatever mode of transportation you have available to you these days) or have a designated driver with you. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving. Stay safe everyone!

Oh, if you want to purchase the BACtrack Scout, go to the company website and buy it for about $84.99, which is an apparent (and possibly temporary) markdown from a $99.99 price.

BewellConnect MyThermo

So, let’s talk about thermometers. As someone who grew up in the 70s, I remember those mercury ones that you had to uncomfortably stick under your tongue. Remember how you had to shake them to reset them, and they were really fricking hard to read? There was like this silver thread that…how in the world did they ever figure out that this is we detect sickness?

I bring this up because progress has been made in the world of thermometers, and I am not talking about the kinds of numbers. This is the MyThermo from Bewell Connect, and it is a smart and connected non-contact thermometer that can take a temperature of a body without even making contact with him or her.

That’s right, even the thermometers are wireless these days. I may have no idea how the mercury thermometers work, but this MyThermo, I am completely clueless. Let’s just say that it runs on magic, which is defined as any technology that can be understood in its present culture.

Apparently, the MyThermo uses infrared technology, which is good for those situations for when you are not wanting to spread germs with your thermometer.

Now, the issue that I have with this is that I am not certain how accurate the results are. I mean, you have to hold it up to a forehead, and then push the button. I held it up to my son’s head and got an incredibly low value of seventy something. The next one was about 88, and I tried it on myself and got a low 90 rating.

Below is a picture of where to hold it in relation to the forehead, and I have to admit that when I first used it, I held it backwards. Now, the instructions say that you should measure the temperature elsewhere to confirm it, and you just should do that anyway. Apparently, you can use this thing on a bathtub or drink as well.

I’m not certain if I can really recommend this product, but honestly, if this works as good as it says, then you should have no problem seeing it in many hospitals. You can purchase the MyThermo on the Bewell Connect site for about $99.

The BACtrack Trace Pro

bactrack-trace-proOkay, at the risk of sounding too much like an after-school special, I will have to say that we are heading into the holiday season, which will create a lot of trips to the bar, which will create the toxic by-product of drunk drivers. Every once in a while, there comes some device that can test a user’s Blood Alcohol Level, and BACtrack makes a lot of them.

The BACtrack Trace Pro (or simply Trace) is a police-grade sensor that is apparently used by the police. I realize that this sounds redundant, but if law enforcement and hospitals trust it, then a regular user can trust it too. Just to let you know, it meets the requirements for a breath alcohol screening device.

There is a one touch operation, which is perfect for intoxicated people. You can get your results in seconds, and there is an easy-to-read display in bright LCD blue. You need to blow for 5 seconds, and the response time is about 3 seconds. It has Xtend Fuel Cell Sensor technology, and six mouthpieces for optimal breath capture.

You should be able to purchase the BACtrack Trace Pro on the BACtrack site for about $99.99, and it is good for 1,500 tests on 2 AA batteries. By the way, the batteries are included, so this BACtrack is really a good deal. In fact, this is one small investment that could save a lot of life, so you should check this out.

Mobi Ultra Pulse DualScan is a doctor’s tool you can have

Mobi 3I’m going to say that I had to include two images of this product so you can see what it looks like. If I used the one below and to the right, you might think it is a Bluetooth headset. The fact is, this is the DualScan Ultra Pulse from Mobi, and like the headline says, it is a doctor’s tool that you can buy.

What does it do? A better question is: what doesn’t it do? I’ll start with taking your temperature. You know those stupid mercury thermometers that you used to stick under your mouth? That is something analog in a digital world.

The DualScan is able to take your temperature at the ear and the forehead. All you need to do is hold the “scan” button and you will hear a beep. Then, there is also a voice telling you what the temperature is in Celsius or Fahrenheit. Yes, it talks. Oh, it also can detect the heat of a room or object.

There is also a a place where you can put your thumb, and, after a beep, you can get your pulse. Yes, it is that versitle of a tool for giving exams in the doctors office and at home.

Mobi Ultra Pulse 2In fact, the thing kind of looks like something that Dr. McCoy, Dr. Crusher, Dr. Bashir, or that other Doctor guy on Star Trek: Voyager would use, doesn’t it? I can’t remember that doctor guy on the Enterprise series, but you get my drift, it is a tool from the future for us today.

Also, did I mention that this thing has a flashlight? Well, it does. All of this can be yours for just $39.95 on the Mobi Site.

Active Edge Workout T-Shirt

active edgeOkay, I review a lot of products, but this is the first time that I have reviewed a shirt. Okay, there is one exception, like when I reviewed that shirt with the stainproof technology with Threadsmith Hydrophobic Nanotechnology.

I was able to obtain one of these shirts, and I am currently wearing it right now. To me, it feels like a shirt, really. Yeah, of course I am going to say that, but I am told that this product has “revolutionary technology” of infused and embedded electromagnetic frequencies into the fabrics, and this somehow enables the wearer to perform at a more optimal level.

Now, I have no idea if this is snake oil, because I am not certain how in the world to even test this. The company of Active Edge says that it has tested this, with clinical trials, and they report 90 percent positive benefits with zero side effects. How does this do this, it somehow activates the sympathetic nervous system, increases blood flow, as well as oxygen intake.

So, it is a great T-shirt, and it looks like it can do something for you. It is pretty expensive at $64.99, but it can be found at the Active Edge Gear site.

Masimo MightySat with Bluetooth LE & PVI

Masimo MightySatIt has been a while since I have reviewed a Masimo product, and part of that is because the company makes a lot of high-quality medical products that aren’t available for typical, non-medical consumer use. Similar to the iSpO2 Pulse Oximeter, the MightySat Fingertip Pulse Oximeter is made for those that want medical fitness information on hand.

Yes, there are people who want this information, and Dotsie Bausch and Stig Severinsen recommend it. If you haven’t heard of these two, the former is an Olympic Silver Medalist, and the latter is a PhD Freediver that holds a Guinness Book of World Records holder for longest underwater breath hold at 22 minutes. Yeah, that is pretty impressive.

So what does the MightySat offer for the typical consumer? Well, it is a very cool device that you stick your finger into, and you can get at least four different measurements including: 1) SpO2, Oxygen saturation of arterial blood 2) Pulse Rate, measured in beats per minute (BPM) 3) Perfusion Index indicates arterial pulse signal strength and 4) Pleth Variability Index, a measure of the dynamic changes in PI that occur during the respiratory cycle.

As someone who has tried it out, I can attest that it works out of the box. Now, you can purchase a MightySat that will work without Bluetooth ($249), but there is a Bluetooth Compatible LLE ($299) and a version with Bluetooth LE & PVI ($399). There is a free Masimo Health App that will work with most versions of the MightySat. So if you are looking to purchase this, check out the information on the Masimo site.

The BACtrack Vio Smartphone Breathalyzer

BACtrack VioIt has been a while since I reviewed a BACtrack product, because I honestly don’t really need them. That is not a slam on the product, because I highly endorse any product that will save lives. There is a kind of poetic justice as I first reviewed a BACtrack product one year ago after CES 2014, and I now am working on reviewing another with the BACtrack Vio.

When I first saw this version on the BACtrack, it was being held in a spokesperson’s hand. I commented that it is so small that it could be put on a keychain. At this point, that spokesperson moved her finger and I saw the keychain.

Like its predecessor, the Vio connects to your iPhone or Android smartphone via Bluetooth. Then there is a flip-up mouthpiece to collect a quality breath sample, and it allows you to get a blood alcohol content (BAC) and even estimate when your BAC will return to zero. Using its BACtrack Companion App, you can track BAC results over time, including optional photos, notes, and drink logs. Yeah, you got those handy graphs that let you know if you have a problem, and the app will keep it private.

If you want to get in on this BACtrack Vio, you can get it for a lower price on the BACtrack site for $49.99.

My Spiroo is a mobile device to help asthmatics

spirooI am not someone who has asthma, but I can imagine that it is not good to have. Those afflicted with it must use a tool known as a flow meter in order to see how much air is passing through the lungs.

My Spiroo has figured out a way to make this mobile with a peak flow meter that can connect to a smartphone’s headphone jack. With this device, you can get measurements on a smartphone, and it is an official one you can share with a doctor.

This device isn’t available now, but it will be. It shows something that I believe we’ll see quite a bit of in the future, a way of being a doctor from a distance. Let’s see what else this will bring.