Dr. Lee Aberle, ND, IFMCP
New Years tech
Finding technology that makes your life easier can be challenging. There are thousands of new apps but these are a few of the ones I and colleagues like and have found useful. Check them out and let us know what you think.
Feeling stressed, anxious, or unfocused? There is a mindfulness app to help with that. When it comes to choosing an app, there are a lot of options to consider to meet personal goals. To help get started on your journey to mindfulness, here is a list of apps to consider:
“Insight Timer is an app I would recommend. It’s got a great selection of meditations to help with stress management!” -Vivien Allred, Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist
InsightTimer offers access to the world’s largest guided meditation and music track library with over 40,000 meditations, all completely free. The meditation timer has customized routines, milestones and reporting tools. The app also teaches how to meditate properly in a free crash course!
“I often recommend that my clients use Headspace, which is hands down my favorite meditation app! At a baseline, stress is at the root of just about every chronic stress issue facing us today. In addition to a nutrient-dense diet, sleep, and movement – I consider meditation and mindfulness to be non-negotiable strategies for reducing stress and inflammation, and for restoring health to optimal function! And as a bonus, meditation costs us nothing but our time!” -Ryan Monahan, FDN-P
Headspace offers a daily guided mindfulness routine, from waking up to exercising, sleeping and meditating. The app offers hundreds of articles for any mind, any mood, and any goal. Topics include, meditation, sleep & wake up, stress & anxiety, and movement & healthy living.
Mindfulness apps have been a trend in recent years, and we expect to see this trend continue in 2020.
“Journey Live provides daily free live meditation classes which are very tailored to the moment. They have been doing a wonderful job incorporating positivity with stress relief techniques.” -Jennifer Clemente, Clinical Nutritionist
Journey Live offers all-day live classes with real-time group meditations by a diverse group of teachers. Users can choose their own instructors for their meditations and can experience group support from those who sign-on.
“The app I most often recommend is the Oura ring, with its associated app. The Oura ring helps shape behavior around the quality of sleep, optimum levels of activity, and levels of stress. Paying attention to these metrics allows my patients to have immediate feedback on how sleep hygiene, mindfulness practices, exercise habits, and even food consumption are affecting circadian rhythms and, therefore hormones and autonomic nervous system balance. That is cool!” -Loree Pinnavaia, Functional Medicine/DC
The Oura Ring helps users understand their sleep quality from insights about deep, REM, and light sleep, and heart rate activity during the night. The app gives tips from data to help users understand their bodies by assessing the balance between sleep, activity, and recovery.
“Breathwrk is an app that is simple and fun to use… and effective. It uses guided breathing techniques with visuals for different symptoms and situations. My patients love this app because the results are immediate.” -Maura Henninger, ND
Free guided breathing exercises to help alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and energy levels. Backed by science, the app is built on breathing exercises that have shown to reduce stress, anxiety, symptoms of PTSD, depression, while also helping with falling asleep or waking up.
Find out more and download the app
Apple’s Breathe app
“I really love the Breathe app that Apple offers. When we’re stressed we tend to hold our breath, which means less oxygen and nutrients for our vital organs. Practicing breathing technique allows one to achieve a parasympathetic mode and these techniques are a great way to refocus and de-stress during the day.” -Dr. Stephanie Hendershot, NMD
The Breathe app is used to relax and focus on breathing. The app guides users through a series of deep breaths and includes reminders to take time to breathe every day. Users can choose how long they want to breathe, then let the animation and gentle taps help with focus.
Breathing apps are often used as an easy way to reduce stress and keep focus.
“I recommend meditation as a stress management tool to most of my clients, and Calm App has a huge number of guided meditations that focus on many different areas of wellness. Keeping stress in check has a positive effect on every other area of health.” -Ashley Flores, LAc & Herbalist
The Calm app offers studio programs taught by world-renowned mindfulness experts. The video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching, are accompanied by exclusive music to help users focus, relax, sleep and the app also teaches meditation.
“The Yoga Promise app revitalizes mood and health, by focusing the mind on the breath, increasing oxygen, and strengthening the lungs! It is a critical preventative medicine during health crises.” -Kelsey Barrett, Clinical Herbalist
The Yoga Promise app allows users to train themselves, through daily yoga practice, to achieve mindfulness. Users have access to 7-minute sessions that focus on breathing medication practices.
“Gaia is a wealth of knowledge, self-guided programs, meditation, yoga & nutrition info.” -Brianna Marie, Holistic Doctor
The Gaia app allows users to stream thousands of consciousness expanding, yoga and transformational videos. The videos feature the world’s best teachers and spiritual luminaries to guide users on their path with yoga, meditation, spiritual growth, and alternative perspectives.
“BrainTap is an easy meditation app that has over 700 different meditation practices that help reduce stress. The app also helps patients with weight loss, addictions and to create new habits such as exercise and other health-promoting interventions.” -Mary K. Migliori, MD
Backed by neuroscience and research, braintapping is proven to help people who experience high stress, difficulty sleeping, low energy, and other lifestyle challenges. The BrainTap app offers 10 to 20 minutes of braintapping serves to balance nervous systems and inoculate against the stressors of everyday life.
There is no shortage of fitness apps out there that help with weight loss, goal tracking, calorie counting and more. It can be a tough and sometimes daunting task to choose the right app to achieve personal fitness goals. Below are some fitness apps recommended by practitioners to consider using.
“Strava is a great way to track progress with your physical activity and connect with your friends and like-minded neighbors.” -John Santa Ana, Physician
Strava is an app that turns any smartphone into a sophisticated running and cycling computer. It tracks all activity and gives stats to users so they can optimize their health. It monitors heart rate and any other performance metric. Strava is also used as a social networking app – share races, workouts, and achievements.
“I would definitely recommend the Fitbit app, with a wearable Fitbit watch, to track exercise.” -Geoff Lecovin, ND, DC, L.Ac.
Fitbit is the world’s leading app for tracking all-day activity, workouts, sleep and more. Use the app on its own to track basic activity, or connect with one of Fitbit’s many activity trackers to track steps, distance, calories burned, sleep, weight, and more.
Fitness apps help guide users through workouts and have various fitness levels to choose from.
Treadthrill & Move Your Bump
“I definitely recommend Treadthrill (choreographed running and strength workouts) and Move Your Bump (for pregnancy and motherhood) fitness apps. Efficient and science-based fitness and nutritional programs geared to be fun yet functional and help clients thrive no matter their age, phase of life or fitness level. Train with experts from anywhere with minimal equipment or space and do it right at home!” -Nancy Anderson, Health Expert
The Treadthrill app offers derivative, transformative, and exclusive cardio episodes. Treadthrill uses strength and cardio interval training (CHIIT) to shape workouts. The app that is focused on choreographed high-intensity interval training has proved results for those who follow the workouts.
Move Your Bump is a fitness and nutrition platform in all phases of motherhood: conception, pregnancy, and recovery. The app promotes self-care for the mother and optimal health and development for their babies. Guided by experts, protocols and training sessions are built with reliable research and guidelines for normal pregnancies.
MyFitnessPal & Peloton
“MyFitnessPal and the Peloton app are my two favorites. MyFitnessPal is a wonderful platform for tracking the foods that you eat including complicated recipes. It is easy to use and you can set customized macros. My second favorite wellness app is the Peloton app. It is consistently updated with new exercise and meditation practices. It is easy to follow and can be used on your cell phone, smart TV, or the Peloton bike. The app brings the community to exercising at home. It tracks all your past activities.” -Christina Campbell, DO
The MyFitnessPal app offers tools like free online calorie counters and diet plans. To help with health goals, users can track calories, breakdown ingredients, and log activities while also searching for over 11 million foods.
The Peloton app offers live studio workouts for cycling, running, yoga, outdoor activities, and strength. Led by professional trainers, the app allows users to meet their fitness goals on their own terms. It is a customizable app that lets users build their own schedules to support fitness and lifestyle activities.
Smartwatches use touchscreens, offer apps, and often record heart rate and other vital health activities.
“The Apple Health app on any Apple device, including Apple Watch and iPhones, is easy to use and checks daily steps, and other health activities.” -Rika Keck, Holistic Health Practitioner
The Apple Health app allows users to organize and access all of their information in one place, syncing across all devices and third-party apps. Track everything from excessive noise exposure, blood and cholesterol pressure, weight and exercise, to fertility cycles.
Learn more about the Apple Health app
“Inner Balance by HeartMath is a tool I would recommend!” -Amanda Carpenter, Physical Therapist/Health Coach
This app, combined with tracking accessories, allows users to understand and shift their heart rhythm to help increase emotional composure and clear thinking. With the ability to map a patient’s Heart Rate Variability (HRV), this app helps patients and practitioners discover the optional state of coherence to reduce stress, increase resilience, and promote emotional wellbeing.
“The Kait Hurley app is a great all-in-one for physical and mental well-being. It includes guided workouts ranging from strength-based to restorative yoga, as well as meditation.” -Jillian Greaves, Integrative Functional Registered Dietitian
The Kait Hurley app helps users move and meditate. With audio and video workouts, users can choose to do high-intensity, running, and restorative sessions. The guided programs help with consistency.
Tracking nutrition has many benefits, from helping with food intolerances to creating awareness about eating habits, avoiding mood swings, losing weight or increasing energy. Whatever the reason for wanting to track nutrition, there is an app for it. These are the nutrition apps that were recommended by practitioners.
Fruits and Veggie Challenge & Practice Better
“I recommend the Fruits and Veggie Challenge app! This is an easy way to help patients keep track of their fruit and vegetable intake each day. I also recommend the Practice Better app. This one helps patients track their food/drink intake along with any symptoms and how they are feeling. This is a wonderful tool when we are trying to determine food/additive triggers and how it relates to their symptoms. From there we can create a protocol or treatment plan to help them get better.” -Emily McGlone, RDN
The Fruits and Veggies Challenge is an app that lets users keep track of their daily fruit, vegetable, water, and exercise counts while collecting points for each category. Challenge friends and family to see just who is the healthiest of all!
Get the Fruits and Veggie Challenge app
Practice Better is the complete nutrition practice management platform for health and wellness practitioners and their patients. The app provides a better solution for managing professional recommendations, bookings & payments, and tracking clients’ progress.
Download the Practice Better app
“I often recommend the SparkPeople program. The app has a strong social network, excellent articles, recipes, and great nutrition tracker.” -Debi Stafford, Family Nurse Practitioner
SparkPeople is a web app that offers tools to help with weight loss and fitness goals. The free web app provides personalized tracking, member-only resources, and expert advice. Members can track daily nutrition, calorie details, fitness, and health activity, and receive advice from experts. The app includes educational articles, challenges, recipes, and local connections to others in the community.
Nutrition apps often contain: calorie trackers, nutrition label education, shopping lists, and more.
“Waterminder is a great smartphone app that lets individuals track daily water intake, as well as other liquids. In times like these, creating awareness around one’s habits is imperative for success in sustainable health. Developing habits and creating awareness around the physical and/or emotional changes from such habits can help clients and patients create awareness of what “baseline” could feel like. Then, they can take charge of their own health by recognizing they feel a certain way due to dehydration, or sub-optimal nutrition.” -Michael Bann, Health and Fitness Consultant
Waterminder allows users to easily track their daily water intake. With daily reminders, a simple integration on the Apple watch, and goal tracking, Waterminder helps users stay on track with their hydration goals.
“I’ve found the app from Healthie amazingly terrific as a confront/educational tool for my clients. My food sensitive clients can actually take pictures of labels and ask me if whatever they’re considering fits into their food plan. My weight loss/eating disordered clients can use it as a way to record what they eat as well as express their fullness and mood during eating. It’s great for people to stay on track with any lifestyle change they’re doing.” -Jill Place, RD
The ultimate tool for health and wellness, Healthie allows users to upload all relevant health information into one place to track their outcomes and achieve their health goals. Healthie believes in a mindful, sustainable approach that connects users to their own practitioners and experts in the field.
“I have every one of my clients track their food and beverage intake with Cronometer. We use it because unlike other food tracking apps, Cronometer has a professional level, so I can access my client’s food logs at any time. Plus their food databases are extremely accurate, down to 100ths of a gram of protein, fats, and carbs, which for ketogenic diets, the accuracy of macronutrient intake is extremely important! Additionally, this app tracks micronutrients, as well, so not only can I help my clients learn to live a ketogenic lifestyle, but ensure that they are eating a nutrient-dense diet as well.” -Carole Freeman, Board Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist
This app allows users who are on a calorie-reduced diet to log their diet, exercise, and biometrics into one location. The user’s practitioner can also log in and follow their patient’s progress for the complete solution to the smart dieter.
General wellness apps
Aside from apps that help with mindfulness, diet, and exercise, practitioners also recommend apps to help with cognitive function, hormone balance, and more! Check out some of the most recommended apps from healthcare practitioners.
HealthSnap and BrainHQ
“We really like HealthSnap and BrainHQ. HealthSnap is a great tool for assisting in lifestyle modifications, tracking chronic conditions, and connecting with your physician. BrainHQ is like strength training for your brain and we now know that brain exercise is every bit as important as physical exercise.” -Scott Noorda, Family Medicine, Precision Medicine
A lifestyle data analytics platform, HealthSnap is used by top provider groups to help manage and prevent chronic conditions, reduce costly readmissions, and maximize patient engagement. The patient side gives the user personalized health insights.
BrainHQ provides science-backed exercises the brain needs to be its sharpest. This app provides a fun but challenging brain workouts that adapt in difficulty as the user progresses. Each BrainHQ level is 5 minutes, allowing the user to work at their own pace.
Smart device apps can help connect patients to their healthcare providers.
“AccessElite connects patients with me by allowing them to book appointments online. It is a valuable health and wellness tool in my practice.” -Debora Novick, DC
This app allows patients to connect with a local health and wellness specialist after becoming a member of ChiroUp. Users can book instant appointments, share medical information, follow up with direct messaging, and have access to 24/7 support.
“I would recommend ChiroUp! It has exercises specific for chiropractic health conditions!” -Dr. Karin Drummond, DC
A resource for Chiropractic doctors, this service connects Chiropractors with their patients by virtually combining all the needs of both, into one location. Practitioners can improve patient outcomes by using ChiroUp’s condition library, customizable reports, and receiving patient feedback.
Learn more about ChiroUp’s options
“I recommend the Audible app – they have tons of books to peak everyone’s imagination. They also have books on meditation that can literally talk you through it. I recommend the audiobook: Into The Magic Shop by James R Doty, MD. This book will help you see that you have more control over your fate right now than you think. Very uplifting.” -Njeri Jarvis, MS/RD/Herbalist
The Audible app gives users a vast library of books available to listen anywhere at any time. The library offers a wide range of topics and authors, including books on physical and mental health. The app also allows users to listen to award-winning stories performed by world-renowned actors.
“The Hormonology app helps women gain more understanding and confidence in their own bodies, by understanding how their hormones affect them.” -Natalie Earle, Functional Nutrition Therapy Practitioner
The Hormonology app teaches women how hormones can impact their moods, health, and behavior during their periods. The software uses hormone studies to show how moods, energy, memory, love life, spending habits, sleep quality, food cravings, and overall health can affect daily lives.
“I recommend Mindvalley because it’s a mentor program that covers all areas of health, wellness, and the mind and body. They have great business talks and parenting education.” -Serena Satcher, MD
The Mindvalley app is the world’s largest personal growth platform. The app offers hundreds of personal growth programs taught by some of the brightest minds. The app uses micro-learning, 10-20 minute sessions per day finishing with live coaching and tutorials.
“I have often recommended Flo to women to track menstrual cycles; it also provides great educational articles for women.” -Emilie Wilson, ND, L.Ac.
Flo is an app that women can use to support them throughout their entire reproductive period. The app offers users with accurate cycle predictions, personalized health insights, and a community of experts and peers.
The bottom line
As it turns out, it seems like there’s an app for pretty much everything these days – meditation, mindfulness, fitness and brain simulation. These apps not only help with many aspects of health, but they can be used anywhere! We hope that you are able to explore some of the tools that practitioners recommend on a daily basis to support your wellness goals. If we missed your favorite wellness app, let us know what it is in the comments below. Always talk to your healthcare provider about any lifestyle changes you would like to make. These apps are not meant to be a replacement for licensed medical care.
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