By Maureen Connolly
tested 6 relaxation tools. Find out which ones delivered results.
Our experience: Coiled energy? Theta waves? We were skeptical—and the
warped-sounding background music was odd. But Kelly Howell's soothing voice won
us over. In fact, one tester felt calmer after listening to just the
Bottom line: There's no knowing whether this CD arouses kundalini,
but it can lay stress to rest.
Until Tomorrow...A Gentle Guide for a Good Night's Sleep : ($15.99,
sleepuntiltomorrow.com): Created by Juhi Singh, an acupuncturist, Chinese
herbalist, and yoga instructor, this CD has a guided-meditation track with
instrumental music to help you fall asleep, and another track to gently rouse
you (this requires a CD alarm to activate). Singh's sleep-inducing plan: She
asks you to close your eyes, follow her voice, put aside expectations, and
Our experience: A few seconds of Singh's voice was enough to make our
eyelids grow heavy, and listeners reported feeling "very relaxed"
before drifting off into a sound sleep—though one tester found the wake-up
track "irritating. Her soothing voice just made me want to go back to
Bottom line: This CD can bring on sound slumber, and adequate sleep
is proved to lower stress-hormone levels.
Instant Relaxation Guided Meditation DVD ($27, meditainment.com):
Using your DVD remote, you can customize your experience by indicating your
stress level, your goal (such as calmness and clarity or a good night's sleep),
where you want to meditate (by the ocean or in a meadow), the music, and guide
(a male or female voice).
Our experience: We liked being able to personalize each session.
Graphically beautiful settings and the narrator's comforting voice helped put
one staffer "in a happy, mellow zone."
Bottom line: A really effective, user-friendly device for
Brookstone Nature Sounds Massage System ($60, brookstone.com): This foam
neck cushion with built-in speakers comes with a handheld control pad that
allows you to choose a neck massage, heat, and/or nature sounds, including a
summer night, waterfall, or rain forest.
Our experience: The massage and sound quality were just so-so.
"The waterfall sounded more like a frying egg," said one tester.