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Health & Balance

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High-Tech Stressbusters


Our experience: The massage and sound quality were just so-so. "The waterfall sounded more like a frying egg," said one tester.

Bottom line: Save yourself the 60 bucks and invest in a CD of soothing nature sounds you can listen to while taking a hot shower.

The Journey to Wild Divine: The Passage ($159.95, This computer game comes with finger sensors that measure pulse and skin-conductance level (sweat-gland activity), both of which jump when stress is high. It then coaches you to control these reactions via breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques, all the while guiding you on a visual journey through exotic landscapes.

Our experience: The graphics are gorgeous, and the breathing exercises kept us centered and calm. But one staffer's computer couldn't handle the elaborate animation, so the sound often lagged behind the images, plus the program worked more smoothly on Macs than on PCs.

Bottom line: Effective—but only if your computer is compatible, so check out the system requirements before purchasing.

The StressEraser ($299, Slip your index finger into the sensor of this portable device and it measures your pulse, then displays waves on a screen that represent your heart rate. Your part? Breathe slowly until your pulse slows and the waves flatten out.

Our experience: "The waves look like an EKG reading, so it stressed me out," said one staffer.

Bottom line: Monitoring your pulse with your fingers can provide a similar read on your heart rate—without the hefty price tag.

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