Spire is now Spire Health, Announces Focus on Remote Patient Monitoring, Makes Key Healthcare Hires

Dr. Richard Murray, prominent pulmonologist, joins Spire Health as Chief Medical Officer

Spire, Inc., a leading innovator in actionable respiratory monitoring, announced today that it has rebranded as Spire Health (www.spirehealth.com). The new name reflects Spire Health’s focus on applying its unique respiratory monitoring technology and passive form factor to the healthcare market. Spire Health has also announced three key healthcare executive appointments. Richard Murray, MD, will serve as the company’s Chief Medical Officer, Phil Golz as the VP of Healthcare Sales and Strategy, and Joanne Hollenbach as the VP of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs.

Dr. Murray brings extensive medical expertise and a background as a pulmonologist to Spire Health. As Chief Medical Officer, he will help guide Spire Health’s remote patient monitoring product development, healthcare partnerships, and clinical trials. Dr. Murray was formerly at Merck & Co. in a variety of senior medical and scientific positions, including Deputy Chief Medical Officer. He currently serves on the board of the Foundation of the American Thoracic Society (FATS) and is Chairman of the Board of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Dr. Murray expressed his enthusiasm in joining the company, stating that “I strongly believe that Spire Health’s respiratory technology and form factor will transform the way that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other respiratory conditions are monitored and managed. Health Tag is one of the most exciting health technologies I’ve seen that provides new insights into what respiratory patients are actually experiencing.”  

As VP of Healthcare Sales and Strategy, Mr. Golz will drive Spire Health’s commercial strategy and establish healthcare partnerships. Mr. Golz spent 10 years at GlaxoSmithKline, where he led global digital strategy and innovation, and more recently spent 3 years as Executive Vice President leading commercial development at HealthUnlocked.

Ms. Hollenbach will oversee the expansion and growth of Spire Health’s clinical and regulatory operations, as well as its quality infrastructure and processes, and ensure alignment with FDA guidelines. She brings more than 25+ years of experience in clinical operations, including her role as the US Chief Operating Officer for Cmed Inc. Most recently, she was the VP of Global Clinical Development at WCCT Global, where she led clinical trials for multiple pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies.

Spire Health will focus on remote patient monitoring for chronic conditions, particularly COPD, asthma, and congestive heart failure. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) introduced three new remote patient monitoring reimbursement codes for 2019, a change reflective of the market trend towards remote care. The changes from CMS support Spire Health’s intent to work with providers and payers in deploying its technology and delivering cost effective, high-quality care. Spire Health’s clothing-adhered Health Tag technology is an ideal solution due to its high patient adherence and robust respiratory data.

Spire Health’s remote patient monitoring solutions are based on novel respiratory sensing technology that has been developed over the past five years. The company has introduced two successful consumer-oriented products, Spire Stone and Spire Health Tag, selling over 150,000 units. By initially focusing on the consumer market, the company has been able to optimize its product experience and train machine learning models on billions of respiratory data points. This has enabled Spire Health to demonstrate the long-term user adherence and clinical-grade accuracy that is essential to driving healthcare outcomes.

Health Tags Now Integrated with Apple HealthKit

We’re pleased to offer Spire users another great way to view all of their Spire Health Tag data with Apple HealthKit integration! Spire health data (including Respiratory Rate, Heart Rate, and Steps) will now also appear in the Apple Health app. Sleep data will be added soon.

To enable this feature, the Spire Health Tag app needs to updated to the latest version.

Feedback continues to help us improve the product. Please continue to reach out to us and let us know any feedback, questions, or concerns with Health Tag and enjoy the holidays!

Using Progressive Relaxation Techniques to Help You Relax

One of the most common ways stress manifests itself is through tension in your body – but progressive relaxation techniques may be the key to releasing this tension before it begins to affect you.

More than often, that tension stays with you long after the cause of your stress is gone. It can show up in numerous ways: a headache that won’t go away, tensed muscles, or a twitch that won’t stop.

Even when your mind may be ready to relax, you can feel still feel the residual tension in your shoulders, your back, your joints, your muscles, and elsewhere in your body. Read more

How is Anxiety Affecting My Sleep?

It’s the end of a tiring day. You’re looking forward to getting some sleep. But as soon as you lay down and close your eyes, your mind starts to fill with racing thoughts. You might worry about waking up in time to get to work in the morning, or you might fret about an upcoming event this month. Sometimes, it seems like there are a million things to worry about, and that makes it almost impossible to sleep.

If you suffer from anxiety, it’s likely you’ve experienced this at least once in your life. In fact, 54% of people say anxiety makes it harder to fall asleep at night. Those who suffer from anxiety disorders have a hard time getting to sleep at night. Lack of sleep can have some serious impacts on your health, and can even worsen your anxiety.

Continue reading to learn why anxiety makes it hard to sleep, how lack of sleep and increased anxiety perpetuate a never ending cycle, and what you can do to improve your sleep habits. Read more

How Do I Know If I’m Too Stressed?

Constant sources of bad news combined with difficulties in your personal life can make you feel incredibly stressed out. If you’re experiencing a ton of stress, you’re not alone. 20% of Americans report being under extreme stress, and 31% say their stress has increased a considerable amount recently.

Most people know that too much stress can seriously impact your health. Too much stress can cause health issues from digestive issues to memory problems and a weakened immune system. Read more

Your Practical Guide to Mindful Eating

Think about the last good meal you had.

Did you savor each bite? Or was it gone in two seconds? Were you really present during that meal?

Often we finish our meals in a hurry because we’ve got another meeting coming up or we’re distracted by good company. You might even find yourself eating by yourself with your thoughts completely elsewhere.

While we can appreciate the taste, health benefits, and even appearance of our food; most of us don’t really pay attention to how we eat our meals.

However, it can be just as important and beneficial to be truly mindful of our eating habits.

The practice of mindfulness is simply to practice bringing your whole attention to the present moment. You can practice mindfulness through meditation or breathing, and now you can also bring mindfulness to eating. Read more

Panic Attack Symptoms: What Are They and What to do About Them

Panic attacks are frightening experiences. Your heart is pumping, you’re sweating, and you may be shivering all over. Knowing for sure that you are having a panic attack isn’t easy in the moment. In fact, many people mistakenly assume that they are having heart attacks when their first panic attack occurs.

However, panic attacks are not life-threatening. Knowing the signs of a panic attack can help you better understand what is affecting you, and help keep things in perspective when a panic attack hits.

This article will go through everything you need to know on panic attacks: what they are, what are the symptoms, and how to manage them.

What is a Panic Attack?

To understand a panic attack, we are going to look back in time to when humans first started roaming the earth. By the time we started hunting and foraging, the only human tools for self-defense were our senses and physical capabilities. Nowadays, humanity has the benefit of a wide array of sophisticated laws and services protecting them. For better or for worse, that primal ability to quickly respond to danger has stayed with us to this very day.

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Mindfulness Activities to Try Today

In our busy world, it’s hard to find a moment of relaxation. However, those moments are important to your health. When your mind is constantly pulled from one thought to another without a moment to recharge, stress mounts.

Practicing mindfulness can help with that stress. Studies on mindfulness have shown that it decreases stress, helps with anxiety, and can even prevent relapses into depression.

The great thing about mindfulness is that it’s a simple concept and there are many different ways to practice it. Mindfulness can be practiced while doing everyday chores or in a special, reserved moment of calm. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, try out these mindfulness practices below.

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How to Use Exercise To Help Reduce Anxiety

Trying to find ways to manage your anxiety can be hard. When you are in the middle of periods of high anxiety, trying to set your fears aside long enough to find something that helps can be as difficult as giving a presentation at school or work. There are many ways to treat anxiety, but sometimes those treatments can have complications.

For some, the side effects of medication makes them think twice about even giving them a try. However, these aren’t the only anxiety treatments available. In fact, many studies show that exercise can be just as effective as medication. Exercise is easier for many people to get into, and has many benefits that will help reduce your overall anxiety levels. Read on to discover some of the downsides of current anxiety treatments, as well as how exercise can help you avoid those downsides.

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How Meditation Helps with Anxiety

As a part of the orchestra of human emotions, anxiety is a feeling that affects us all. Especially in today’s fast-paced, results-oriented work environment, anxiety is a daily occurrence for working professionals. It is a state characterized by a mixture of feelings of worry, apprehension, fear, restlessness, and stress. Like all states of mind, anxiety is also reflected as states of body. It can express itself through fatigue, headaches, sweating, shaking, and muscle tension.

Meditation is an ancient practice which has been used across multiple cultures and spiritual traditions. It is a tool used to quiet the mind and enhance focus on an inner state. Many people have been seeking to incorporate meditation into their lives for its psychological and even physical benefits. But can meditation be used specifically to address anxiety? The answer isn’t clear cut, and this article will seek to shed light on the answer.

What is Anxiety

Just like other negative states, anxiety isn’t all bad – in fact, it can be helpful and productive. It can give you that needed pressure to push through that final deadline or complete a task that you’ve otherwise been putting off. It can fire-up a creative impulse. But these are only helpful in appropriate contexts. pasted image 0 1

Which contexts would this be?

The answer lies at the beginning, when humans had to fend off dangerous predators and survive in a rough natural environment. Being anxious in these situations heightened awareness and readied the body for a quick fight-or-flight in response to threats. After all, it would be strange that the human body evolve no emotional and physiological response to the threat of a hungry tiger.

Anxiety becomes debilitating when it occurs in situations which should not warrant feelings of worry, apprehension, fear, restlessness and stress. In today’s world, prolonged anxiety is usually not a reasonable response to most situations. Anxiety is often unwarranted in modern stressful situations.

But with the human mind and body hardwired the way it is, the body will respond with anxiety to situations which it perceives as dangerous, even if that is not the case. So, if you perceive being late to a meeting is a serious and grave situation, your body will respond with anxiety. For the body, fear is fear. It’s not the body’s job to analyze a situation and assess the necessity of producing anxiety. It hinges on what the mind interprets as frightening.

With a work culture that induces high levels of stress and a society provide poor support for alleviating anxiety, the mind is constantly assessing situations as fearful. Partially as a result, anxiety disorders are common in the developed world. Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million adults in the United States alone. Worldwide, approximately 20% of persons who receive primary health care have anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are affecting women more than men, with 33% of women experiencing an anxiety disorder as compared to 22% men. Researchers theorize that this is due to a combination of hormonal fluctuations, brain chemistry and upbringing: women feel responsible for the happiness of others, and so have an added layer of stress to deal with.

Anxiety disorder can sometimes climax in the form of panic attacks. These are sudden, intense feelings of anxiety and fear that cause a physical fight-or-flight response. Your breathing may heighten; you may feel pain in your chest and vision may start to tunnel. These are all parts of the fight-or-flight response. Excessive anxiety results in an unpleasant state, both of mind and body.

The Effects of Anxiety on Human Wellness

Anxiety disorder has multiple ill-effects on your mind and body. On a physical level, those suffering from excessive anxiety may find themselves afflicted with the following symptoms:

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating or flushing of the skin
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Emotionally, you may find yourself afflicted with edginess, sadness, depression and/or irritability.

The long-term effects of anxiety disorder include heart disease, early aging, oxidative stress, stroke, and even cancer. Productivity at work is also adversely affected by anxiety.

Dealing effectively with anxiety is important. But how?

There are several medicines on the market which are prescribed for those suffering from high levels of anxiety. Sometimes, these medical solutions are essential. However, if you are looking to take some additional steps to supplement your current treatment, or you are looking to manage anxiety before it gets out of hand, there is a solution outside of the strictly medical context.

And increasingly, people have been turning towards this natural method of stress and anxiety reduction. This promising treatment is the age-old practice of meditation.

The Science Behind Meditation 

Meditation is prominently recognized as one of the major practices of Buddhism. Buddha recommended meditation to his disciples as a part of the path to achieving enlightenment. The “8-fold path” to enlightenment involved, in addition to extensive meditation, prescriptions to do good and serve others. Per Buddha, only through meditation was a person able to achieve enlightenment, a complete stillness of the mind and inner peace.

But the Buddha was certainly not the only spiritual leader to promote meditation as part of a spiritual order. Indeed, nearly every spiritual tradition incorporates a practice that can be characterized as meditative or meditation. Meditation is an ancient tradition dating back to over 3,500 years ago – even prayer is a type of quiet meditation.

Despite its longevity, it’s only within the last 50 years that the scientific community has been studying meditation systematically. In this short amount of time, the research has uncovered impressive potential and even stunning feats of meditation.

In one example, Buddhist monks have been recorded controlling their body temperatures through a meditative practice called “g-tummo”. In controlled scientific tests, experienced monks could dry cold and moist sheets placed around their bodies within an hour. Witnesses of the experiment report seeing steam emerge from the sheets as they dried. The monks’ body temperatures were measured to rise as much as 17 degrees Celcius.

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How is this possible? No one quite understands the biological mechanisms behind meditation just yet. But study after study are suggesting that meditation has far-reaching benefits, including for pain reduction, addiction and, as described below, anxiety.

Meditation as a Cure for Anxiety?

In 2014, the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a sweeping review of different meditation techniques’ effects on psychological stress and well-being. The review considered a wide variety of meditative techniques that emphasized mindfulness, concentration, and automatic self-transcendence. Prominently, these meditation programs were mantra and mindfulness meditation. Mantra meditation consists of chanting mantra and focusing on it to achieve a meditative state. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing your awareness on the present moment, while non-judgmentally observing your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

The review include 47 reviews looking at the effects of meditation on 3515 patients. The review is important for anyone considering meditation as a treatment for anxiety.

The results showed that not all meditation types are the same. Mantra meditation programs did not have strong evidence that it improved anxiety levels and anxiety disorders. However, mindfulness meditation programs showed a significant improvement in anxiety, depression, and pain.

These effects can be achieved without spending too much time meditating – the review included studies where participants meditated for as little as 10 minutes a day while still seeing positive effects. Few studies recommended participants meditate fewer than four times a week, however, so it to get the most out of your meditation practice, aim to meditate as consistently as you can.

In conclusion, there is good evidence to support the use meditation for anxiety reduction, but the evidence certainly does not point to a panacea. While a useful tool, it seems that meditation can only be one part of a more complete stress-reduced lifestyle.

How To Meditate For Anxiety Reduction

To start with mindfulness meditation, just follow these steps:

  1. Find a quiet spot, empty of distractions.
  2. Set a timer for the duration you want to meditate. Start with 10 minutes a day and move up from there.
  3. Sit on a chair or on the floor, whichever is more comfortable.
  4. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, on where it feels the strongest. When thoughts enter your mind, don’t reject them. Simply acknowledge them and gently return your attention to your breath.

It sounds simple, but you may find that it is challenging to simply observe breath. The more you pay attention to your breath, the more you may start to want to control it. You may find that simply breathing naturally while observing it neutrally takes practice.

For many, meditating in silence may be too difficult. If that includes you, your practice can be improved by incorporating a guided meditation to carry you through those 10 minutes. These include phone apps, such as Headspace and Breathe, which will not only offer some guidance, but also motivation to keep on going.

What’s great about Spire is that you can see exactly what is going on when meditate. You can observe your heartbeat decreasing, your breath stabilizing and smoothing out, and your focus sharpening. It’s an unprecedented and satisfying way to get feedback on your practice. What’s more, Spire will show your improved states of mind and body as you continue meditating day by day, giving you encouragement to keep on going.

Daily meditation might seem like an impractical use of time. However, in an age of endless distractions and heightened stress, incorporating practices to re-focus your mind is important. Think about the time you waste lost in thought, unfocused, and scatter-brained. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand how meditation yields impressive dividends for a relatively small investment in time. Carve out ten minutes today for your first meditation session. Your mind will thank you!