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Tactical Breather emphasizes mindfulness and breathing exercises for stress management. It is ideal for those suffering from depression or mood disorders (especially military personnel). The app breaks down user experiences into four categories: intro, tutorial, breathe and settings to improve navigation. Tactical Breather uses mostly verbal instruction with guided teachings on the importance of breathing for physiological stability and how best to engage in simple exercises to prevent shallow inhalations or exhalations. While breathing, the app offers a visual aid designed as a circle with a timer that changes color as one follows the instructed audio. The guided voice can be switched from male or female to best tailor to the user’s personal preferences, but does not offer long term tracking or personalized user features related to one’s health.

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Overall Score: 3.20/5.00

Research base 1/3
Research support 2/2
Specificity of proposed intervention 2/3
Number of consumer ratings 3/3
Product advisory support 1/1
Software support 0/2

Total 9/14

date of rating:  June 2017

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Available for: Android, iOS 6.1 or later (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
Company Name: DHA Connected Health
Classification (Type of Treatment): Mindfulness
Targeted conditions: Mood Disorders
Target demographics: Adults (especially military personnel)
Special provider necessary: No
Languages Available in: English
Where to get it:
iTunes App Store
Google Play

Research on this App

Tactical Breather has been evaluated in several ways, mostly focused on gathering qualitative information about peoples’ perceptions of Tactical Breather (Roy & Costanzo, 2016) and its various components (e.g., its visualizations, Chittaro & Sioni, 2014). Indeed, the Tactical Breather app, which provides structured experiential exercises, was identified as preferable to other apps that primarily provide psychoeducation (Roy & Costanzo, 2016). Despite the lack of data supporting its efficacy, it has been identified as a popular tool for mental health health (Shore et al., 2014).

Chittaro, L., & Sioni, R. (2014). Evaluating mobile apps for breathing training: The effectiveness of visualization. Computers in Human Behavior, 40, 56-63.

Roy, M. J., & Costanzo, M. A. (2016). GETSmart: Guided Education and Training via Smart Phones to Promote Resilience. Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine 2015: Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Medical Simulation and Experiential Interface, 219, 123.

Shore, J. H., Aldag, M., McVeigh, F. L., Hoover, R. L., Ciulla, R., & Fisher, A. (2014). Review of mobile health technology for military mental health. Military medicine, 179(8), 865-878.