Breathe With Me is a wearable t-shirt that leverages the expansion and compression of pneumatics to encourage the wearer to focus on and control their breathing during moments of panic and anxiety.
Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans, many of whom suffer from panic attacks. Panic attacks are unpredictable, debilitating episodes typically characterized by shaking, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and intense fear. The combination of fear and physiological symptoms continues to heighten one another, escalating the panic attack. Paralyzed with fear, one’s breathing becomes short and shallow. While some strategies for coping with anxiety involve meditation or medication, I want to offer a new solution, one that transforms the anti-anxiety techniques of both diaphragmatic breathing and applied deep body pressure into a garment that could be worn anywhere.
The result, Breathe With Me, is is a wearable t-shirt that leverages the expansion and compression of pneumatics to encourage the wearer to focus on and control their breathing during moments of panic and anxiety. The user squeezes a hand-pump to inflate two air pockets that hug their chest and back, providing comfort in the application of gentle pressure. The hand-pump itself is soft and tactile, shaped to match the form of a person’s hand, and absorbs muscle tension to provide stress relief. The repeated squeezing of the pump combined with the soft compression develops a pattern that simulates deep breathing, guiding the user to practice breathing together with their garment. Essential oils are also dispersed with each pump as an additional calming element.
Furthermore, in creating Breathe with Me, I challenged myself to try to uphold environmental ethics when selecting materials, despite the lack of resources available for fast and affordable sustainable production. My final prototype is made with soft white cotton fabric by the way of vintage laundry bags, and silicone, which is non-toxic throughout its entire lifecycle when properly developed.