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Komuso Design: Review of the Shift Necklace (2020)

Komuso Design: Review of the Shift Necklace (2020)

In this post, we comprehensively review The Shift Necklace by Komuso Design. Read on to learn everything you need to know!

Introduction 

A necklace with the ability to shift you from the depths of a panic attack into deep-state calmness? We didn’t believe it either, but it turns out this is actually an age old practice that is simply making a design comeback. 

In this post, we review the Shift necklace by Komuso Design. 

In this article we discuss the following:

    • What is the Shift Necklace?
    • How Does the Shift Necklace Work?
    • What Does a Shift Necklace Look Like?
    • History of the Shift Necklace
    • Our Experience 
    • Cost of the Shift Necklace
    • Alternatives to Breathing Necklaces
    • Conclusion: Is it Worth it?

What is the Shift Necklace?

An unfamiliar eye would probably see a Shift necklace and assume it to be some sort of glorified whistle, or perhaps even a rare antique device used in the good old days to get illegal substances from surface to nostril (you know what we mean). 

The Shift necklace, sometimes called the Komuso necklace, is a unique piece of jewelry that has been doing the rounds on Instagram in recent months. The necklace is a regular chain featuring a specially fashioned mouthpiece on the end, that hangs low like some sort of post-modern pendant. 

This mouthpiece forms what people are calling the mindful breathing necklace. The pendant doubles as a tool for people with anxiety to use in the midst of impending panic. Functional jewelry such as this is gaining in popularity world wide, especially as the subject of mental health becomes less and less taboo. 

It is estimated that at least 4% of the global population suffer from some form of anxiety. These statistics show that woman are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety, which is possibly attributed to the fact that women generally have a lower social standing compared to men, and are more at risk of joblessness, poverty, rape and other physical abuse. 

Komuso Design is a company based in Florida, USA. A few years ago, they revisited some of the more common practices used to treat panic states, and in 2017 released the Komuso Shift Necklace for the world to take advantage of. 

The necklace is unisex, and intended for both men and women to wear free of gender biases. There is no doubt that this necklace is a fashion statement, as it’s too unexpected looking for it to blend into the background. But the intention of the piece is not to cause a runway stir; instead, it’s to build a relationship with the wearer so that their anxiety can start being brought under control, slowly but surely. 

How Does the Shift Necklace Work?

Anxiety and panic attacks are usually attributed to the inability to control one’s breathing. Anxiety can start off mild and manageable, but certain triggers in our day can lead to these levels slowly increasing. Unconsciously, we begin to adopt more shallow breathing, as it gives the illusion of control on the inside, especially when we are not able to control the outside world. 

Those who suffer from severe anxiety will speak of regular panic attacks, during which their breathing is totally out of whack and they begin to lose touch with reality in blind panic. These attacks can last several seconds to several minutes, depending on how familiar the individual is with bringing themselves back into balance using breathing techniques. Often, people experiencing an anxiety attack benefit greatly from someone stepping in and guiding them through to a more controlled breathing state. 

Not everyone can count on another person to be nearby every time their anxiety begins to rise, and some people actually prefer to pull themselves out of their panic attacks and not “burden” others, as they perceive themselves to be doing. 

This is where Komuso The Shift necklace comes in. When one feels themselves heading into a panic state, they simply raise the necklace mouthpiece to their lips and begin to breath through the pendant, as though it were a straw. 

The device works by prolonging the user’s exhalations, and in the process brings about a calming effect on the individual. Panic is stopped in its tracks, and emotions are turned to the complete opposite direction. The goal is slow, conscious breathing, so that the brain and the body can fight the stress that is rapidly spreading through the body.

Slowing your breathing is a simple fix for a condition that is otherwise debilitating, but it’s a lot easier said than done. Without a breathing device, it can be difficult to slow down exhalations that have passed a certain pace. Imagine them as a snowball rolling downhill, with nothing to stop it and only momentum to be gained. 

Introducing an anxiety breathing necklace into the picture means that there is now something creating a bit of a barrier between the snowball and the bottom of the hill. It may still want to head in that direction, but it’s no longer gaining in speed at such an unmanageable rate.

What Does a Shift Necklace Look Like?

Depending on your personal taste in jewelry, you may not necessarily be the biggest fan of the Shift necklace at first meeting, especially if you’re usually partial to more understated pieces. It’s definitely an unusual piece, and many Komuso necklace reviews call it a “great conversation starter”. 

The pendant itself looks like a small pipe or extended whistle. It’s about the length of your pinky finger, and it hangs on a chain that extends just below the average breast line. 

Your blowing zen necklace will come in your choice of gold, rose gold, sterling silver or matte slate (which is a gunmetal grey color). From a design perspective, these necklaces are works of art, featuring undeniably sleek angles and a very subtle engraving of the Komuso logo at the base of each mouthpiece. 

If you opt for gold, it’s a 14 karat standard. Your chosen necklace will also come in a nifty dust bag, a protective jewelry box, and with exact instructions as to how to make use of your new companion. 

In the thousands of The Shift necklace reviews, no customers are reporting flaws in the design. The metals all seem to be of sound quality, which is the very least we’d expect given the cost of one of these units. More on this later!

What we do like about the design of these necklaces is that they don’t necessarily have to be worn around the neck. The intention is to have the mouthpiece nearby at all times, but you can easily remove the chain from the pendant and simply carry it around in your pocket as an individual piece. We also read about some people on Komuso Design Reddit threads who had slipped their mouthpiece onto a keyring containing their house keys: something you always have on your person when out of the house. 

History of the Shift Necklace

Todd and Vanessa Steinberg are the co-founders of the Shift necklace. They are a married couple who started this journey with the very innocent intention to simply find a way to bring their own stress levels down. 

Vanessa had been into the benefits of meditation for quite some time, but found that it only really worked to keep her calm during the first half of the day, and once the effects wore off she was at the mercy of whatever the rest of the day threw her way. 

One day, they had lunch with a friend of theirs who is a practicing therapist. They expressed their needs and began conversing about different relaxation techniques, and it was at this time that the therapist took a straw from a drink on the table and began demonstrating a slow breathing technique that triggers the nervous system to relax within seconds. 

They were immediately captivated by the effectiveness of the practice, and sought to know more. During the research phase of their development process, they met a flute dealer at a local art and design show. He told them the real history of the breathing technique, which dated back to the Komuso monks of Japan. 

These were monks who used bamboo flutes during their meditation as a means of controlling the mind in a more focused manner. The pair were blown away at this ancient wisdom which was clearly so deeply lacking in the Western world, and took it as their social responsibility to bring the technique to as many people as possible. 

To honor the monks and their age old wisdom, Todd and Vanessa named their brand Komuso Design. They named the device itself ‘The Shift’ because that is the ultimate goal when symptoms of anxiety or PTSD kick in during the day to day; to shift into a better state, not spiral deeper into the darker state. 

The longterm goal for Komuso Design is to lead a never-ending movement in wellness facilitated by breathing techniques. Devices like the Shift necklace are a means of opening up the conversations that lead to wellness, and work to normalize the existence of mental health in society. 

If you can create a stress relieving necklace that helps one person, that person is in a better position to help another. And so goes the never-ending cycle toward wellness and peace for all. 

Our Experience

In our opinion, the Komuso design reviews haven’t lied. The necklace is aesthetically very pleasing and made with care in terms of design choices. We love all of the options available in terms of precious metals; the sterling silver is understated and subtle, while the gold screams “look at me” from across the room. 

The Komuso reviews also seem to agree on the effectiveness of the device when used in the midst of onset panic. If you can remember that there is a breathing piece hanging from your neck, and get it to your mouth, you’ll absolutely reap the benefits of slowed exhalations and their effects on the nervous system. 

The Shift necklace was easy to use and simple to get the hang of, even though this is probably a foreign breathing technique to most people. It feels as though the body has been waiting for this kind of breath work; like an old friend that you’ve been waiting to be reintroduced to since you first developed symptoms of angst. 

There are many Komuso Shift reviews where users express how the necklace failed to act as their reminder to breathe at the beginning of their panic attack. Part of the charm of the design was supposedly that the necklaces size would be a semi-instantaneous reminder that there was help hanging from their neck; they simply have to reach down to grasp it. 

Sometime anxiety attacks and spells of PTSD are so chaotic for the individual, even from the first few seconds, that any sense of aid is immediately forgotten.  Those who experience notably severe panic attacks and struggle to make sense of the world in an instant will likely find a breathing necklace of little use. Perhaps it will take a handful of panic attacks before the first reminder to use the mouthpiece kicks in. 

Assuming you are aware of the necklace at all times, the Komuso Necklace (which is available on Amazon) absolutely does what it claims to do. We tried the device on a few members of our team, and all of them reported a heightened sense of calm even when using the device from an already “calm” state. Those who usually experience moments of panic throughout the day said that the necklace was an easy means of shifting the experience toward a less debilitating state. 

Cost of the Shift Necklace

One concern in respect of the Komuso necklace (as expressed on Reddit and other places) is the retail price. These necklaces are professionally designed, and made from quality metals including plating in 14 karat gold. This comes with a pretty price tag, and the average Komuso necklace (based on Amazon’s prices) is being sold for between $85 to $115. 

Here are the cost breakdowns for each variation:


The cost of the Shift necklace is something we could justify were this the only device on Earth to stop panic attacks in their tracks. The fact of the matter is that this is an ancient practice that was originally achieved by fashioning pieces of bamboo into breathing tools. 

This is where the design of the necklace has perhaps overshadowed the function of the device. By pricing these necklaces at these rates, the makers have excluded a massive demographic of people who now won’t have access to these breathing tools no matter how in need of one they may be. 

We’re all for modern design and technology, and will always give credit where it’s due. Like many of the commentators in respect of the Komuso Shift on Reddit, we agree that these necklaces are far more attractive to hang around the neck compared to a flute of bamboo. That being said, we also like inclusivity and accessibility, especially when it comes to the subject of mental health. 

Mental health treatments have long been something that those with money had access to, while those without usually have to pretend their mental state is simply a byproduct of their economic position and will get better when the money comes in (so work hard)! 

Is the Shift necklace simply reinforcing this narrative, yet again? 

Alternatives to Breathing Necklaces

Exclusivity aside, it’s not the responsibility of any jewelry company to take on the needs of the entire mental health community; this we can acknowledge. 

A brand with the ability to design and make lavish breathing tools suspended from a 14 karat gold chain should be able to give their creations to the world, free of criticisms from those who don’t fall in the affordability bracket. 

We say this because the truth is there are more affordable alternatives to the Komuso necklace, you just need to get a little streetwise about it. 

Think back to the original therapist who initially introduced the Komuso Design couple to the breathing technique. He used a disposable straw from their dining table to demonstrate the practice, and he did it to full effect. 

If you don’t have $100 to splurge on a breathing necklace, consider carrying around a straw of sorts in your handbag or pocket. Cutting any old straw in half will take it to a more compact, manageable size, and all that is required from you is to remember to whip it out during the day when times get a little tender. 

Because we’re concerned with having a planet to live on in the next 20 years, we’d recommend investing in a reusable bamboo straw from your nearest wellness store or online. In fact, these are technically closer to the design of the flutes that the Komuso monks used, so technically you’re more historically accurate when using a necklace alternative like this. 

There are also brands producing necklaces from other materials, such as this fashionable mindful breathing necklace made of crystal. Although crystal is an expensive material, these necklaces come in considerably cheaper than the Shift necklace by Komuso Design.

There are also a number of jewelry designers making essential oil lockets. These are necklaces where the pendant holds a significant amount of aromatherapy oil of your choosing, and can be diffused in situations where anxiety feels as though it is about to take over. They also help with general stress and insomnia. 

If you work from home, you can also invest in an aromatherapy oil diffuser for your house that will pump an uninterrupted stream of essential oil scents into the air that you breathe. These won’t necessarily work to slow breathing during an active anxiety attack, but they can reduce the likelihood of an attack occurring. These diffusers calm the space, making it less of a reactive zone and a naturally more pleasant place to be. We understand that for people who work in chaotic office spaces this won’t necessarily be a viable solution, and perhaps then a breathing necklace is something you need to look at more seriously. 

Conclusion: Is it Worth it?

We say: it depends. 

It depends on your financial situation, the environment in which you find yourself day to day, and the severity of your anxiety. 

As we mentioned above, for individuals who have to spend their days in high-stress environments, a breathing tool that can hang around their neck may be a worthwhile investment as a long-term solution to panic attacks and anxiety at work. 

We also mentioned that a straw can get the job done if you really need it to, but we understand that not everyone is necessarily going to be comfortable pulling out a straw during a situation as vulnerable as an anxiety attack. High stress situations tend to come with perceived levels of judgement, so a straw may feel like an embarrassing tool when someone is being pulled into a low state of anxiety. Worrying about being judged for a breathing tool is not a stress that needs to be added to these situations, so if a 14 karat gold breathing device makes a person feel safer and less vulnerable, so be it. 

What we can tell you is this: there is a happy medium to be found. If you’d like to introduce a breathing device into your day to day, there are ways of doing it that don’t need to attract the attention of everyone in the room. 

Slipping away to the bathroom when you can feel your anxiety levels beginning to rise is a great way of using a breathing tool in seclusion. Because of the effects that these tools have on the nervous system, you don’t need to make sure people are around you to help when a panic attack sets in; the goal is for the device to prevent or shift the current attack. 

So, from this perspective, we personally don’t think there’s really any need to fork out the hefty price attached to these elite necklaces. If you’re happy to keep your breathing tool between you, yourself, and you, then it matters not whether the device is fashioned from gold or from the bamboo straw you found on Amazon. 

There are also brands producing necklaces from other materials, such as this fashionable mindful breathing necklace made of crystal. Although crystal is an expensive material, these necklaces come in considerably cheaper than the Shift necklace by Komuso Design.

The only real reason we’d invest in a Komuso Design Shift necklace? To support their mission in making mental health a more openly discussed topic. As we’ve said, these necklaces are conversation starters; all who you come into contact with whilst wearing them will have to start considering the severity of the ways in which mental health plagues our communities. It may even inspire them to introduce the breathing method to someone they know who is in need of some help. Slowly this will change the world, and this is absolutely worth $100. 

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