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Step between heartbeats to optimize heart and brain health during exercise

Guided Counterpulsation is the most exciting development in cardiovascular health and exercise in a generation. Simply put, Counterpace guides you to step between heartbeats - a phenomenon which evidence suggests is the most effective way to exercise for heart and brain health. This sensor-based guidance system has the potential to drastically improve, maintain, and preserve the cardiovascular and neurological health of active individuals. 

What if we could make exercise a little bit easier for everybody while amplifying its health benefits? Turns out we can, and it’s all about blood flow. To understand this concept, let’s review the physiology. While you’re reading this, your heart is pumping enough blood to keep you functioning. However, when you start exercising, your musculoskeletal system (the largest organ system in the body) demands orders of magnitude more blood flow. 


Fortunately, our giant, greedy, skeletal muscles also pump phenomenal amounts of blood in the opposite direction with every step you take. If the heart and skeletal muscles contract at the same time, blood pressure skyrockets and little blood gets delivered to your tissues. However, when you coordinate these pumps in alternating fashion (called “counterpulsation”), blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout your body are amplified. Research suggests that the heart and brain benefits associated with exercise are experienced during this best-case timing. Why? - dramatically increasing blood flow through an organ actually leads to new blood vessel formation!

This process, called angiogenesis, has been documented extensively in response to a medical form of counterpulsation called ECP (External CounterPulsation) which has been saving lives for over 60 years. Developed for heart failure patients, ECP machines drive blood to the heart during its relaxation phase, and the results (right) are profound:


New blood vessel growth in the heart following ECP treatment

Excerpt from: Jacobey J A, Taylor W J, et al, A new therapeutic approach to acute coronary occlusion. American Journal of Cardiology



New blood vessels don’t just help the heart. In fact, ECP patients have received numerous benefits including:



  • Lower blood pressure1
  • Increased brain blood flow2
  • Better cognitive function3
  • Improved virility4
  • Enhanced blood sugar control5
  • Accelerated recovery from exercise6
  • Enhanced retinal blood flow7
  • Improved kidney function8


    Scholarly references listed below


Unfortunately, these ECP machines are expensive, time consuming and require one-on-one nursing. Due to the high cost, health insurance coverage is low, making ECP treatment inaccessible to most of us.

At Counterpace, we realized that you don’t need a giant medical pumping system to benefit from optimally timed counterpulsation - our body provides the second pump. Counterpace brings the benefits of ECP technology in a simple and inexpensive movement-timing guidance system. Our chest strap and mobile app allow you to coordinate your heart and muscle pumps in alternating fashion by stepping to a beat while walking, jogging or exercising on most aerobic gym equipment. Under the hood, our device measures your heart activity and prompts you to step between heartbeats. Just like ECP squeezes your legs while your heart is relaxing, Counterpace harnesses your natural muscle contraction during walking or jogging to produce the same results. 

Internationally published studies and nine years of in-house research has demonstrated that stepping between heartbeats reduces cardiovascular stress and blood pressure, while it amplifies blood flow to the brain.

We’ve partnered with top companies and universities throughout the country, including Medtronic, Stanford, and Indiana University, to increase our understanding of this remarkable phenomenon. 

Counterpace use has the potential to develop, improve, or maintain your cardiovascular and neurological function noninvasively. We are passionate about delivering this technology and its benefits to the Aging community. If you would like to delve deeper into the science behind this phenomenon check out Dr. Bleich’s presentation at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine conference or try Counterpace yourself at www.counterpace.com




1Qizhi Huang, Ruiyun Liu. “Effect of Enhanced External Counterpulsation on Blood Pressure Lowering.” Anhui Medicine, vol. 13, no. 2, 1993, pp 15-16.

2Werner, D., Marthol, H., et al.  “Changes of cerebral blood flow velocities during enhanced external counterpulsation.” Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, no. 107, 2003, pp 405-411.

2,8Applebaum, Robert, Kasliwal, Ravi, et al. “Sequential external counterpulsation increases cerebral and renal blood flow.” American Heart Journal, vol. 133, no. 6, 1997, pp 611-615.

3Moriarty P.M., Badawi A.H., et. al. “External Counterpulsation Therapy for Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment.” Austin Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 3, no. 1, 2016.

4Froschermaier, S.E., Werner, D., et al. “Enhanced External Counterpulsation as a New Treatment Modality for Patients with Erectile Dysfunction.” Urologia Internationalis, no. 61, 1998, pp 168-171.

5Martin, J.S., Beck, D.T., et al. “Enhanced external counterpulsation improves peripheral artery function and glucose tolerance in subjects with abnormal glucose tolerance.” Journal of Applied Physiology, no. 112, 2012, pp 868-876.

6Roberts, L., James, L., et al. “Effects of external counterpulsation therapy on acute recovery in elite Australian rugby league players.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, vol. 20, no. 1, 2017.

7Werner D., Michelson G., et al. “Changes in ocular blood flow velocities during external counterpulsation in healthy volunteers and patients with atherosclerosis.” Graefes’ Archive for  Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, vol. 239, no. 8,  2001, pp 599-602.


Monday, July 15, 2019