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After serving in the National Guard, Childre started a recording studio in Boulder Creek, California. In his early twenties, he developed some health problems that caused him to look for alternative treatments and that is when he began researching stress. In 1991, he set up the Institute of HeartMath (now called HeartMath Institute) as a nonprofit research and education organization. The institute conducted experiments in how the right sounds can, according to HeartMath, help align a person's heart and mind energies; for example by monitoring EKG and blood pressure of subjects listening to various sounds, it would be possible to tailor sounds to invoke a specific response.