The science behind meditation

The techniques used within the Headspace® app dotcom-science-icons-headspace have been refined and developed over many centuries. Their aim is to cultivate awareness and compassion dotcom-science-icons-compassion so we can better understand both the mind and the world dotcom-science-icons-world around us. The additional health benefits that occur with regular meditation are helpful byproducts.

At Headspace, we’re committed to moving the science dotcom-science-icons-science of mindfulness forward dotcom-science-icons-time. We want to understand how the benefits of in-person meditation training translates to app-based dotcom-science-icons-app meditation training.

A number of studies dotcom-science-icons-microscope have already tried to answer this question1 and have initially found that online mindfulness training does produce results similar to in-person training. There’s also a large body of evidence backing in-person mindfulness-based training dotcom-science-icons-weights programs like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. These programs have proven effective dotcom-science-icons-battery in supporting both healthy populations suffering routine stress2 and clinical populations experiencing disorders or pathology including anxiety3, depression4, insomnia5, cancer6, and chronic pain7.

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1. Spijkerman, M. P. J., Pots, W. T. M., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2016). Effectiveness of online mindfulness-based interventions in improving mental health: A review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

Clinical psychology review, 45, 102-114.

2. Sharma, M., & Rush, S. E. (2014). Mindfulness-based stress reduction as a stress management intervention for healthy individuals a systematic review.

Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 19(4), 271-286.

3. Chen, K. W., Berger, C. C., Manheimer, E., Forde, D., Magidson, J., Dachman, L., & Lejuez, C. W. (2012). Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Depression and anxiety, 29(7), 545-562.

4. Strauss, C., Cavanagh, K., Oliver, A., & Pettman, D. (2014). Mindfulness-based interventions for people diagnosed with a current episode of an anxiety or depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

PLoS One, 9(4), e96110.

5. Gong, H., Ni, C. X., Liu, Y. Z., Zhang, Y., Su, W. J., Lian, Y. J., ... & Jiang, C. L. (2016). Mindfulness meditation for insomnia: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 89, 1-6.

6. Zhang, J., Xu, R., Wang, B., & Wang, J. (2016). Effects of mindfulness-based therapy for patients with breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26, 1.

7. Veehof, M. M., Trompetter, H. R., Bohlmeijer, E. T., & Schreurs, K. M. G. (2016). Acceptance-and mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of chronic pain: a meta-analytic review.

Cognitive behaviour therapy, 45(1), 5-31.