The science behind meditation
The techniques used within the Headspace® app have been refined and developed over many centuries. Their aim is to cultivate awareness and compassion so we can better understand both the mind and the world around us. The additional health benefits that occur with regular meditation are helpful byproducts.
At Headspace, we’re committed to moving the science of mindfulness forward . We want to understand how the benefits of in-person meditation training translates to app-based meditation training.
A number of studies 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 programs like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. These programs have proven effective in supporting both healthy populations suffering routine stress2 and clinical populations experiencing disorders or pathology including anxiety3, depression4, insomnia5, cancer6, and chronic pain7.
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.