Meditation app aims to help users zen out
A new app developed in Canada is putting a modern twist on the ancient practice of meditation.
It’s one of hundreds of mindfulness apps out on the market, but this one aims to set itself apart with a bio feedback component.
“Meditation is a century's old tradition that has been practiced for a long time and it works," said Pete Wall, the co-founder of Mobio Interactive and one of the app’s creators.
The Wildflowers Mindfulness app measures your heartrate before and after you do one of its meditation sessions. The measurement is taken when the user puts their finger on top of the camera lens. App users can also choose to take a selfie instead before and after their sessions to measure their heartrates. The camera measures your heartbeat by recording subtle changes in your face.
"The camera on your phone looks at how much your blood flow through your skin on your face,” said Wall.
Users then tell the app what mood they’re in, and then they listen to calming statements and soothing nature sounds for about 10 minutes. For those who want even more bio data feedback, users can buy an EEG headset for about $300 that will measure brainwave activity.
If your heart rate goes down after the meditation session, it could mean that you’re more relaxed.
"We thought it'd be a good idea to take this old tradition and kind of adapt it for the 21st century and make it an accessible way that people can learn meditation,” said Wall.
The app has five lessons on mindful meditation, and users work their way through the courses.
“It’s great,” said app user Kate Boddington. “The thing that I love about it is that you’re able to track how your mood changes based on when you start the meditation and when you stop so you can actually see how meditation is affecting your mind.”
A recent study from the Journal of Medical Internet Research looked at mindfulness-based apps and ranked them based on engagement, functionality, aesthetic, information, and satisfaction. The study compared the quality of the apps using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) and also examined each app’s features. The top ranked apps were Headspace, Smiling Mind and iMindfulness.