With eMindful, companies and consumers may finally have a solution for high health risks, productivity losses, and medical costs.

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Mindfulness, the health and wellness trend sweeping the nation, offers a viable solution for companies, consumers, policymakers and healthcare providers.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Physiological findings showed that not only were participants' perceptions of stress, sleep, and pain improved, but their biology confirmed these shifts. - Dr. Ruth Wolever, Chief Science Officer, eMindful

Every demographic group in America is experiencing a dramatic rise in the occurrence of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses, and with it comes a significant rise in healthcare costs that are shared by all consumers. What's more, decades of scientific research have concluded that highly stressed employees are subject to far greater risk of developing a chronic illness and a less productive professional life. Companies are aggressively seeking solutions. With medical costs associated with chronic illnesses already eclipsing half a trillion dollars each year, a few companies realized that these catastrophic costs require a scientifically balanced approach. One approach, offered by eMindful, the leading online provider of mindfulness-based programs, is showing great promise as a viable solution with an average return on investment for employers of $8.70 for every $1 spent.

In 2009, Aetna, a U.S leader in the insurance industry partnered with eMindful to begin rigorously assessing the possibility that applied-mindfulness practices could help reverse years of staggering losses due to poor health and wellness. Aetna selected eMindful to deliver two different programs, "Mindfulness at Work®" and "Metabolic Health in Small Bytes," and evaluated them through two randomized controlled trials (RCT).

The multinational corporation, Sodexo has published their industry-leading Workplace Trends Report for 2015, in which they note the results of Aetna's rigorous RCTs. The report validates how mindfulness programs, including those offered by eMindful, can successfully curb the high stress levels responsible for driving high medical costs. As indicated per Sodexo's report, health factors found to dramatically improve after applied-mindfulness practice included: perceived stress, metabolic factors, sleep quality, pain levels, and physiological conditions like self-awareness and anxiety.

Dr. Ruth Wolever, Chief Science Officer for eMindful said, "The participants' additional improvement of heart rhythm coherence ratio of heart rate variability – a biological measure of how well the autonomic nervous system processes stress – was particularly significant. This physiological finding showed that not only were participants' perceptions of stress, sleep, and pain improved, but their biology confirmed these shifts."

Finally, the results from participants taking the course in eMindful's online classroom were equivalent to those who took it through conventional on-site classes. However, participants of eMindful's online program had an impressive 96% retention rate compared to 73% who took the traditional on-site class. Both "Mindfulness at Work" and "Metabolic Health in Small Bytes" remain in use by Aetna today and are offered to all 48,000 employees as a sustainable solution to help reduce stress, healthcare costs, and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

As chronic illness continues to plague a growing percentage of our adult workforce and population, corporations may be leading the way to changing how America as a whole approaches the problem, realizing a continual rise of such monumental size and scope is simply not sustainable. The cost burden imposed on corporations, consumers, and taxpayers is currently growth-prohibitive. Perhaps the rising national practice of mindfulness, which is proving to promote sustainable, life-changing patterns and practices in individuals, is the answer. Not necessarily the only answer, but from a scientific and evidence-based perspective, certainly one of the most viable solutions.

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Ryan Gragg

Joel Kahn, MD
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