Study Finds Adults Prefer to Learn Mindfulness Training Online

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Research at Oregon Health & Science University, National College of Natural Medicine Finds Results Similar to Those From eMindful

Offering mindfulness training in an Internet format allows these people to actually receive the training benefits. We are lucky to live in a world where such alternative formats are available.

As a growing number of employers bring mindfulness-based wellness programs to their worksites, a recent university study shows adults prefer to take mindfulness classes online compared to individual personal or group instruction. The research validates the experience of eMindful, the leading provider of live, online mindfulness training.

The study was conducted by researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and the National College of Natural Medicine, and reported in the Open Medicine Journal. It is believed to be the first study of its kind to compare preferences in how people receive mindfulness instruction.

Group mindfulness meditation interventions have improved symptoms in many physical and mental health conditions, the study’s authors noted. But, added OHSU assistant professor Dr. Helané Wahbeh, in a conversation with eMindful, “So many people who want and would benefit from mindfulness meditation training do not ever receive it because of schedules, location, and / or an aversion to being in live groups.

“Offering mindfulness training in an Internet format allows these people to actually receive the training benefits. We are lucky to live in a world where such alternative formats are available.”

When the 500 participants in the study ranked their preference for receiving instruction, the Internet was rated as the first choice format (by 43 percent) followed by in-person individual training (38 percent) and lastly in-person group instruction (20 percent).

“Group mindfulness-based formats have many benefits,” the study’s authors noted in their paper. “The group format usually costs less than individual therapy because one therapist can see many patients in a session. Groups can also provide motivation and synergistic learning opportunities for the participants.

“Meeting other people with similar or other issues can give the participants a wider perspective on their own situation and allow them to see how others handle their problems. Participants can provide encouragement and emotional support for each other instilling a sense of camaraderie.”

But, the researchers added, “The most prevalent pro response for the Internet format was that it was convenient and easier.”

eMindful designed its programs to give participants the advantages of group classes but also the convenience of taking them over the Internet. Unlike taking part in live, in-person classes, participants in eMindful’s programs can control how publicly they participate.

“These findings from the recent study are consistent with our company’s experience,” said Joel Kahn, MD, eMindful’s chief medical and operating officer. “When we have compared live vs. online classes, our online classes have had attendance and completion rates that were 15 to 20 percent higher than the live classes.”

Mindfulness practice has grown rapidly in recent years as more individuals have pursued training, and as major employers have found mindfulness-based stress management and wellness programs to improve employee wellness and productivity.

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About eMindful
eMindful’s evidence-based programs have been adopted by leading employers and health insurers such as NextEra Energy, Aetna, and Humana to help target today’s biggest health cost drivers – stress, obesity, chronic pain, smoking, cancer and other chronic diseases. The company offers consumers and employers convenient access to an internationally acclaimed team of instructors, available through live online courses where participants can see, hear, chat and talk with each other and their instructor.

The company was recently recognized by the National Business Group on Health for innovation. Since 2007, eMindful’s corporate partners have averaged savings of $8 for every $1 spent, reducing their healthcare costs while improving employees’ productivity, health and happiness. eMindful members have experienced results including 22 percent improved sleep, 37 percent decreased stress, 59 percent reversal of metabolic syndrome, and 40 percent smoking cessation. For more information, visit eMindful.com.

A white paper summary of the journal article is available and can be requested by contacting info(at)emindful(dot)com

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Kevin Renner

Linda Ferguson

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