How Headspace took the mysticism out of mindfulness

The meditation app just raised $93 million to prove that mindfulness is more than mumbo jumbo.

If the dulcet tones of Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe’s delightfully British voice aren’t enough to turn the masses onto mindfulness, the meditation company’s hoping that science (and another $93 million) will.

The app just raised another massive funding round to pursue clinical studies that could provide “scientific validation” for the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.

This is part of Headspace’s push in the last 10 years to decouple mindfulness from mysticism and position meditation as a “practical skill” with real-life benefits. And if they can pull it off, it could turn the entire wellness industry on its head.

That one’s for all you yogis out there…

In the age of gold-infused tinctures, celebrity endorsements, and dubious “Goops,” Headspace has positioned itself staunchly in the world of cold hard facts, touting itself as the “most science-backed digital mindfulness product in the market.”

Its next phase of expansion will double down on this tactic, relying on “over 70 clinical research studies” with academic partners like Carnegie Mellon, University of California San Francisco, and Stanford.

As the tides of corporate opinion shift towards comprehensive employee wellness, Headspace has aligned itself with some of world’s the largest global organizations: It already works with “20% of Fortune 50 companies” and had doubled its B2B revenue year over year since 2017.

Corporations are finally on their ~journey~

If the company can gain clinical validation for the health claims of mindfulness, it could place its services staunchly on the “health” side of the “health and wellness” spectrum. In other words, your meditation app subscription could go from a “new-age” tech company perk to a service covered by healthcare (to that end, the company says it will continue to invest in Headspace Health, a program focused on “integrating mindfulness into healthcare”).

TechCrunch notes that clinical validation may also lead to government financing for mindfulness therapies that could be used to treat a variety of conditions.

In short, Headspace is putting a scientific stake in the ground — and you can bet the rest of the wellness world is watching veerry closely.

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