Should You Try Online Mindfulness?

Mindfulness courses online may be as helpful as face to face courses

(RxWiki News) If stress and worry seem to consume your day to day life, you’ve probably considered therapy at some point. Yet for many, the cost of therapy is too much.

A recent study has shown online mindfulness classes to be effective for people suffering from stress, and they are cheaper too.

"Practice mindfulness techniques often."

Adele Krusche, from the Deaprtment of Psychiatry at University of Oxford, along with Mental Health Foundation and WellMind Media in the UK, did a preliminary study of the effectiveness of a mindfulness online course. The course was based on aspects of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy.

The 100 participants had signed up for the online course on their own and then agreed to participate in the study.  They spent six weeks and ten online, interactive sessions learning formal meditation skills and mindfulness techniques. The participants were also required to practice at home in between online sessions.

The researchers measured each participants stress level before and after the online course, and then again one month later in a follow-up interview.

On average, the participant’s reported a significant reduction in their stress levels after the end of the course, and were still feeling the benefits of the course at the one month follow up.  

Not surprisingly, the participants that practiced more between sessions saw better results.

The researchers were surprised to find that the online course achieved similar results to face-to-face courses.  

The online course developed for the purposes of this study cost about $95, while face-to-face courses can run anywhere from $200 and up.

This research suggests that online mindfulness courses not only help reduce stress, but are also as effective as more expensive options.

This project was a collaboration between Oxford University, the Mental Health Foundation and Wellmind Media Ltd and was published online in the May issue of the British Medical Journal. The development of the mindfulness program was supported by Wellmind Media Ltd and the Mental Health Foundation.

Wellmind Media Ltd and the Mental Health Foundation received a fee from the intervention. Some of the authors were employed by Wellmind Media Ltd and the Mental Health Foundation at the time of the study.  None of the authors received any payment personally; there are no other reported conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
August 22, 2012