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Therapeutic mindfulness support is becoming more and more available online. Mobile mental health resources can now be accessed as easily as your favorite social media app, and the commercial availability of biosensor-enabled wearables means it’s getting easier to bridge the gap between self-directed mindfulness technology and in-office therapy.

Once the exclusive domain of yogis and Buddhists, mindfulness is a form of meditation which focuses on living in the present, observing thoughts and emotions without judgement, and using the breath to bring one’s attention inward. Mindfulness therapy has been shown to be effective in preventing relapses of depression. [1]

There are many ways in which people can access mental health resources online—but there is still room for improvement. Combining existing mobile mental health resources with EEG wearables could lead to improved online mental health care for people who cannot access it in a traditional therapy setting.

Mindfulness and EEG

Practicing mindfulness meditation is associated with changes in brain wave activity which may be detected and monitored by EEG devices. A state of calmness and relaxation generally coincides with an increase in alpha and theta brain wave activity. Experienced meditators tend to show an increase in specific alpha range frequencies and an overall reduction in brain wave activity while meditating. [2]

Self-Directed Mobile Mindfulness

Apps like Headspace and Buddhify help users learn the basics of mindfulness and provide guided meditation sessions which can be done at home or even during a commute. While they aren’t a replacement for professional therapy, many people have reported an improvement in overall mental health after using a mindfulness app.

Mobile Mental Health & E-Counselling

For those who use technology to access mental health resources but require the professional guidance that an app can’t provide, e-counselling is an increasingly popular option. Online access to mental health professionals is incredibly beneficial for people with limited mobility, people who have anxiety issues which may prevent them from seeking help outside their homes, and people who don’t have sufficient access to mental health care due to their geographic location. Studies have shown that e-counselling can be just as effective as traditional face-to-face counselling. [3]

EEG and Mobile Mental Health

Mobile mental health services can be improved with EEG wearable technology. We’ve seen similar applications in other areas of health care–for example, heart disease patients can be monitored remotely by sending self-collected data about their resting heart rate and blood pressure to their physician.

Since brain wave activity can be mapped to different emotional and mental states (high excitement, deep relaxation), consumer EEG wearables could be used to remotely monitor a patient’s emotional response to various stimuli in an e-counselling setting. This is especially useful for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is used to address emotional challenges by interrupting the patient’s typical emotional response to stress, fear, or another negative emotion.

EEG wearables could also enhance the mental health benefits of mindfulness apps by monitoring the user’s brain activity while completing self- or app-directed meditation exercises. Collecting data about the user’s state of relaxation or excitement during meditation can allow them to track their progress and understand the circumstances under which they can achieve the best results from mindfulness meditation.

NeuroSky’s MindWave Mobile EEG Headset for Mindfulness

Using NeuroSky’s affordable MindWave Mobile EEG Headset and MindWave Research package, the next big thing in mindfulness training and e-counselling is within your reach. If you’re ready to innovate, we can help. Visit the NeuroSky Store to get started, or contact us now to learn more.

[1] Dieter Riemann, Elisabeth Hertenstein, Elisabeth Schramm.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. The Lancet, Vol. 387, No. 10023, p1054.
[2] Chow, Theodore, “Mindfulness Meditation versus EEG-Alpha Neurofeedback: The Role of EEG-Alpha Enhancement in Attentional
Control” (2014). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 2302.
[3] Michael J. Mallen, David L. Vogel, Aaron B. Rochlen, Susan X Day. Online Counseling: Reviewing the Literature From a Counseling Psychology Framework. The Counseling Psychologist, November 2005 33: 819-871, doi:10.1177/0011000005278624

About NeuroSky

NeuroSky technologies enable the most insightful and easy-to-understand health and wellness biometrics for mobile solutions, wearable devices, and service providers. The company’s proprietary, market-leading biosensor technologies provide a foundation for analyzing biometric data in a way that’s never before been practical. NeuroSky-enabled solutions deliver unique insights into body and mind health and wellness that can motivate people to make better lifestyle choices.

NeuroSky Technology Fast 500 2014 & 2015 Recipient Awarded by Deloitte LLP

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