At WWDC, Apple announced a new mindfulness app called Breathe. As a company spokesperson explained on stage, the app is designed to help relieve stress by coaching users through timed breathing sessions and set up reminders to relax.
— John Torous, MD (@JohnTorousMD) June 13, 2016
Apple is far from the first to develop an app for mindfulness. On its app store, hundreds of app makers make similar claims about helping users deal with stress and anxiety. But are they really making a difference? Harvard psychiatrist John Torous says Apple’s interest in the space doesn’t—and shouldn’t—serve as any kind of validation for the bulk of these apps, which aren’t clinically validated:
It is premature to say the mindfulness app space is well validated at this time. Recent studies looking at commercial apps raise serious concerns and there is little evidence for the efficacy of such apps. These companies are very bold in their claims, and very quiet when things don’t work.