Headspace is an English-American online health company with a specialty in meditation. Headspace was incorporated in London in May 2010 by Andy Puddicombe and Richard Pierson. Puddicombe is a former Buddhist monk, and Pierson has a background in marketing and new brand development. It is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, with offices in San Francisco and London.
The company operates mainly through its online platform, where it provides sessions of guided meditation to its registered users to achieve mindfulness and general wellness. Overall, the services of the company are offered through a freemium subscription service model.
Before starting Headspace, Puddicombe had cut short his undergraduate program in Sports Science at the age of 22 and traveled to Asia to become a Buddhist monk. He was fully ordained at a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas. However, in 2004, he made a return to the UK on a mission “to make meditation accessible, relevant, and beneficial to as many people as possible” through the most technological and straightforward way possible. While running a meditation clinic in London, he met his future business partner, Rich Pierson.
Although, Headspace began as an events company, holding mindfulness talks in and around London. Demand from attendees to share these techniques led to Puddicombe and Pierson looking into developing a mobile app, the first version of the Headspace app was launched in 2012. Headspace currently has over 100 staff on its employee roaster, working between the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London offices.
As part of its corporate expansion and development plans, Headspace hired Ross Hoffman as Chief Business Officer in June 2017.
In June 2018, the company launched Headspace Health, a subsidiary aimed at developing FDA-approved meditation tools prescribed to help treat a range of chronic diseases.
As part of its primary functions, Headspace provides guided meditation resources for its online users. Resources that can be accessed through the company’s website and mobile app are available on the Android and iOS platforms. Users can access up to ten days of free content, after which they have the option to take out a monthly or annual subscription or continue with the free trial material.
In June 2014, version 2 of the Headspace platform was launched. For version 2, the app’s content is focused on four areas, provided the users have completed the Foundation stage: health, performance, relationships, and Headspace Pro. The app employs gamification to encourage users to meet and master a level of meditation before moving on to a more advanced section. Each session is about ten minutes long, usually delivered in audio format.
Since its inception, Headspace has been used in several clinical trials, especially investigating the effects of mindfulness training. In one such trial, funded by the British Heart Foundation, researchers from UCL examined the impact of mindfulness on workplace stress in two major multinational corporations, using the Headspace app as the intervention. The study found a significant increase in wellbeing, reductions in anxiety and depressive symptoms, significant reductions in diastolic blood pressures, significant increases in perceived job control, as well as a significant decrease in sleeping problems.
In recognition of the work and effort that has gone into the company’s growth, Headspace has featured on both UK and US television, appearing on The Today Show, BBC Breakfast News, ABC News, and The Dr. Oz Show. It was also featured on the BBC Two science documentary Horizon, where they tested the efficacy of mindfulness using the Headspace app over eight weeks.
Learn more about Headspace by visiting their website.