The Stir Behind Your Favorite Meditation Apps: Headspace and Calm

Imagine a world where digital technology is the new tool to escape digital technology. Ironic? Maybe. Genius? Absolutely.

The meditation apps, Headspace and Calm, are growing in popularity among zen-seekers to bring about new levels of mindfulness, while on a head-on battle for being most effective and successful.

Calm (left) and Headspace (right) by Mitchel Broussard from MacRumors

Creating a source for meditation and mindfulness on a device that we can hold in the palms of our hands, crafts a private and intimate space for users. A personal spce before falling asleep at night or in the morning when we first wake up. That is exactly what the founders of Headspace and Calm aimed to accomplish by designing their innovative apps.

One key factor regarding the two apps is the access for those that do not want to pay for a subscription fee. According to Headspace’s website, free access to the app includes:

  • Ten sessions of the Basics
  • The first session of all courses
  • 3 sessions of Sleepcasts

Calm, on the other hand, includes:

  • Timed meditation options
  • The first day of every multi-day meditation programs
  • The Breathe Bubble (a breathing exercise)
  • One sleep story called Blue Gold.

The access to the free versions seems to just about mirror each other, creating a competition between the two for users.

““I would say we’re in mindful competition with each other.” Calm vs. Headspace in the meditation app market. I have both. via @WSJ

— Larry Dignan (@ldignan) December 17, 2018

Prescription App – Headspace

According to Business Wire, Headspace will advance to a “…newly developed, clinically-validated and FDA-cleared meditation [program] specifically designed to treat a broad range of chronic diseases.” Headspace founders, Rich Pierson and Andy Puddicombe have shaped a product that, according to Pierson, is highly recommended by health professionals as a resource for treating a large number of health issues. Pierson and Puddicombe are capitalizing on this triumph by enabling this prescription feature.

Popularity – Calm

Calm, however, continues to rank highly in terms of popularity, as it has been ranked “…the top grossing health and fitness app and 20thoverall on iOS…” says Angelica LaVito for CNBC. This popularity is impressive, considering Headspace has almost six times the number of employees than Calm does, according to Hilary Potkewitz from The Wall Street Journal.

Headspace vs. Calm by Sensor Tower from The Wall Street Journal

What would you think, though, if I told you that while Puddicombe studied meditation at Buddhist monasteries for 10 years, Calm’s founders, prior to creating their app, worked in online gaming and advertising, as Potkewitz reports.

The debate regarding which app is more effective and successful is very real. Users that I have talked to have their own reasons for whichever app they like best. For example, a friend of mine claims that Calm provides more options, while another friend likes the design and organization of Headspace.

Kathleen Chaykowski from Forbes announces that Headspace has an “…annual revenue north of $50 million and a valuation estimated by Forbes of about $250 million.” This makes Headspace a highly competitive candidate for meditation apps. Chaykowski also mentions that Headspace has been downloaded more than 11 million times. Calm, on the other hand, has been downloaded more than 40 million times, says Krista Gmelich from Bloomberg News.

It just comes down to knowing and understanding what works best for you and when– in fact, isn’t that what mindfulness is all about?

Download the apps Headspace and Calm to find out.

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