Morneau Shepell to test meditation headband in employee wellness programs

Morneau Shepell Ltd. is teaming up with Interaxon Inc. to test meditation-aid technology for use in workplace well-being programs.

Interaxon makes the Muse meditation headband, a research-grade electroencephalography device that aims to help in the meditation process by providing visual and auditory feedback relating to the user’s brain activity. The feedback is an attempt to encourage mental behaviours associated with effective meditation, defined as intentionally calming and clearing the mind.

The headband evaluates the wearer’s mental activity and plays different sounds of weather. When the user’s mind is in a calmer state, the sounds of the weather are calm, but when the user’s mind is busier, sounds of stormier weather come through and are intended to re-centre focus. The device connects with a mobile app that allows users to track their progress after their meditation sessions end. 

Read: Starbucks offering meditation app to all Canadian employees

“In today’s society, meditation and mindfulness are becoming essential skills and we have seen evidence that they are effective in helping to support many key components of well-being, including reducing stress and improving sleep,” said Paula Allen, senior vice-president of research, analytics and innovation at Morneau Shepell, in a press release. “Muse offers the well-known technique of bio-feedback to accelerate the development of those skills. We are continuously seeking and investing in innovation to improve lives and support organizations, and improving mindfulness with bio-feedback is aligned to this.”

The partnership is billed as a way to help employees — such as those absent from work due to disability leave or those suffering from sleep issues — better manage their mental health and responses to stress. As part of a wellness program, the device has the potential to help reduce accidents on the job, reduce absenteeism and optimize employee productivity, noted the release.

“We are excited about this collaboration and see it as an opportunity to significantly advance the ability of workplace well-being programs to improve mental fitness and to offer objective data on the progress toward doing so,” said Derek Luke, chief executive officer of Interaxon. “We see this having significantly disruptive potential by taking well-being to the next level of precision and effectiveness. It offers a new and high-potential platform for understanding opportunities within workplace programs.”

Read: Tips for a healthy workforce in 2020