Ground-breaking Study by BioBeats Uncovers New Ways to Beat Stress

October 20, 2016

BioBeats struck another major pilot following its roll-out with AXA earlier in the year, with one of the world’s leading financial services firms, to offer employees access to the BioBeats platform to understand and effectively manage their stress. The pilot is the largest field study of workplace stress of its kind and the findings from the evidenced-based trial were remarkable.

The academic trial run in conjunction with the University of Surrey, is part of BioBeats’ focus on transforming the way organisations use data to help individuals understand their health, connect the dots and manage their wellbeing by providing personalised interventions based on artificial intelligence (AI).

Stress is a costly thing for employers. It’s been noted that companies also spend more than £29 billion a year on sick days in the UK alone. Further to this, a recent survey conducted by Trades Union Congress (TUC), suggests, "70% of workplaces now have a problem with stress.” The union organization's survey of around 1,000 professionals found that "stress has increased across all areas of the UK" with the top three professions registered as the most stressed included the central government (93%), education (89%) and health services (82%)." The takeaway from this survey is clear: stress is becoming a bigger and more widespread problem across the country.

David Plans, CEO of BioBeats said, “if we don't address it quickly, it will become a ticking time bomb affecting not only workplace productivity but also the overall health of the nation, as we are beginning to better understand the adverse effects of chronic stress on the body. The long-term presence of stress — and the resulting overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost every body function and process, which can put you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including generalised anxiety disorder, depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment. It’s time we focus on changing course and actively address the problem we have with stress“

Reviewing the findings from the pilot, BioBeats found that most users showed signs of not recognising symptoms of stress, reporting to ‘Feel’ less stressed when their physiological stress was increasing. However, during the study, BioBeats uncovered high ruminators (the process thinking about work outside of work) existed amongst staff. The pilot showed an independently verified link between rumination and HRV (heart rate variability) measures. In fact, there is also a proven link between high rumination levels and cardiovascular disease. BioBeats work aims to combat this lethal threat of constant stress and lower HRV levels in employees.

When participants simply did a Deep Breathing session, shown to be a powerful tool to reduce physiological stress, the results were phenomenal. On average, each participant's physiological stress was reduced by 23% within 15 minutes of using the app and a 10% reduction in physiological stress was still in effect 75 minutes after a session.

Plans, concluded, “The fact that businesses are beginning to choose BioBeats as the platform for stress and wellness management for their employees is a huge endorsement of the scientific and evidence based approach we are offering. BioBeats users are passionate about improving their health and we are passionate about growing the platforms on which we can get even better-personalised support to people so that they avoid the effects of stress and burnout.”

BioBeats also offers a consumer-facing app Hear and Now, celebrated as “Mindfulness meets the Sciences”, which allows users to instantly discover their stress triggers, as well as guiding the user through customised breathing exercises. Critically, users are able to learn pertinent health information about themselves through mind and body stress tests. The Hear and Now app is available to download globally and is free from the iTunes App store.

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