HLTH23: Headspace, Oura partner to bring a high-tech approach to tackling stress, mental wellness

LAS VEGAS—Wearable company Oura, the maker of the "smart ring," has tapped Headspace to integrate physical health with stress management and meditation and mindfulness services.

During the HLTH conference, Oura unveiled new features to enable members to understand when and how they experience stress and recovery in their daily lives,

Chronic stress has a significant impact on overall health. According to the American Psychological Association, 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health, and those stressors can contribute to other health concerns like high blood pressure, cardiovascular health, anxiety and depression, and more.

Oura's new features offer individuals with user-friendly ways to measure stress and better understand its physical and mental impacts, both day-to-day and over time.

The "daytime stress" feature identifies stress triggers by continuously measuring small changes in biometrics like heart rate, HRV, and temperature. By capturing readings every 15 minutes, Oura's wearable can help identify stress triggers.

A new, AI-powered journal function in the Oura app, enables users to speak and record a short journal entry and use a single gesture to record mood and mental state. Speech recognition transcribes the text, while AI-powered auto-tagging automatically creates context for a member’s Oura data.

Later this winter, Oura will roll out a measure of "stress resilience" and provide insights, education, and recommendations for managing stress to improve one’s overall health. 

When the Oura ring alerts users to a high-stress situation, they can access selected Headspace meditation and mindfulness content. The integration of Headspace's programs provides a deepened view into one’s mind-body connection and understand how stress impacts our physical health, the companies said.

Digital mental health company Headspace, which merged with Ginger in a $3 billion deal in the fall of 2021, offers meditation and mindfulness services along with on-demand coaching, therapy and psychiatry services. 

“Hardware and software are equally important to the ŌURA experience. Today, we have exciting news on both fronts, each stemming from requests from our community. Members asked us for a way to manage daytime stress and support recovery, and we listened,” said Tom Hale, Oura chief executive officer, in a statement. 

Oura’s partnership with Headspace marks the how consumer wearable tools are expanding their capabilities to help increase access to mental health support.

It's not the first cutting-edge tech partnership for Headspace. The company also is collaborating with Meta to integrate its mindfulness content into Meta's Quest 3 Virtual Reality headset.

"The Headspace experience is a “virtual playground for your mind” and a place to hang out with your friends and wind down, find your focus and feel more energized," Headspace told TechCrunch.

The Headspace VR experience will focus on mindfulness experiences to improve users' performance across any VR apps and mindfulness experiences that help users transition out of VR and back to the real world, TechCrunch reported.

Headspace says this virtual reality and mixed reality world is an opportunity for it to expand its mental health resources and make its service more accessible to people around the world, the company told TechCrunch.