The IONS Research Team is working on two new exciting internet-based meditation studies – Internet Mindfulness Meditation Intervention (IMMI-Phase 3) and Integrative Restoration (iRest-Phase 3) and recruitment for participation has just started! Older adults have fewer physiological reserves and are therefore more likely to be affected by stress and depression. More accessible and effective treatments for depression are needed for this population. Meditation is a promising intervention due to the low-cost, low physical and emotional risk, simplicity, and self-empowerment from engaging in the practice. In-person group meditation programs have been shown to improve stress and depression. However, the in-person group format can be a barrier for many older adults, who may be reluctant to participate in groups or have limited mobility or access to local group classes. Internet-based programs make these potentially beneficial programs available to those who need it – from anywhere and at their convenience.
We have published our results on our previous work studying these programs for older adults. Our paper, Internet Mindfulness Meditation Intervention (IMMI) Improves Depression Symptoms in Older Adults, describes mindfulness meditation intervention as a promising treatment for depression in older adults with improvements in depression symptoms, perceived stress, insomnia symptoms, and pain severity. These improvements lasted up to seven weeks after the original six-week program. IMMI improved depression and related symptoms compared to controls despite minimal support from study staff.
We have also evaluated iRest in two papers: iRest Meditation for Older Adults with Depression Symptoms: A Pilot Study and iRest Meditation for Older Adults with Depression Symptoms: 6-Month and 1-Year Follow-up. These studies found preliminary positive evidence that supports the use of iRest in older adults with depression symptoms. In the pilot study, we found the iRest intervention for older adults with depression symptoms to be feasible and acceptable. Preliminary results at 6 weeks post-intervention demonstrated improvements in sleep impairment in older adults compared to the control group and promising trends in improvements in depression symptoms and pain severity. The 6-month and 1-year follow-up study showed that having access to the iRest materials regardless of whether participants took participated in the intensive intervention-retreat or not helped improve their symptoms.
The IMMI-Phase 3 and iRest-Phase 3 study participants will also get to experience the IONS Discovery Lab (IDL) survey using our online system. The IONS Discovery Lab is our newest research initiative that will be the largest study ever conducted on how transformative practices and experiences influence wellbeing, creativity, intuition, and extraordinary human capacities.
We are currently seeking 100 participants for each of the studies who are 55 years and older and currently reside in the United States. For descriptions of the two studies, please see the details below. If you are interested in participating, you may only apply to ONE of the two studies (you cannot participate in both). Choose the study that best fits your availability and interest. Please read this to the end for important instructions.
Internet Mindfulness Meditation Intervention (IMMI – Phase 3)
This study’s purpose is to learn more about how an Internet Mindfulness Meditation Intervention (IMMI) may affect depression symptoms in older adults. Mindfulness-based meditation programs have been found to improve quality of life, anxiety, depression, and stress in various populations. One hundred generally healthy older adults between the ages of 55 and 90 with depression symptoms will be recruited for the study. The intervention will take approximately 6.5 hours a week for six weeks. The participation includes a one-hour online video course 1x/week, guided by a workbook and 30 minutes of home meditation practice daily, (either on your phone or your computer). This study requires no in-person visits and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Participants will complete online surveys prior to and after completing the IMMI course. Completing the surveys typically takes about 30 minutes. Participants will be compensated with a $50 Visa Gift Card once they have completed the study.
Please click the button below to learn more about the screening process and eligibility to participate in the IMMI-Phase 3 study (please use a desktop or laptop to complete the screening survey as it does not work well on a tablet or smartphone and you may encounter technical issues which prevent you from completing the screening).
Integrative Restoration (iRest – Phase 3)
This study is investigating the effects of an online iRest webinar series to evaluate its effects on depression symptoms in older adults. iRest is based on Yoga Nidra, which is a state of meditation and complete relaxation where meditators withdraw into an inner sensory world. The goal of this type of meditation is to observe sensations without responding to them. One hundred generally healthy older adults between the ages of 55 and 90 with depression symptoms will be recruited for the study. The iRest video course consists of four modules and includes educational information and experiential meditations. Participants will be asked to watch each module, in order, once a week for four weeks. Each module is approximately 1 hour long. Participants will complete online surveys prior to and after completing the iRest course. Completing the surveys typically takes about 30 minutes. Participants will be compensated with a $50 Visa Gift Card once they have completed the study. Please click the button below to see if you are eligible to participate in the iRest-Phase 3 study (please use a desktop or laptop to complete the screening survey as it does not work well on a tablet or smartphone and you may encounter technical issues which prevent you from completing the screening).
These studies are both approved by the Institute of Noetic Sciences Institutional Review Board. Principal Investigator Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR.