Calm is a web- and mobile-based program intended to help users reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and relax through the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Calm offers a free 7-day program that contains 7 guided meditation audio sessions ranging from 3 to 25 minutes in duration. Additionally, users can access individual guided meditation audio sessions (users can determine duration of 3 to 25 minutes) and a few unguided meditations (users can set their own timer). For instance, at the time of our review, the free guided meditations included body scan, forgiveness, and sleep stories. Users can subscribe (monthly/annual paid subscription) to access many different targeted meditation programs and individual guided meditation audio sessions targeting various aims/needs (e.g., walking meditation, calm kids, deep sleep relax). Charts allow users to track the number of consecutive days they have used the program, the total time meditated, and the number of meditation sessions completed. Additional features include a new 10-minute meditation added daily (paid subscription); breathing exercises to relax; and free soothing nature sounds and scenes to use during meditation or yoga, or to help the user sleep (with more available to subscribers).
Calm is suitable for users of all age groups and experience levels who are interested in practicing mindfulness meditation. For those who are not familiar with meditation, Calm offers a 7-day “learn the basics of mindfulness meditation” program, which consists of clear and easy-to-learn guided meditations. More experienced users can choose from one of the structured meditation programs (e.g., “7 days of managing stress”), the daily session, or the unguided meditations. The program is easy to use and offers a good selection of exercises to choose from. The narration is pleasant, and the graphics and background sounds are soothing. The sleep stories are an interesting addition, with a calming effect reminiscent of bedtime stories for children.
Calm is a good app for both beginners and experienced meditators. It could be added as a supplement to treatment in cases where relaxation techniques and meditation practices would benefit the patient but are not covered in person for various reasons (e.g., lack of time, lack of clinician training, or focus on other issues). The program’s price (at the time of evaluation) may be considered high for some patients, in which case we advise clinicians to suggest other meditation apps.