What's the fastest-growing personal health trend? It might be the amazing proliferation of health apps for smartphones. With 9,000 health apps now available for the iPhone (another 4,000 are expected to be added this year) and an estimated 600 million users, there's something powerful going on. People are realizing how much they can do to monitor, manage and improve their health without ever setting foot in a doctor's office.
There's a lot of variety within those 9,000 apps, something for almost everybody. Most focus on physical health — diet, exercise, diagnostic tools, etc.
But there are also some powerful tools for those who want to take a more cerebral and/or spiritual approach to mental and physical well-being. And meditation is a popular subject for these handy tools.
Here are some examples that have good traffic and high user ratings:
• iRelax Meditation—Yoga Nidra HD. User rating: 5 stars out of 5. Cost: $2.99. With stress-related illnesses on the rise, here's another way to take control of your health. Tame stress and reduce tension with a modern update on an ancient meditation technique. Simple, inexpensive and easily inserted into a busy life.
• Healing Words Pro. User rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Cost: 99 cents — "View, share, and submit content of God's healing message to others in the community, and across most major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and more,'' this app's website promises. My favorite element of this one is "iTestimony,'' which allows users to share their experiences of overcoming emotional and physical hardship through faith.
• Mindfulness Meditation 3.0. User rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Cost: $1.99 — This bestselling mindfulness app offers guided meditations from five to 40 minutes. No worries about difficulty level; meditations are written and narrated by Stephan Bodian, author of Meditation for Dummies. Includes Twitter and Facebook integration.
When you find a healthy app you like, why not pass it along to friends and family?
I have a favorite app offered by my church called Daily Lift (4.5 stars, free) that offers short inspirational messages from experienced Christian healers. I've shared it with lots of people who aren't religious and who wouldn't ordinarily consider spirituality a source of health. Yet those short inspirational messages have offered a lift, a quick insight into the nature and source of peace, and even healing.
Bob Clark is a Christian Science practitioner from Belleair. Read his blog at flcompub.org/blog.