How to Create a Meditation App: A Go-to-Market Guide

Everyone has to deal with stress in their lives and it is a normal part of life. Given the high paced lifestyles that we live combined with the ongoing pandemic and the hardships that have come with it, worrying about things like your job, money, relationships, or a friend or family member is hard to avoid. When having to constantly react to stressful situations while not making adjustments to counter the negative sides of stress, the effects can threaten your health and well-being. 

Thankfully, global mental health awareness is evolving, and increasingly more people strive to rid themselves of constant stress and anxiety and to live more mindfully. App developers have been keeping pace in this market and we can find a wide range of wellness apps.

Mental health apps help people track their moods, keep a therapeutic journal, practice daily self-care, or even find and get in touch with a therapist using only their smartphones. Among them, meditation apps experience a drastic rise, especially during the pandemic. In October 2021, the two most prominent market leaders alone, Headspace and Calm, generated over $12 million.

However, we are convinced that meditation app development is far more than pure revenue. This market segment contributes to global mental well-being, which is crucial during these tough times.

Read on to learn more about the meditation industry, analyze the market leaders, and discover how to create your own meditation app.

Why people meditate

The significant popularity of meditation mobile apps proves the growing interest in the concept of meditation. Nowadays, it has become one of the routine self-care practices for both mental health and physical well-being.


  • People try meditation to improve their general wellbeing, boost energy, strengthen memory and concentration, and fight stress, anxiety, and depression. Data from the US National Health Interview Survey shows that over 60% reported significant improvements after trying meditation.
  • Mindfulness meditation helps those who struggle with insomnia and posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Meditation can maintain and improve cognitive abilities and even contribute to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Another study shows that using a mindfulness meditation app can also reduce loneliness and enhance social contacts. It may also explain the potential effectiveness of meditation practices in the pandemic and post-pandemic reality.
  • People dealing with addictions, including alcohol use disorder and binge eating, can also benefit from transcendental meditation and mindfulness practices.
  • Several meditation types help to normalize blood pressure and other rates which can prevent heart diseases.
  • Even short daily meditation sessions can improve your productivity by sharpening your attention and memory.

Even the simplest forms of meditation like focusing on breathing can bring some benefits in the long run. However, to accelerate the progress and make the sessions more effective, people might want to discover more techniques and choose the most appropriate method. A special app for meditation will do its job.

What is a meditation app?

A meditation application helps users master meditation skills and techniques, typically thanks to professional voice guidance (the so-called guided meditation app). Meditation apps vary by form, design, purpose, and complexity. You can develop a sleep, balance, breathing, and walking meditation app, or even combine all the goals in one meditation library.

Besides voice instructions, a meditation app can contain timers, theoretical blocks, mood trackers, and other helpful tools.

Keeping in mind all positive effects, could meditation apps replace other popular mental health services, for instance, individual or group therapy?

Let’s take a look at the strengths of this kind of wellness app.

  • Accessibility. Today, mental health awareness has become commonplace. However, the corresponding services may lack in certain regions and localities, whereas meditation mobile apps are more accessible.
  • Cost-efficiency. Meditation apps offer mental health support for users who can’t afford regular therapy sessions or other costly wellness services.
  • Effectiveness. Using meditation apps has shown promising results in strengthening mental health and improving well-being.
  • Convenience. Apps don’t require scheduling appointments, waiting for them, and even leaving the house. If you need to reduce anxiety, get some sleep, enhance productivity, or just feel better, you can get it instantly from your gadget.
  • Confidentiality. Apps ensure autonomous meditation practice, so no communication or interaction with other people is needed, and you can deal with your requests anonymously. 

Certainly, even the best meditation app can’t provide an appropriate level of professional assistance and tailored approach, compared to healthcare experts. However, it can become an effective self-help tool, and that explains such great demand. 


Calm & Headspace: Success stories

If you decide to embark on mental health apps development, you might want to make your projects as prosperous as apps like Calm or Headspace, the leaders in this field. To achieve that, it is helpful to know where they started and what allowed them to reach top positions on the market. We looked back at the stories behind the giants.


The Calm meditation app appeared on the market in 2012, and in 7 years, it was propelled from a startup to the first unicorn in the segment. Its founders, Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith, were experienced entrepreneurs even before building the Calm application. However, the turning point in their career path was the outcome of their interest in mindfulness and neuroscience.

Alex and Michael decided to create a meditation app in the times when society, including potential investors, was still skeptical of the concept of mindfulness. So the founders invested in proving the effectiveness of everyday meditation practices, especially for those who often feel exhausted.

Over time, the attention to mental health care became more recognized and accepted. For the Calm business, 2020 was a booming year. Millions of people were in search of a way out of constant stress and anxiety about the uncertainty of current times, and the app reached over 10 million downloads in the second quarter of the year. 

However, the company was flourishing before the pandemic, and it is in a great state now, too. As for the first quarter of 2021, the Calm app revenue amounted to around $23 million.

So what Calm app features attracted such a wide audience?

  • The app lives up to its name, given the whole product, and primarily the design, is saturated with tranquility.
  • Sleep Stories is a distinctive detail of the app that offers calming narratives to help fall asleep faster.
  • The app interacts with influencers and celebrities, such as Eva Green, Stephen Fry, Leona Lewis, and Matthew McConaughey featuring in Sleep Stories.
  • Daily Calm offers a 10-minute program that helps even the busiest users build a routine.
  • The company places much emphasis on the scientific basis of mindfulness practices, and their content gets reviewed by professionals.

Among other meditation apps, Calm found its unique path and evolved into a product with an unmistakable branding. One can suggest that it was the dedication that helped Alex and Michael go that far.



The Headspace meditation app is the second giant on the market. Its founder, Andy Puddicombe, became a Buddhist monk after 10 years of traveling across the world (from Nepal and India to Thailand and Australia) and learning meditation first-hand. He was eager to share his knowledge about mindfulness practices. Together with Richard Pierson, his ex-client, Andy launched the Headspace company in 2010, having around $50.000 from friends and family.

The Headspace app was introduced to the market two years later. At first, it contained 365 meditation sessions, voiced by Andy. It evolved further in the later years, complemented with specific sections like meditations for stress, sleep, relationships, sports, as well as intricacy levels.

The current version of the Headspace app works for 70+ million users from over 190 countries. Headspace revenue amounted to over $16 million in the first quarter of 2021, and the app had around 3.34 million downloads during the same period.

What makes Headspace special today?

  • Headspace’s characters are funny and recognizable.
  • The color palette creates friendly and comforting vibes.
  • Game-like elements capture users’ eagerness to continue using the app while encouraging them not to give up on the process.
  • The app offers content for children, which expands its user base and contributes to an individual’s wellbeing no matter the age.
  • Headspace is present everywhere, from emails to its official blog and YouTube channel.

These special features explain why so many users enjoy using the app, and offer us insights into how to develop a meditation app like Headspace. The impressive progress its founders have made is inspiring, proving you don’t need a fortune or a large team to start and succeed.


The best meditation apps on the market

Despite the huge popularity of the biggest meditation apps, Calm and Headspace have quite enough competitors. Meditation is a highly individual experience, so for every user, it is important to find the most suitable app. 

Take a look at our brief compilation of other popular apps for meditation to get inspired.

Insight Timer

Insight Timer is one of the most well-known Calm and Headspace competitors. This app is perfect for those who are frustrated with the prices of meditation apps. Insight Timer has the largest library with thousands of various guided meditations, even from renowned experts – and all that for free.

As the name suggests, the app also offers an adjustable timer for individual unguided sessions. On top of that, you get access to a local community where you can get to know other meditators and exchange your experiences.

Waking Up

The man behind Waking Up is Sam Harris, a famous neuroscientist and philosopher who obtained degrees at UCLA and Stanford University. He delved deeply into the scientific foundations of meditation – the practice he personally devoted 30 years of his life to. 

Waking Up has a separate theoretical section for those who want to get an in-depth understanding of meditation. Want to explore even more? In the app, you can find interviews with teachers and scholars, as well as short talks on neuroscience, ethics, psychedelics, and other scientific and philosophical topics. Not to mention the classical practice section with guided meditations, voiced by Sam himself.

Simple Habit

The name of the Simple Habit app is pretty self-explanatory. It offers a quick 5-minute meditation session that fits in anyone’s schedule, no matter how busy the user is.

The meditations target a wide range of occasions – whether a user wants to fall asleep, start the day the right way, feels overwhelmed after work, or just had a rough day. Additionally, there are many sessions led by guest experts.

Stop Breathe Think

The Stop Breathe Think meditation app is another simple-to-use Headspace or Calm app alternative that is perfect for both beginner and experienced meditators. The cross-cutting idea of the application is that paying attention to your mental state during the day is as essential as other self-care habits.

The app offers personalized meditations based on the users’ emotional check-ins, so they can start an appropriate session right away. You can also reflect on your current psychological state by filling out an expert-guided journal.


In the Western world, meditation evolved from an ancient monk practice to a trendy yet important daily self-help tool – at least that is what other apps try to achieve. In this regard, Sattva is completely different. It is inspired by Vedic principles and imbued with the respect to the old tradition.

The one-of-a-kind app offers meditation sessions, chants, mantras, and authentic music to provide a unique experience for those who want to get back to the origins of these practices. It also has a mood tracker, progress stats, challenges, and a local meditation community.

Key features of meditation apps

The meditation app market is diverse. Many authors put their unique ideas and knowledge into creating a helpful and thus successful app.

Nonetheless, some common features can give a general idea about a quality product and how to create apps similar to Headspace, Calm, and other industry leaders.

  • Onboarding block. Pay special attention to this part, as it will be the first impression a user gets of your meditation app. Show off the design while showcasing, in a nutshell, the positive effects of meditation, hooking them with a concise but beckoning overlook of the main app features.
  • Personal profile. The best meditation apps strive to provide a personalized experience for every user, and a profile is a great tool for it. Make it customizable and useful. For example, you can let meditators track their progress in real time or connect with a community.
  • Meditation library & sessions. Needless to say, it’s the core of your app. Start with the basic sections and then add more options – here the sky is the limit; just make sure it is well-organized and searchable.
  • Play screen. This part can drastically affect the user experience in your app. The play screen can be minimalistic or with an image in the background. Ideally, it should comply with the type of meditation and reflect its purpose.
  • Progress tracker. This component is responsible for user engagement. Let meditators see how far they have come, and they will crave to continue. Progress tracker will also help users stick to the habit of daily meditations, and eventually, they will be grateful for this feature.
  • Push notifications. You can engage users by reminding them to meditate with kind notifications. You can make it even more personalized, add a joke, or just make it a classic friendly reminder. Just like everywhere in meditation app development, it’s another space for creativity.

These features are essential for any meditation app, as they draft its fundamental functionality. Provide a personalized touch to this framework, and you will obtain a high quality, yet unique product.

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How to make a meditation app: 6 things to consider

Research and validate your idea

To create meditation apps that will become noteworthy, you need to get a clear concept first. Think about your target users: are they newbies or experienced meditators? How old are they? What problems do they have and why have they decided to meditate?

Then, ponder the details about the app. You can choose to focus on specific practices for better sleep, yoga, walking, productivity, breath meditations, or include them all. Outline the basic and additional functions, the platform, and the unique features your app will offer.

Such a rough draft will help you see the future app as a whole, and it will be easier to work further in detail, keeping the bigger picture in mind.

Specific design

The meditation app design reflects and promotes the main purpose of the product. The palette often comprises pastel colors (usually blue, pink, yellow, green, etc.), creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. You can also find darker tones and natural landscapes.

The main thing is that the design should be clean and uncluttered, so users can focus on their self-care sessions. If you want to include animations, make them also calming and smooth.

Choose a monetization model

When it comes to making money on your project, in-app ads are definitely not recommended. An app for meditation is a stress- and irritation-free space, and an ad suddenly showing up on the screen will make users delete the app in a second.

Some better options could be the following models:

  • Subscription is the most commonly used monetization tactic for apps like Headspace. Users have a chance to get a limited number of sessions and then decide to pay monthly, yearly, or once for a lifetime. 
  • In-app purchases is a way to unlock a part of the content, for instance, a thematic set of meditation sessions.
  • Pay per download might not be the best choice for a meditation app, as users usually want to get to know the app before giving money for it. However, some popular apps like Buddhify still use this system.

As your app’s popularity and the audience grows, you can also turn to earn from partnerships and sponsorships in collaboration with brands and influencers.


Meditation is tightly connected with the inner state of a person, which makes it a highly individual experience. Bear this idea in mind and try to personalize every aspect of your meditation app, and users will enjoy it.

Personalization doesn’t end with a user profile. You can embody it in notifications, trackers, and statistics. Another step further is to leverage machine learning for offering recommendations based on used meditation sessions.

Wearables integration

Any app that can be used with wearable gadgets and accessories looks more solid. Investing in such integration will contribute to a higher reputation of the whole app. Moreover, it will make the app usage more convenient, and hence improve the user experience.

Meditators can not only get notifications on their smartwatches or fitness trackers but also start their meditation session right from a wearable device. Consequently, they will have a chance to spare a moment for the practice even when their smartphones are not around.

Consider gamification for user engagement

You don’t want your users to get bored in your app. To make them visit the app more regularly, give game-like elements a try. There is nothing fancy about in-app points and awards, but they may improve user engagement.

You can also try to turn this formality into a real quest and add daily tasks, unlock additional meditation sections during the progress, or develop a special achievement system. This approach will also help users stay consistent with their practice and turn meditation into a new healthy habit.


Wrapping up

Meditation apps hold a special place in the app development industry. They require a distinctive design, extensive knowledge, and an understanding that every word and gesture is meaningful. But most importantly, they are intended to make reality a safer and more enjoyable place for everyone. 

We have covered the basic principles of how to make an app like Calm or Headspace, the top players in this niche, and hopefully provided some inspiration with other examples of the best meditation apps. So now, it’s your turn to enter the market of wellness apps and create a product with a fantastic idea and resounding impact.

We know how crucial an eye for detail is in such valuable projects. Connect with our team to develop a meditation app and take your place in this niche.

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