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Limit symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks in six minutes of play.

Guide a captain and his boat on an epic journey home.

Flowy’s open Beta released on iOS and Android in December 2014. Keep up to date with the Flowy story on our blog.

This is one of our testers. Let's call her Sophie.

Sophie experiences anxiety. She finds it difficult to socialise with people. Sometimes panic attacks keep her away from her desk at work.

When Sophie feels anxious, she reaches for her phone to distract her.

With Flowy she can play a game that’s controlled by her breathing. She solves puzzles that take her through Breathing Retraining Exercises. She wins by staying calm.

How can flowy help?

We are designing Flowy to:

Monitor your use and help you understand your triggers

Give you the confidence to stop avoiding places or people

Alert you to seek help if your symptoms get worse

Flowy is a game that digitally delivers breathing retraining, which is the oldest technique known to reduce anxiety. Interventions for panic attacks which use breathing retraining have been associated with decreased frequency and intensity of attacks. In a recent meta-analysis of 42 studies assessing the treatment of panic disorder, researchers reported that the combination of exposure, relaxation training and breathing retraining provide the best evidence for treating panic attacks. Breathing retraining has been shown to relieve the symptoms of a panic attack in less than 60 seconds.

There is strong evidence to show that breathing retraining can reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks, which you can read here

Bonn, J. A., Readhead, C.P.A., & Timmons, B. H. (1984). Enhanced behavioral response in agoraphobic patients pretreated with breathing retraining. Lancet, 2, 665-669

Sánchez-Meca, J., Rosa-Alcázar, A.I., Marín-Martínez, F., and Gómez-Conesa, A. (2010). Psychological treatment of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 37-50.

Everly, G.S., Jr. (1979b). Technique for the immediate reduction of psychophysiological reactivity. Health Education, 10, 44.

Does flowy work?

We are absolutely committed to making sure that Flowy works. We are making sure it does by doing our research, collaborating with experts and by testing Flowy with people who experience anxiety and panic attacks.

Flowy is being supported by the Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma at King’s College London and the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies teams in Camden and Southwark, and the NHS Merseycare Trust.

More information for clinicians here

We’re so pleased to report that we completed our first unblinded, web-based, parallel-group randomized controlled pilot trial with 63 participants in collaboration with the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in August 2014, where we compared an intervention group playing Flowy with a waitlist control group. After a 4-week period of use, Flowy produced measurable decreases in anxiety, panic and hyperventilation symptoms, and significantly increased quality of life. Flowy engaged its users throughout the trial duration, with 84% of participants who were given access to Flowy proactively using it. Flowy was accepted as an intervention by study participants, who found the game to be useful, easy to use, easy to learn, and recommendable to friends.


More about Flowy

How does Flowy stop you from hyperventilating?

  • Flowy uses breathing retraining to help you feel less anxious and to engage in diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing retraining will slow your breathing down and encourage you to take fuller breaths. Flowy has translated these breathing retraining exercises into gameplay, which means you will be breathing more slowly and fully, but your focus will be on the game and not on your anxiety. Flowy notices if you are breathing properly by your finger touching the screen to inhale, and releasing to exhale.

Why use breathing retraining?

  • Breathing retraining has been validated to effectively manage anxiety, hyperventilation and panic attacks. Breathing retraining exercises are a low-risk, complementary approach to decreasing anxiety, and can be done alongside both behavioural and pharmaceutical therapies. They are quickly learned and easily practiced, making them an appropriate behaviour to translate into gameplay interaction.

But I read research that said breathing retraining exercises don’t work.

  • Please see for our literature review into existing papers about breathing retraining exercises. We are currently conducting a randomized controlled pilot trial and design evaluation with the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary to test Flowy’s efficacy. We will also be working with the NHS in the next few months for further clinical evaluation.

Can breathing retraining become a safety behaviour?

  • Breathing retraining may be counterproductive if it prevents people from learning that their catastrophic beliefs toward their panic attacks are unfounded. Individuals who fear physiological arousal may use breathing retraining as an avoidance strategy. Breathing retraining should be used only because hyperventilation sensations might be unpleasant or unwanted, not because they are dangerous. It is concluded that breathing retraining can play a useful role in the treatment of panic disorder, as long as it is not misused as a means of escaping or avoiding feared sensations.

Does Flowy work alongside other interventions?

  • Flowy is designed as a complementary approach to existing interventions, and should not interfere with any interventions you are currently seeking. Please note the information in this app should not be regarded as an alternative to medical advice received from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. You should also seek immediate medical attention, if you think you may have any medical condition. Please do not delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this app.

Your Data

How will the data be stored, used and protected?

  • Your data will be stored within the EU, following rules by set out by the ICO
  • Your data is shared only with our trusted partners (such as the NHS) and completely anonymised
  • Your data might be used for research purposes, but will be anonymised
  • Your data will be anonymised completely - however if you choose to store extra information we will ensure that it is not shared (ie reports of attacks)

Will my GP have access to Flowy’s data?

  • Your GP won’t have access to any information you’ve provided Flowy unless you specifically give it to them. We will never share your information with anyone without your permission.

Gameplay and Functionality

Are you making more minigames?

  • Yes, games will be constantly in development. You will be notified of any upgrades to the game, which you will be able to access Please feel free to send us any ideas you might have on how to improve our games!

WIll I be able to rate an attack if I want?

  • Yes, in the final game we will have an option to record information about the attacks, which you can share with your GP or therapist.

Will Flowy keep track of my location using GPS?

  • It’s important for us to know where our users are so we can build signposting into the application. As a default we will not use specific location information, rather we will look a general idea of your area or setting (ie which town or city, at work or home) If you choose to record information about specific incidents, Flowy will let you use a more exact location if you require.

General Queries

Will Flowy be available outside the UK?

  • Yes Flowy is available worldwide, but please note our signposting services will only function in the UK for the present moment.

Can I help test if I am outside the UK?

  • Thanks for the kind offer! Unfortunately our testing takes place in the UK.
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