Project Details

Mobile phone with Flowy app on screen


A game to combat panic attacks

By Playlab London

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @flowygame

Organisation URL:
Organisation Twitter: @playlablondon

  • Health
  • Mobile

Anxiety is a mental health issue that few people are unaffected by. Anxiety and depression is the cause of 40% of global disabilities, and in the UK alone, 3 million people have an anxiety disorder. Yet 75% of anxiety sufferers are not receiving treatment.

Flowy is a smartphone game that helps users focus on deep breathing techniques to combat hyperventilation, panic attacks and feelings of anxiety. The game uses breath training and diaphragm control to guide players to regulate inhalations and slow exhalations. The player presses a finger on the screen to indicate each inhalation, and the in and out breaths control the game’s mechanics as the player progresses through the narrative by breathing in a controlled way. Flowy combines gentle game-play with empowering exercises that reduce shallow chest breathing and have a physiological calming effect. If used for five minutes every day, the techniques learnt should start to become second nature.

Designed by Playlab London, Flowy is for people who have anxiety but find the idea of asking for help taboo. It is a personal aid to give people the tools they need to overcome the panicky breathing that can lead to increased fear and anxiety. The team at Playlab advises that patients who are already seeking medical help should continue with their treatment and use Flowy as a complementary approach. They aim to develop a version of the game that can capture clinically relevant data to present to the user in a visually useful way, which the user may share with their doctor if they wish.

The game is now available for free download in the App Store and Google Play Store. 

Image courtesy of Playlab London

Last updated: 11th of June, 2014

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