From today, for the very first time, millions of people in the UK and world-wide can access a new app purposefully designed to help them cope with the physical and psychological impact of cancer. Natia is the first app to incorporate the holistic programmes of Yoga, Meditation, Music and Conversation to provide individuals affected by cancer with support along the whole care pathway – emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Natia is supported by the UK cancer charity, Maggie’s Centres, who assisted with the development of the app, alongside cancer patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals, who also successfully tested the app. This co-creation approach to development has helped ensure that Natia meets the needs of the individuals it aims to support and provides a truly unique service designed to complement conventional cancer treatments*.
Natia is also collaborating with the Medway NHS Foundation Trust and is currently undertaking a joint feasibility study, with the view to launching a full NHS-run pilot.
The app is the brainchild of John Muolo, a former cancer patient, who used his first-hand experience with cancer to create the app to provide a resource that is available to anyone affected by cancer, every step of the way.
Natia’s four programmes are grounded in research showing that yoga, meditation and music can reduce anxiety and stress, and can be used as an additional beneficial and supportive tool for people with cancer.
YOGA – Natia’s Yoga programme was developed by yoga expert Kate Binnie, and includes pose sequences and breath exercises, with a calm and detailed narration of how the body should move and beautifully animated videos to demonstrate the movements. Each sequence is made specifically for those affected by cancer.
MEDITATION – Natia’s meditation programme is a guided process which incorporates a session theme, and includes a daily suggestion or exercise to bring mindfulness into the listener’s daily life. The programme was developed by Lesley Howells, a consultant clinical psychologist with over 30 years’ experience, and Bodhipaksa, an accomplished meditation teacher and author.
MUSIC – Natia Music offers gentle, calming and specially created music. Each song can be listened to with or without a narration of mindful guidance. The mindful guidance aims to help the user become a more active listener, with the aim of enhancing the therapeutic benefits of the music.
CONVERSATION – The conversation programme consists of authentic, unedited recordings of narration or conversation submitted by those who have been affected by cancer. Listening to these conversations can help people realise that they are not alone in their experiences, and for those recording it can provide a positive and cathartic exercise.
John Muolo, Founder of Natia, comments:
“Often, and understandably, clinicians’ main focus has to be on treating and stopping cancer. With cancer, however, we have to also consider our emotional and psychological well-being. Having practiced yoga and meditation for over 15 years, I have seen how these practices foster a sense of calmness and peacefulness, a pause in our busy minds. It is during this pause that we can begin to change our relationship with cancer and begin addressing its psychological burden. After further researching the therapeutic benefits that yoga, meditation and music can have, the idea for Natia was born – to offer the millions of people affected by cancer much needed support, and thereby, to become the kindest, most empathetic and compassionate cancer-related app available.”
Laura Lee, Chief Executive of Maggie’s Centres, comments:
“Natia is the first digital therapeutic app we have seen that is 100% aligned with Maggie’s aim of helping anyone affected by cancer. Natia provides a kind, compassionate, yet effective tool that can be accessed 24/7 to provide this support.”
Sue Green, Macmillan Recovery Package Facilitator, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, adds:
“From the first we heard of the Natia app, we saw it had the potential to significantly help our cancer patients. Following the feasibility study, if successful, we will work jointly with Natia to initiate a pilot study looking at the impact of the digital therapeutic delivery of the holistic interventions within the Natia app for our cancer patients.”
Lesley Howells, Natia Clinical Lead and Psychologist, says:
“From the second I heard about the ideas behind Natia, I knew that it was a tool that could potentially help millions of people affected by cancer…and I wanted to be involved. Every day, I see people who need holistic, psychological and emotional support in their dealing with cancer. Through Natia this support is available as and when needed, no need to plan or to change your schedule to have access.”
*Natia is a complementary therapy to be used in addition to conventional cancer treatments such as radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. It is not intended to replace any treatment and people should always seek advice from their healthcare professional to discuss additional support options.
News & Analysis