CanRelax: A mindfulness and relaxation app for people with cancer

Relaxation exercises can help to reduce stress symptoms and improve quality of life. In a project funded by the Swiss Cancer Research Foundation, researchers at the Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University Hospital Zurich and here at the Centre for Digital Health Interventions have developed a relaxation app for people with cancer.

The CanRelax app provides different relaxation and mindfulness exercises, and a friendly chatbot that guides through the app and helps to integrate relaxation into daily life.


We are currently testing the effectiveness of the app and are inviting adult people with cancer who

  • have had a cancer diagnosis within the last 5 years (initial or recurrent diagnosis, regardless of type and stage)
  • feel distressed (but are not in emotional crisis)
  • speak German

to participate in the study.

The app can be downloaded free of charge (Apple and Android). For more information and to download the app, please visit

Photo credit CanRelax Illustrations:

Video Clips

Relevant Literature

  1. Schläpfer, S., Stanic, J., Eicher, M., Kowatsch, T., Witt, C., Barth, J. (2021) Development of a mindfulness and relaxation app and evaluation of the effectiveness on cancer patients’ distress: a randomized controlled multicenter study, Fachtagung “Chronisch krank in der digitalen Welt”, 13. Januar 2021, online via Zoom. [PDF]
  2. Official Media Release
  3. Trial Registration: DRKS – Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien

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General Information

Developing a mindfulness and relaxation app and evaluating its effectiveness on cancer patients’ distress.

Working Group

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch, Fabian Schneider, Prabhakaran Santhanam


Krebsforschung Schweiz

PD Dr. Jürgen Barth (PI), Sonja Schläpfer, Prof. Dr. Claudia M. Witt, Manuela Oehler
Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Manuela Eicher
IUFRS Institute of Higher Education and Research in Healthcare, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne and Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland & Departement of Oncology, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland

UniversitätsSpital Zürich

2020 – December 2023

Fabian Schneider
Fabian SchneiderMobileCoach Software Engineer and Community Manager