Science + Research

Our Approach
The Holly team consists of an academic, scientifically-minded team, who believe in the power of using proven evidence-based approaches to guide and measure impact.

That’s why well designed qualitative and quantitative research approaches are so important to us. Check out our approaches and research projects below.

The Science Behind Holly Health

We're a team of scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs who understand that emotions, stress, and a busy life make habit change really hard! We bring together our experiences in science, startup and product growth, healthcare integration, and coaching, to keep building our impactful and scalable service.
Some of the core components of the service are:

Mindfulness-based techniques

To pay full attention to the present moment and get in touch with brain and body

Mindfulness interventions can lead to substantial physical and mental health outcomes. Studies show that practising mindfulness has measurable effects on the brain: It helps us better regulate our emotions by strengthening or ‘rational brain’ (also known as the pre-frontal cortex), increases our sense of happiness and wellbeing by decreasing our internal chatter, and increases awareness of our internal bodily signals (called interoceptive awareness).

Mindful eating in particular has been shown to reduce emotional eating, binge eating episodes and eating ‘just because’ (also called external eating), ultimately leading to a better relationship with food.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Aligning goals with values, and learning to observe unhelpful thoughts without fighting them

This evidence-based approach is framed around personal values rather than short-term goals, which has been shown to result in long-term commitment for change.

ACT also increases cognitive flexibility, which helps us ‘detach’ from unhelpful thoughts which typically lead to or contribute to anxiety, self-criticism, over-thinking and other mental health challenges.

The science of self-compassion

To treat yourself with kindness through the ups and downs of life, for better all round wellbeing

Studies show that compassion is associated with increase life-satisfaction, happiness, intrinsic motivation, optimism and social connectedness.
It is also negatively associated with maladaptive qualities such as self-criticism, depression, anxiety, and rumination.


Identifying patterns in behaviours, thoughts and feelings to instil awareness and develop helpful techniques.

CBT is the gold standard for many mental health challenges and conditions. The idea behind CBT is identifying and challenging thoughts and behaviours, as well as understanding their relationship with emotions. This approach includes helpful tools such as restructuring and meta-cognition for identifying unhelpful thought patterns and developing alternative responses and coping strategies which facilitate behaviour change.

Small habits approach

Small, incremental changes that build confidence, and create and sustain long term health behaviours

Habit loops are formed in the brain through regular repetition of small actions. Evidence from behaviour change theories like the COM-B model and self-determination theory show that feeling capable and empowered to take action leads to long-term behaviour change. That’s why starting small is key to feel motivated to keep going in a way that feels achievable and sustainable.

Core Outcomes

users adopt new, ‘automatic’ habits*
average health improvements in lower baseline users*
report less need for GP services*
*after 8 weeks

Research Case Studies

We’re interested in conducting further research on clinician time saving; reducing risk factors for chronic conditions;
sustainable weight management and eating behaviour; mental wellbeing; and long-term behaviour change

Explore a Research

Fill in the form to express interest in conducting research together
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