The pharmaceutical giants will have us believe that there are all manner of pills and creams to soothe our various midlife aches and pains away.
The only problem is – as we all know from experience – is that they are usually only a short-term fix that never deal with the underlying cause, which is of course what the makers of these drugs are banking on.
Well, we’re pleased to report there is now an affordable alternative remedy to try for those who are looking to take back control and nip those middle-age niggles in the bud for good.
With personalised programs to help users ‘learn, move and soothe’ their bodies, new healthtech startup BodyGuide looks to shake up the way Australians manage pain with a more affordable – and mobile – model.
Founded by Matthew Green, an expert in myotherapy – a form of physiotherapy used to treat or prevent soft tissue pain and restricted joint movement – with more than a decade of experience, BodyGuide is a mobile app that equips people to take care of their own bodies with customised programs designed to empower users to improve aches, tension and pain, whenever and wherever suits them.
“BodyGuide creates practical, simple and personalised programs to help solve and prevent pain. We give people the tools to better understand the common causes of pain, guiding them to explore the issue through movement and education, and unlike traditional in-person treatments, our sessions are available at each user’s fingertips at a fraction of the price of standard clinic sessions,” says Green.
Encompassing six body areas: lower back, neck, hip, knee, middle back and shoulders, BodyGuide harnesses best practice techniques from a medical advisory team of specialists including physiotherapists, an occupational therapist and a strength and conditioning coach from backgrounds working in AFL, Swimming Australia, Triathlon Australia and Elite Crossfit.
Prospective users can test the platform with a free 30 minute session before signing up for a quarterly or annual subscription, each with unlimited programs. A 12 month subscription costs $108.99.
“By equipping individuals with the tools and know-how to take on the modern world – from how to best set up your home office, to the connection between pain and emotion – we’re aiming to set up better physical health habits to reduce the instances of pain. Think of it as a tool for life; it’s scalable for everyone,” he continues.
Green explains his driving motivation to build BodyGuide stemmed from his frustrations working as part of the ‘practitioner-led’ allied health system, which he says struggles to empower patients for long term success in managing their pain or injuries.
“Asking someone to spend $100+ for a 60 minute session, when the next availability is 3 days away is a big ask for a consumer. It’s not the fault of therapists, it’s an issue with the structure of appointments themselves: not everyone can afford appointments, and not every issue feels serious enough to make one. And so people turn to ‘Dr Google’, or simply try to avoid the issue. In fact, two thirds of Australian’s do just that—they try to ignore their pain because they don’t have trusted, affordable options,” says Green.
“There hasn’t been enough of an effort to educate people about how their bodies work. BodyGuide is our way helping more people help themselves, while actively learning skills that help prevent issues in the future,” he continues.
Unlike other wellbeing or fitness apps and programs, Body Guide’s primary purpose is to reduce the prevalence of body aches and tension pain in users. Though in its early stages, the app is achieving results: 72 percent of users suffering back pain felt less discomfort after their first session (25 minutes), and 57 percent of neck pain sufferers felt less discomfort after just one session.
“Bad desk setups, poor recovery from training, the physicality of parenting – even the general aches and pains that come with age and leading a busy life – all add up and can reduce quality of life over the long term. When we move mindfully, the improvement in our long term health and physical strength assists in setting us up for a more independent, pain-free life,” says Green.
Based on a brief questionnaire, the app creates a custom program of exercise activities to reduce pain or mitigate future injury or tension, communicated through guided videos and brief online tutorials. Daily sessions only unlock once users mark the previous day’s activities as ‘done’, ensuring incremental progress for best results.
The platform’s algorithm also identifies users at-risk of further complications for referral to in-person treatments from health professionals.
“The rise of telehealth in 2020 has shown us the appetite, and need, for a more on-demand and convenient approach to managing our health and wellbeing,” says Green.