A A few months ago, I broke my left foot while playing basketball on an outdoor court south of Berkeley. With 5 bone fractures, I immediately knew that the road to recovery would be long and unknown.
Instead of relying on my usual routines and habits, I suddenly had to develop new systems to heal and be able to walk again. It has been a journey of growth and learning – I’m still not where I was before the injury – but I have gained tools and an interest in holistic wellness for which I am grateful.
Among these Discoveries, Pancea, a local startup that a friend told me about and whose wife, Justine Luong, helped develop, was a further revelation. It’s not something I think I would have considered an active millennial man, but with some extra time and a need for rehab I downloaded the free app.
I learned that the tool was created by a predominantly female health tech group. As someone who enjoys supporting local businesses, especially when created by and for marginalized people, I got interested.
Turns out, it’s the first phone app to feature a remedial exercise specialist (CES) consultation in the form of an automated program. What does it mean? I couldn’t tell you exactly, so I contacted the founding members of the group, who enlightened their mission with me.
“Most apps include predetermined schedules based solely on symptom location,” says Luong, one of the co-founders. “So let’s say someone has neck discomfort, these programs would give you stretches and exercises for your neck. In person, this is not how a specialist creates corrective exercise and wellness programs. In person, a CES would conduct a consultation that would get to know the individual and the contributing factors to their symptoms such as stress levels, nutrition, sleep, and history of trauma. This creates a baseline for program direction, but each day symptoms can change, and so can your program. Pancea has taken these steps and automated this process so that more people can get this kind of specialized level care at an affordable price. “
Basically, the app takes a holistic approach to a process that has often become too simplified by technology. Pancea is designed to tailor the user’s needs, especially when it comes to chronic musculoskeletal pain, which is commonly experienced in a person’s neck, shoulders, lower back, and knee. .
Luong has spent over 10 years working in the field of health and wellness, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and a specialization in Neuromuscular Sciences. She is also a certified corrective exercise specialist. She says her passion for caring for others and relieving chronic pain comes from her experience in brain surgery. Through her healing and rehabilitation process, she was inspired to help individuals live “more unlimited lives”. His passion is evident in our interactions.
She also introduced me to their CEO, Ashley Hunt, who is also experienced and personally motivated to deliver meaningful healthcare in a new form. Hunt also speaks out on the importance of women at the forefront of technology, an area that noticeably lacks equal gender representation.
“Less than 2% of all [venture capital] the money goes to the founders, ”says Hunt. “While I have witnessed the bias in fundraising firsthand, we are mission driven and want to inspire other women entrepreneurs and women in tech, so we will continue to move forward. “
The glaring lack of representation and funding of women in tech can make it increasingly difficult for them to succeed in the field. But that doesn’t stop Luong and Hunt, who have worked together for the past eight years to provide health services to San Franciscans.
The name of the company is a modern play on “Panacea”, the Greek goddess of medicine who is able to cure all illnesses and prolong life. Hearing from the founders, they don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution for chronic pain. On the contrary, they believe that curing the pains in our body will come from several specialties combined with technology to get to the root of each person’s complex problems.
To be clear, the app is not made for injuries as serious as mine. It is intended for more regular daily muscle imbalances created from repetitive tasks and basic hobbies, like working from home and craning your neck in front of a screen. They focus on relieving that feeling of ache and tender ache that lingers after a long day at work, which every working American adult should be very familiar with.
When I downloaded the app, I started using it as an additional source of personal care. Unlike visiting my orthopedist or physiotherapist – who was overbooked and overworked – Panacea is an easy, stress-free way to focus on other parts of my body healing with quick exercises and routines. of meditations that target how I feel that day.
“A big part of our mission is to destigmatize chronic pain and what lies behind it. Chronic pain is complex. It’s not just physical and it’s not just mental. It is a combination of several factors. Our physical structure, muscles, stress, nutrition, trauma, and sleep can all impact chronic disease and pain. We hope to be able to help democratize specialist knowledge and be a resource for many people who cannot afford continuing specialist care; because we believe that pain relief shouldn’t be a privilege, ”says Luong.
According to the company, “The Pancea founding team have their own experience with chronic pain and injuries and were frustrated with the number of appointments, steps and the cost of these short-term solutions. In a healthcare world that involves many bureaucratic (and expensive) steps just to spend 10-15 minutes with your doctor, this app is created to close the gap between relief and users.
Pancea hopes people with MS pain can access the advice and care they need while reducing the overburdened healthcare system in which doctors are often stressed and unable to provide intimate one-on-one care without patients having to pay. all types of care. mountainous bills.
It is not a quick fix to your health problems, but as I have learned over the past few months, there is no one solution or one way to meet your body’s needs. It takes a variety of intentional and frequent commitments to approach your different areas of health. Pancea happens to be one of the most accessible, innovative and practical forms of wellness that I have encountered. It is a long term approach and believing that every day to day step is also crucial to achieving your goals and getting your best back.
“Our bodies are machines. We break down, accumulate wear and tear, ”says Luong. “Many people believe they will live with these symptoms forever and that is as they get older. But we can heal and get better.