With artificial intelligence, gadgets, and apps—the intersection of health and technology is getting more interesting by the day. And whether it's knowing which bacteria our guts are missing or keeping track of how many steps we've taken that day, we love the way technology allows us to get really specific about the current state of our health. Oftentimes, these news gadgets and programs also allow us to streamline our journey to wellness and see our progress along the way. In other words: It's a win-win!
So in the spirit of science, progress, and wellness, here are six new technologies that we're really excited about:
1. Natural Cycles birth control app:
Natural Cycles is a natural family-planning app that works by tracking your daily temperature fluctuations, symptoms, and cycle length and activity. It's been certified as a contraceptive method, and studies have put its effectiveness in the same pool as the birth control pill. As a completely natural and side-effect-free way to prevent pregnancy and get in touch with your body, apps like Natural Cycles very well might represent the future of birth control.
2. Kaia digital back-pain management:
Did you know that back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor? It's true! And recently, the American College of Physicians recently changed their guidelines on back pain to discourage the use of painkillers—which have been shown to be ineffective and often lead to addiction. Luckily, technologies like Kaia, a digital therapy for back-pain prevention and self-management, is picking up the slack. It will educate you on your back pain and provide you with physical exercises and mindfulness techniques to get you feeling better—STAT.
3. Woebot cognitive behavioral therapy program:
Going to therapy can be time-consuming, expensive, and inconvenient. And let's be honest, treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) really require more than a single one-hour session each week to be effective. Luckily, clinical research psychologist Dr. Alison Darcy is aiming to solve this problem. She developed a robot, affectionately called Woebot, that delivers personalized CBT through an app on your phone or computer. Woebot will ask you about your day, help you unpack your feelings, and give you personalized support when you need it most.
4. WellBe biofeedback bracelet:
Biofeedback techniques use technology to give you real-time measurements on things like your heart rate, palm temperature, and brain waves—training you to use your thoughts to manipulate your physical body. WellBe is a bracelet and an app that keeps track of your heart-rate variability (an accurate measure of bodily stress). It will rank your daily stress levels but also keeps track of the specific locations and times of day that tend to trigger higher stress levels—improving you with mindfulness exercises and personalized meditations.
5. EverlyWell at-home lab testing:
Ever had to wait in line for hours at LabCorp? Luckily, that might soon be a thing of the past. EverlyWell is an at-home health-testing company whose success shows just how much patients are continuing to take their health into their own hands. You can order online, have the test delivered to your home, and then a board-certified physician reviews it and provides your results. They have everything from STD testing and fertility evaluations to inflammation and food-sensitivity testing.
Gretchen Lidicker is an mbg health contributor, content strategist, and the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. She holds a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University.