Close to 1 in 2 Americans used prescription medication in 2018, and the number grew during the pandemic. Not only are millions of people taking multiple types of medicine – sadly, the misuse of medication is also on the rise. On top of this, 6 in 10 Americans live with chronic disease, and 1 in 5 has mental health issues. 1 in 10 might not have adequate health insurance to deal with all of these problems.
Naturally, most people already know these striking statistics about the health crisis. The question is – what can we do about it?
The rise of self-diagnosis
This mismatch between the need for healthcare and access to it raises plenty of issues, including the rise of self-diagnosis. A recent survey from digital health and wellness company Kilo Health shows that in 2022, 82% of people surveyed had tried health advice they had found online.
While learning more about health is generally a positive activity (and 93% of Kilo Health survey respondents say they search for health information online), self-diagnosis might be harmful. People could postpone a visit to their doctor’s office, try ineffective home remedies, feel increased levels of stress after researching their symptoms online, or access misinformation that might create new risks.
There are two scientific ways to offer the general public an additional level of care.
“First, it’s about focusing on disease prevention through timely lifestyle interventions. Secondly, it’s bringing trusted technologies and methods that are already used by medical professionals closer to the average person,” says certified sleep and recovery coach Vitalijus Majorovas, founder of Pulsetto.
How does this translate to practice?
The traditional way of dealing with health issues
Let’s take only one area of health that has the potential to impact every other health aspect – stress management. The American Psychological Association survey from 2020 stated that we live in a mental health crisis, and 67% of people said they felt more stressed during the pandemic than before. Stress contributes to various health conditions, including an increased risk of chronic disease, anxiety, or sleep problems.
Traditional stress management techniques such as mindfulness exercises, spending time in nature, or meditation take a lot of time. “Sadly, time is a commodity that might not be available for people that juggle a full-time job, responsibilities at home, and taking care of their families,” says Majorovas.
Another way to deal with chronic stress is by visiting a psychologist or psychotherapist, which can be costly. Access to mental health support is also a problem, either due to health insurance coverage or physical access to doctor visits.
The third option would be using such solutions as neuromodulation, which is one of the lesser-known ways to deal with neurological issues.
Medical-grade technology stepping in
Neuromodulation helps manage abnormal nerve activity, alleviates chronic pain, and reduces neurological symptoms. First used in 1967, neuromodulation devices are now FDA-approved and typically implanted during surgery. They help to restore normal nerve function.
Neuromodulation can help to alleviate chronic pain and deal with stress, migraines, heart disease, or even bladder issues. It is used in four different ways:
- Spinal cord stimulation is mostly used to relieve chronic pain.
- Deep brain stimulation helps with Parkinson’s disease, tremors, and epilepsy.
- Sacral nerve stimulation focuses on urinary issues.
- Vagus nerve stimulation to deal with stress, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, sleep issues, and cluster headaches.
“Some of the ways to use neuromodulation is stimulating the vagus nerve. It is one of the non-invasive methods to help a person reach the ‘rest and digest’ state and feel calmer. It’s the timely intervention that helps to deal with stress, anxiety, and poor sleep quality,” explains the founder of Pulsetto.
Typically, the patients require surgery to implant these devices, which might require additional recovery time. Non-invasive neuromodulation devices are an effective and safe tool for home use.
The future of drug-free treatments
Medical issues must be solved by medical professionals who develop a personalized treatment plan and prescribe medicine. Late disease stages require quick interventions and fast results that help save lives – and only a medical doctor can offer the correct next steps to help a person in their healing journey.
It’s also important to remember that many issues, especially chronic diseases such as cardiovascular issues or type 2 diabetes, could be prevented and managed with timely lifestyle interventions, such as combining a healthy diet, hydration, active lifestyle, low stress, and quality sleep. Neuromodulation devices can help with several aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
“Lifestyle interventions or neuromodulation devices can help prevent health issues, but it’s always important to consult with a medical professional that knows your medical history and can define the best course of action,” adds Majorovas.
Pulsetto was founded by a certified sleep and recovery coach Vitalijus Majorovas and biomechanical engineer Povilas Sabaliauskas. Their team is developing a non-invasive neuromodulation device that stimulates the vagus nerve, which helps people de-stress, relax, and sleep better. The company has received an investment of more than 500,000 Eur from a global digital health and wellness company Kilo Health. In 2022, the company launched a wearable neuromodulation device.