New York—Wise Therapeutics launches “Personal Zen” app for stress and anxiety
Today, New York based Wise Therapeutic has announced the launch of its first product, Personal Zen, an app for stress and anxiety.
If you’re anywhere near as excited about new mental-health technology as I am, you’ll definitely be intrigued by Wise Therapeutics’ Personal Zen, which “embeds a scientifically validated brain-training exercise in an engaging mobile format that effectively reduces stress and anxiety.” Ooooh… sounds technical!
A new digital company, Wise Therapeutic is co-founded by Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary and Raj Amin.
Dr. Dennis-Tiwary [the Co-Executive Director, the Center for Health Technology at Hunter College] has directed NIH-funded lab research that uses state-of-the-art technology to create products targeted at reducing stress and anxiety, as well as other mental health problems.
Raj Amin is a successful entrepreneur and self-described “health tech leader” who is one of the founding partners of NTC product and venture studio Teem Ventures.
The company itself, Wise Therapeutics, is dedicated to creating accessible, scientifically-validated brain training exercises via your phone, tablet and other devices. Because of the current state of stress and anxiety surrounding COVID-19, the company is offering a free 6-month subscription (well, it’s also to help with the publicity of the fledgling company, obviously).
Given the promise of “scientific exercises” and Dr. Dennis-Tiwary’s experience in the mental health field, I am very intrigued to see precisely what Personal Zen has to offer, and how it sets itself from the massive pile of apps like Headspace and Calm.
How is “Personal Zen” Different To Other Apps For Stress And Anxiety?
Obviously, in 2020 there are veritable truckload of apps for stress and anxiety. So how exactly doe Personal Zen differentiate itself from the pack?
The app uses what the team calls a “micro-intervention” that they hope will help the staggering 40 million people who struggle with stress and anxiety [READ: Meditation For Anxiety].
A “micro-intervention”? What’s that then?
Basically, it’s a small intervention, like a quick exercise, that helps the mind. The Personal Zen app is designed to be used for just a few minutes a day (because, as Headspace has proven, that’s all people have time for) and several days a week. Over time, the team says this will develop users’ resiliency to stress and anxiety.
The “Personal Zen” app uses a technique to undo cognitive bias (which is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, according to Wikipedia). You might have heard about cognitive biases if you’ve ever tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Wise Therapeutics states that their methods have been clinically validated through trials. Although I’d like more clarification of what precisely they mean by this. Yes, the CBT technique the app is based on have been proven, but has the actual app itself been proven? This is a clever move a lot of app developers use. They say that their app has been clinically proven when in actual fact they mean that the techniques the app aims to teach have themselves been proven. A subtle but importance difference.
The Personal Zen app provides you with easy tutorials and comprehensive instructions, along with goals, which are fine-tuned for your individual needs. Beautiful imagery and relaxing music add all the gloss you would expect from a high-profile app for stress and anxiety.
Raj Amin states, “Low access to treatment, high cost of treatments, and stigma often result in less diagnosis, limited early intervention and higher expenses for mental health in today’s healthcare system. It’s our mission at Wise to put science-backed innovative treatments in the palm of your hand and fit these tools into people’s lives.”
Raj states that it should be easy to find therapies that help with mental health issues. Although I will point out that the PLAY store already has approximately seven-hundred-and-fifty-trillion apps that promise to do the same thing.
If that sounds too sarcastic, my bad. I genuinely am interested to see what the Personal Zen app delivers, and will be downloading and installing it, especially while the 6-month free subscription is on (although I will definitely check whether that subscription is set to auto-renew by default, which it probably is).
After the freebie, it goes up to $1.99 monthly or $12.99 annually.
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