A laptop that soothes and heals at home | Health


A slight sensation of pins and needles circled my forearm as the Healables Sleeve was activated from Moshe Lebowitz’s smartphone. The intensity can be increased or decreased with a simple movement of the finger.

I was in the Jerusalem office of Healables, a start-up developing an at-home “electro-eutic” treatment for pain and inflammation.

The device delivers microcurrent electrotherapy to the legs or arms, via a port clipped onto an e-textile sleeve with integrated electrodes. The flexible, machine washable sleeve is made in an Israeli factory that manufactures top brand American sportswear.

“We tried to make our solution as easy as taking a pill, but without any side effects or potential for addiction,” said Lebowitz, CEO of the company. “Docking with textiles, processing is just like dressing.”

Wellness and medical models

Healables builds two products on its technology platform: ElectroGear, a sports and wellness model for athletes, which will be sold directly and through physiotherapists and sports teams; and a medical model available on prescription, pending regulatory approval.

A clinical trial of the medical model will soon begin in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, led by Dr Hadar Oz, chief of sports medicine at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

“For these patients we have many types of treatments and one of them can be the Healables device,” Oz said. “There is a similar treatment, but it requires a very large machine. What they did was make it very small and incorporate it into a flexible knee brace. We hope that this device will work to reduce pain and thus allow them a better active life on a daily basis.

Another trial will begin at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem on patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a common and painful complication of diabetes in the legs, feet or hands.

As for the sport and well-being model, the Stade Français Paris Rugby Club has selected ElectroGear for a pilot via the HYPE Global Sports Accelerator. Healables is recruiting professional sports teams for additional pilots in the US, EU and UK.

Healables has also participated in Hadassah-IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator, MedTech Ra’anana, and BizLabs MedTech Accelerator for ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs like Lebowitz.

Entrepreneur and rabbi

The 47-year-old bearded CEO wears a traditional outfit: white shirt, black pants, black frock coat and black hat. He received rabbinical ordination from a yeshiva in Israel, where he has lived since 1997.

But he grew up in Baltimore and has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and User Interface / User Experience from Towson University in Md.

Long interested in technology, Lebowitz in 2002 launched a website builder like Wix. But the technology was not yet mature enough.

“I’ve learned that timing is really important in startups,” he said.

Shortly after ending this business in 2007, Lebowitz suffered a traumatic brain injury. During his long recovery, he tried a range of complementary treatments, including Chinese medicine, which helped him heal.

Finding practitioners and getting to and from sessions was tiring and time consuming. He reflected on how to bring effective treatment modalities to the home through user-friendly connected portable devices. The wearable devices he saw in the market primarily tracked health metrics rather than treating conditions.

Lebowitz wanted a wearable device that could treat the body with electrotherapy and – using the data collected in those sessions – treat the mind with personalized behavioral health coaching.

“As a rabbi, I know there is a body and a soul, and to treat the whole person you have to look at both,” Lebowitz said. “Even at the biological level, the effect of mental health on immunology is something that people have really noticed recently with corona.”

At the end of 2017, Lebowitz founded Healables to realize his vision. It received its first investment in early 2019, a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority.

Healables has raised a total of $ 2.5 million from The IIA and BioJerusalem and is seeking funding from investors in sports technology and biotechnology. “We will also be working with Leonhardt Ventures,” he said.

Lebowitz finds his past as a yeshiva advantageous.

“Studying the Talmud is about connecting with God, but as a side effect, it improves your mental capacity and your ability to think creatively,” he said. “People really respect that. “

After all, he notes, “startups become unicorns by solving problems differently. “

Unique in electrotherapy

Physiotherapists are already familiar with electrotherapy devices to relieve pain and speed healing.

Some examples are millicurrent devices like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), microcurrent devices like MENS (microcurrent electrical nerve stimulation) and electro-acupuncture devices.

Although TENS effectively blocks pain signals from reaching the brain, it does not address the source of the pain. Microcurrent, 1000 times less than millicurrent, actually helps in healing.

Studies show that microcurrent increases the body’s production of ATP, a compound that powers many cellular processes. It stimulates metabolic activity, improves cell function, and recruits immune system cells, growth factors, and other proteins that promote wound healing. Microcurrent also decreases systemic inflammation, the underlying cause of many chronic diseases.

However, three drawbacks have hindered the wide adoption of this electrotherapy, said Lebowitz.

“First, it is too complicated for many home users and even professionals to feel comfortable with selecting the right settings, and it often takes several appointments to determine the appropriate treatment for each patient.

“Second, it’s too restrictive because the patient usually has to be confined to a treatment table for an hour with sticky electrodes and wires that come off if you move the wrong way.

“And third, it takes too long because the patient has to go to a clinic several times a week. “

Healables was designed to overcome all three drawbacks, integrating smart textiles, electronics, and software to reduce inflammation, speed healing, and relieve pain, all while eliminating travel time.

The same device with different settings can treat different conditions.

“Some conditions require half an hour a day, about two hours a day, but there are other things you can do while on treatment. All you need to do is press a button on your smartphone and you’re good to go. For an athlete, you can heal your leg while working out your arms in the gym. “

The Healables system is HIPAA compliant and includes artificial intelligence to personalize and improve processing based on response data. Later this will also be used to fuel the behavioral health coaching component.

Clinical results

Chief Medical Officer Andrew David Shiller discussed the results of user tests performed on several people.

One was a 50-year-old woman with disfiguring osteoarthritis. An ankle was causing her excruciating pain even after surgery and physical therapy.

“We tried the device once and she stopped using crutches. After three sessions, her ankle hardly hurts, ”said Shiller.

Another tester was a soldier from a special forces unit, sidelined with knee pain. “He has bone marrow edema associated with chronic trauma and he was using oxycodone and Celebrex just to sleep at night,” Shiller said.

After one session, he was able to stop using drugs. “He was in pain again after a week, so we gave him a device and a sleeve to test at home, programmed for him. He uses it several times a week. I hope that at some point he will have no pain, ”said Shiller.

“Whether they’re completely better or not, there’s a significant improvement and it’s very gratifying to see that with our device. “


This story first appeared on Israel 21c

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