Moonai is an app for period pain relief, that uses per­son­al­ized sounds. In addi­tion to the sound relief, it also helps users track their pain over time, learn what causes its intens­ity, and plan ahead so they can pre­vent it from get­ting worse. In this inter­view, Helena Rode­mann, co-founder of Moonai, tells us more about the innov­at­ive star­tup. She shares what exactly the app for period pain relief is all about.

How did you get the idea for Moonai? What inspired you?

We’ve been strug­gling with period pain for years, dec­ades even. We know what it’s like to have pain that inter­feres with our qual­ity of life. We know what it’s like to not know what causes our pain, to go to the doc­tor and not be taken ser­i­ously. But we also know there is room for some­thing bet­ter. And this under­stand­ing is one of our con­stant sources of inspiration.

We essen­tially came up with the idea of using sound for period pain by mer­ging our back­grounds in femtech and music tech. And this has guided us to act­ively seek innov­at­ive ways to tackle the issue of period pain.

One of those ways is through sound. There is quite a lot of sci­entific evid­ence that shows how sound impacts our brain’s pain per­cep­tion. We’re fas­cin­ated by the heal­ing power of sounds and we came together to fig­ure out how to trans­late that power into a tool for men­strual health.

What is your vis­ion for Moonai?

We want to help people who men­stru­ate feel bet­ter and live pain free. Yes, it’s that straight­for­ward! To achieve that mis­sion, we also want to use sound as a cata­lyzer that invites every­one to truly value and recog­nize the sig­ni­fic­ance of men­strual pain. By shap­ing a nar­rat­ive that makes this kind of pain a pri­or­ity, our future also includes tack­ling other kinds of under-addressed pain spe­cific to those who are female-bodied.

Vulvani, Menstruation, Periode, App gegen Periodenschmerzen, Klang, Klang gegen Periodenschmerzen, Periodenschmerzen, Menstruationsschmerzen, Klang und Wissenschaft, Periodenapp
Vulvani, Menstruation, Periode, App gegen Periodenschmerzen, Klang, Klang gegen Periodenschmerzen, Periodenschmerzen, Menstruationsschmerzen, Klang und Wissenschaft, Periodenapp

Photo Cred­its: Moonai

Vulvani, Menstruation, Periode, App gegen Periodenschmerzen, Klang, Klang gegen Periodenschmerzen, Periodenschmerzen, Menstruationsschmerzen, Klang und Wissenschaft, Periodenapp

What has your jour­ney been like from the idea to your app for period pain relief?

It’s been pretty wild! Since we star­ted back in Octo­ber 2020, we’ve been mov­ing quickly. Every day feels like a new day. Every day we learn some­thing totally mind blow­ing. The jour­ney has involved talk­ing to a lot of womxn, over a hun­dred at this point. We are con­scious about listen­ing and under­stand­ing what pain­ful men­strual exper­i­ences are like for dif­fer­ent people. So a big chunk of the jour­ney has been just that: listen­ing, ask­ing ques­tions, and syn­thes­iz­ing those findings.

We’ve also been meet­ing and part­ner­ing with men­strual health, neur­os­cience and psy­choacous­tics experts to really and truly under­stand how to best help people with period pain through sound. We’re not just think­ing about what prob­lem to solve, we’re also think­ing care­fully about how to solve that prob­lem in a way that isn’t one size-fits all.

What are the reac­tions when you talk about period pain and Moonai?

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, people are really curi­ous and excited to try it. We hear people say­ing, “Wow! this is so innov­at­ive” and “Yeah, I mean, using music to heal pain makes sense.” When we talk with neur­os­cient­ists and sound sci­ent­ists, they are always on board, since they under­stand the sci­ence and know it to be true.

But we also hear a cer­tain level of skep­ti­cism, espe­cially from poten­tial users new to the idea of sound as a pain reduc­tion tool. We’ve had people tell us, “OK, this sounds good, but does it work?” or, “this is too new for me, it’s kind of out there.” We take these ques­tions ser­i­ously. And we know that it’s import­ant that we under­stand and com­mu­nic­ate all the sci­ence that backs up our idea. Within our app, we only choose sounds that fol­low sci­entific para­met­ers. We walk users through the research as to how that par­tic­u­lar sound impacts pain.

What has been your favor­ite moment from turn­ing your idea into a reality?

Hon­estly, there are a lot of favor­ite moments. At the top of the list is when we share that we’re build­ing a new, safe, and drug-free option for men­strual pain, the way people react has been really encour­aging. They are tre­mend­ously grate­ful that someone’s tak­ing the time and effort to help them under­stand, man­age and deal with their pain, and sit­ting down and talk­ing with them, hear­ing what they need and learn­ing how we can help them are def­in­itely some of our favor­ite moments.

What has been the most chal­len­ging part on your star­tup jour­ney so far?

One of the most frus­trat­ing parts has been hav­ing to explain to cer­tain people that period pain is real and that it mat­ters. (Sigh…)

In a mostly male-dom­in­ated star­tup world, I don’t know how many times we’ve been asked, “why are you lim­it­ing your­self to just period pain?” as if this was some kind of niche or really obscure mar­ket seg­ment. As if this didn’t affect mil­lions of people world­wide. This part has been pretty exhausting.

What is your per­sonal hope for your work at Moonai?

My per­sonal hope is that we honor the leg­acy we’ve inher­ited from mil­lions of women and men­strual act­iv­ists before us. Another big win for us will be feel­ing like we have con­trib­uted to the con­ver­sa­tion that trans­forms how we think of and treat men­strual pain, while also show­cas­ing the power of sound and body literacy.

Why should more people use your app for period pain relief?

We’ve talked to so many people who’ve told us that when they seek help from health care pro­viders, they’re told to take paink­illers or birth con­trol. That’s it. The cur­rent options for period pain aren’t enough. We also know most don’t want to take either of those options, so they end up recur­ring to self-care strategies like lying down, heat, or mas­sages. These strategies are great and effect­ive for a lot of people.

But they have a down­side: a lot of those self-care strategies don’t adapt to the work­place, to pub­lic trans­port­a­tion, to walk­ing on the street. Some­times when we’re in pain, we don’t have a choice: we have to go to work, we have to go to that meet­ing, we have to go to that appoint­ment. So what can we recur to?

For those who are look­ing for period pain relief that is effect­ive, drug-free, and also on-the go, Moonai is there for them. It’s access­ible, afford­able, and unique to each person’s pain level. This means that with Moonai, they can find relief, under­stand what causes it, and learn how to pre­vent it. Any­where they go.

For those who’d like to learn more about Moonai, please feel free to join our pre-launch wait­ing list on our web­site , and fol­low us on Face­book and LinkedIn to stay tuned into all our latest updates.

Vulvani, Menstruation, Periode, App gegen Periodenschmerzen, Klang, Klang gegen Periodenschmerzen, Periodenschmerzen, Menstruationsschmerzen, Klang und Wissenschaft, Periodenapp

Photo Cred­its Cov­er­bild: Ser­giy Tryapitsyn

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Founder Vul­vani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vul­vani. She loves research­ing, writ­ing and design­ing new art­icles or innov­at­ive edu­ca­tional con­cepts about men­stru­ation all day long. When she is not trav­el­ling the world, she enjoys spend­ing time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.