Sustainability and Wellness
AuraViva was founded in March 2009 and sprang from the seed of one big idea: to create a new approach to wellness and medical care that improves effectiveness and is based on accessible and renewable resources - in other words, a new paradigm and tools that provide economical, effective and sustainable health and care for all.
Big Idea, Big Challenges
It’s a big idea, inspired by our combined 80+ years of experience in healthcare and wellness spanning medicine, nursing, disease prevention, health psychology, integrative services, exercise science, employee health, healthcare policy, healthcare IT, health services administration and biomedical and health services research. The three of us have wrestled on the front lines with the frustrations and challenges of current wellness and medical systems; systems that despite earnest effort by the many smart, well-intentioned professionals working in healthcare still produce too many errors, exclude individuals in need, provide poor value, and consume an ever increasing portion of our economy. Fortunately, these challenges have inspired us to think outside the box about how to shift the current system toward new models and solutions. Our 80+ years in healthcare and wellness continue to provide a rich knowledge base for building new solutions in support of our big idea.
Not long after planting our seed, the hint of a new paradigm for understanding health and disease cropped up in the form of the scientific revolution emerging out of the field of circadian rhythm research. While the field of circadian research has been a dynamic scientific discipline for well over 30 years, the past 10 years have produced volumes of evidence demonstrating that nearly every physiological process in the body has a temporal functional cycle that recurs approximately every 24 hours or some factor of that period. And further, that optimal physiological and behavioral function, i.e. health, depends on the synchronization of physiological processes with each other. It is now understood that our bodies are an intricate clockwork of rhythmically synchronized physiological oscillations. Along with that understand, we now know that many aspects of contemporary life disrupt circadian synchrony, and that key aspects of aging and many chronic diseases occur in the context of disrupted clockwork rhythms.
How Does Circadian Rhythm Synchrony Provide a Powerful Paradigm for a Sustainable Approach to Wellness and Healthcare?
The primary resources for restoring and sustaining circadian synchrony are light, ambient temperature, and the timing of meals, fluids and activity which are all completely renewable and largely accessible. In addition, circadian rhythm synchrony is a perfect paradigm because it fits a central AuraViva tenet that people are much more likely to adopt lifestyle and therapeutic changes that are experienced as an enriching investment in their health and well-being. In contrast to the usual focus on risk factors to be eliminated (risk factors that are often integral to personal, familial or social identity) and compliance despite very real risks and adverse side effects, circadian rhythm synchrony focuses on the timing of behaviors most everyone already engages in. Attention to the environmental and behavioral timing that drives circadian synchrony can be experienced as a direct investment in wellness.
The Perfect Complements: Wireless Sensors and Mobile Applications
Moving forward with our big idea, we had identified a scientifically-based paradigm that fit our criteria of renewability, accessibility and sustainability. At the same time we recognized that very little of the circadian rhythm research had been translated into therapeutic and preventive models, and equally little of the research findings had been brought to the public’s attention through the media. Upshot being few people outside the circadian rhythms research field are aware of how many health issues are affected by circadian rhythm disruption and how simple the inputs and resources for supporting circadian synchrony are. To add to the challenge, no one had come up with a convenient and economical way to measure and track an individual’s circadian synchrony in the context of everyday living. These challenges have become our calling and our path toward realizing a solution for that big idea of effective and renewable resources that create sustainable health for all.
Running in tandem with landing on the circadian synchrony paradigm, we had tracked for several years the exciting developments in mobile health applications and wireless biosensors. Mobile health applications make sense to us because they can overcome many critical barriers to prevention and healthcare effectiveness by providing autonomy, personalization, virtual community, and right-time identification and support. So the pieces seemed to just fall into place: wireless biosensors interfaced with device agnostic web applications are the ideal vehicles for providing circadian rhythm monitoring and synchrony feedback to people living their everyday lives.
Now here we are, with over 300 journal articles digested, a few circadian biosensor and feedback prototypes built, and our initial offering of free educational content on circadian rhythms and health rolled out. We are making this content available for free because we believe there is tremendous benefit to be created by making people more aware of circadian rhythms and health. We will be launching our first applications supporting circadian synchronization as it relates to weight control, sleep improvement, stress management and performance enhancement in October, and we will launch the biosensor integrated application in the new year. Every step along the way we till the depths of our experience and stand on the shoulders of many brilliant and dedicated researchers. Every day we stand shoulder to shoulder with our visionary technology partners, Hold Fast Creative, who are completely committed to creating cutting edge applications and truly beneficial tools that make wellness and affordable healthcare accessible to all through mobile circadian synchronization.
There are times when this whole endeavor seems like a crazy dream (a feeling familiar to many who have done startups). Most of the time this journey seems to be a paradigm shift that is an emergent property from the world, and we at AuraViva just happen to be lucky enough to be vehicles for an approach who’s time has come. So please drop us a line, we’d love to hear your reactions and thoughts about what we are working on here at AuraViva.