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.