Digital therapeutics company Kaia Health raises $10m to transform treatment of chronic pain conditions

Digital therapeutics pioneer Kaia Health, creator of the world’s leading back pain app, today announces it has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Balderton Capital to tackle some of the world’s most urgent health challenges, including a range of chronic conditions. The investment will be used to support Kaia Health’s US rollout, including a new office in New York City, and fund further clinical studies.

Since launching in 2016, Kaia Health, has created scientifically-validated digital treatments for a range of disorders including back pain and COPD. Its Kaia back pain app has been rapidly adopted by over 250,000 individuals as well as organisations across Europe and the US. This includes some of Europe’s biggest health insurance companies, such as BARMER, Germany’s largest, which offers the service free to members.

Kaia Health develops innovative machine learning and computer vision technology and works with medical experts to create a home-based, affordable and clinically-validated alternative to painkillers, delivered through a smartphone. The app offers users a daily plan which features physical exercises, relaxation techniques and medical educational content.

Additionally, therapy can be tailored for each user via a proprietary algorithm which adapts the exercise program to that individual’s input. Patent-pending motion tracking technology monitors and provides real-time audio feedback on patients’ exercise performance. Uniquely, Kaia’s app informs users in natural language if they’re performing exercises correctly, and how to improve them – without requiring any extra hardware.

‘Epidemic levels’

With back pain being one of the leading self-reported medical issues in the world, proven digital alternatives to painkillers cannot come soon enough. In America alone the condition is estimated to affect 100m people a year and is the number one reason why people are prescribed painkillers. The growing use of opioid-based painkillers has driven reliance on such drugs in the US to epidemic levels.

Meanwhile, in the UK, 30% of all GP appointments are Musculoskeletal-related, costing the NHS at least £5bn a year. Reducing the need to prescribe painkillers and the number of MSK interventions isn’t just a hugely beneficial outcome for patients, but it will also release considerable resources for healthcare institutions to use elsewhere.

Konstantin Mehl, co-founder and CEO of Kaia Health, says: “Over the last twelve months, we’ve demonstrated a universal, unmet need for affordable and accessible digital therapy products, such as our world’s first computer vision-powered back pain app. These improve treatment paths for patients and reduce costs for payers in healthcare around the globe. Balderton’s investment will support the next stage of our journey, as we expand across the US, undertake further clinical studies and cement our position as a global leader in the digital healthcare market.”

Dr. Mani Rafii, board member of BARMER, Germany’s largest health insurance company, says: “We have to deal with a problem such as back pain with easily accessible and effective care. The bespoke training with Kaia is straightforward and applicable. Relaxation units and information modules can be used at home or on the go, making the holistic therapy ideal for everyday use.”

James Wise, Partner at Balderton Capital adds: “Providing high-quality and affordable health care for everyone is an urgent issue. Kaia Health is helping to tackle this through its revolutionary technology, which we believe could offer millions of chronic-pain sufferers best-in-class clinical solutions from the comfort of their own homes. We look forward to being able to support Kaia on their mission to put treatment and pain management into the hands of patients and improve lives.”

Kaia Health is a member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products which works to expand access to high quality, evidence-based digital therapeutics to improve outcomes.



Healthcare Sensors: Piezoelectrics the New Gymnasts, Finds New Global IDTechEx Research Market Report

Healthcare Sensors: Piezoelectrics the New Gymnasts, Finds New Global IDTechEx Research Market Report

Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, intrusive medical procedures and more, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. Instruments become wearables including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029” notes that preferably sensors should be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks.

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029” looks at what comes next based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.

Piezo is already sold as a variety of self-powered sensors but there is more to come. It is reinvented as paint, as layers on integrated circuits and in microelectromechanical systems MEMS chips. New applications for lead-based ceramics in new formats are revealed but polymer film comes center stage. New piezotronics means piezoelectric doubles as semiconductor. Piezo-phototronics takes that up a notch. Light modulation enhances performance of photocells, sensitivity of photodetectors, efficiency of an LED, even strain-controlled LED emission directly images force/pressure distribution on the device with micrometer-resolution. The resulting piezopotential gated diodes, strain sensors, force/flow sensors and more revealed in the report promise to be invaluable in healthcare. Where needed, one will even map of the pressure distribution on a surface. easy to integrate with photonic technologies for fast data transmission, processing and recording, Enable the development of highly intelligent human-machine interfaces? A major step towards on-chip recording of mechanical signals by optical means, yet another case of multi-functionality? Hospital pad, pillow and bolt sensors using piezos revealed in 2018 look promising but so do harvesters implanted on the heart and many other emerging capabilities discussed.

The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029” starts with an Executive Summary and conclusions sufficient for those with limited time to grasp the emerging capabilities, issues and dreams with market forecasts for the piezoelectric harvesting and sensing systems, transducers and materials.  Chapter 2 is the introduction giving the global healthcare situation and how energy harvesting and particularly sensors are increasingly vital. Piezoelectrics are at the heart of that. Chapter 4 Fundamentals goes deeper into the operating modes, theory, chemistry and electronics involved even embracing routes to biodegradability.

Chapter 4 reveals inspiring examples of present and future piezoelectric harvesting and sensing in healthcare. It draws lessons from this. Finally Chapter 5 profiles 13 interesting organisations involved in researching, manufacturing and integrating harvesting and sensor piezoelectric devices and materials for healthcare.

For more contact the IDTechEx research team at or visit guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Consultancy and Events services, helping you profit from emerging technologies. Find out more at

I was exhausted, in constant pain and waiting for neck surgery – until I tried ‘Intervertebral Disc Decompression’

Facing a major operation on her neck and frightened of the potential consequences, Gail Redpath was desperate to find an alternative to relieve her debilitating pain.

The 46-year-old payroll officer was suffering pins and needles and numbness in her arms which was making her working life unbearable.

“I was having to stop what I was doing all the time to shake out my hands,” says Gail.

Added to that, severe pain in her neck and head was leaving her exhausted after disturbed sleep and restricting her from carrying out everyday chores such as shopping and gardening.

Over a period of two years she underwent physiotherapy, acupuncture and sports massage but nothing was working – in fact things were getting worse.

An MRI scan showed Gail had two bulging discs in her neck which were responsible for the pain she was suffering.  She was booked in to see a neurosurgeon who said she needed surgery. This would involve making a small incision at the front of her throat from where the surgeon would then move behind her vocal chords to get to the discs.

Gail was anxious from the start, and desperate to find an alternative as the risks of the operation just seemed too great. So, she started doing some research and discovered IDD Therapy (Intervertebral Differential Dynamics) – a non-surgical spinal decompression treatment which treats targeted segments of the spine in the lower back or neck.

By around the fourth or fifth session I started to feel a difference,” she says. And now Gail has he life back, and is living pain-free, sleeping at night and able to get back to the gym and yoga.

“For me IDD was the answer I was looking for and I can honestly say it has been the best thing I could have done.”

Daniel Cassells, clinic director at Move Freely Sports and Spinal said he first became aware of the IDD Therapy around five years ago. “The way we can now treat targeted spinal segments in such a controlled manner is a game changer. Back problems don’t have to be a life-sentence.”

‘Intervertebral Disc Decompression’ or IDD Therapy is the fastest growing non-surgical spinal treatment for intervertebral discs with over 1,000 clinics worldwide and 34 clinics across the UK. Safe, gentle and non-invasive, IDD Therapy helps patients who need something more for their pain when manual therapy alone is insufficient to achieve lasting pain relief.

Gail Redpath, clinic director Daniel Cassells, and Stephen Small from IDD Therapy UK.

Min Doktor and Kaia Health unveil innovative digital healthcare partnership to reduce back pain

Sweden’s leading digital healthcare provider, Min Doktor, which provides doctor-patient communications through voice, video, and text, and allows doctors to issue prescriptions, is pioneering an innovative digital approach to back pain treatment with Kaia Health, a leading digital therapeutics company whose AI app has been shown to reduce back pain by 40%*.

According to the World Health Organisation and the Office for National Statistics, back pain is a major cause of disability worldwide**. It is the leading cause of work absence globally and accounts for almost 31 million days of work lost costing the UK economy £14 billion a year***. The healthcare cost in Sweden for these patients is SEK 3 billion and the total cost, including sick leave, is SEK 25 billion.

Min Doktor physicians will prescribe the Kaia back pain app to patients suffering from repeat and / or chronic back pain. Each patient will be supported by Min Doktor physiotherapists throughout.

The Kaia app uses a multidisciplinary, mind-body digital approach to treat back pain, including education, physiotherapy and meditation. The treatment was developed with physiotherapists, pain management physicians, orthopaedic surgeons and clinical psychologists. Using sophisticated AI, the app tailors treatment programmes for each user from over 120 exercises. Motion tracking technology ensures that the exercises are performed correctly via a smartphone, without the need for additional hardware. This empowers individuals to take control, and self-manage their condition from the comfort of their home.

Kaia Health is a member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products that meet excellence in high quality standards. The company recently launched the world’s first AI fitness app which uses patent pending motion-tracking technology to turn your smartphone into a personal trainer.

Magnus Nyhlén, founder of Min Doktor, says:

“Traditional healthcare is broken. Patients with back pain have to wait several weeks or months for a doctor’s appointment, only to be prescribed painkillers or physiotherapy until the pain returns. Our digital healthcare approach with Kaia Health will reboot the interaction between patients and physiotherapists and increase access to effective back pain treatment.”

Konstantin Mehl, Founder & CEO of Kaia Health says:

“The Min Doktor partnership demonstrates why we need to rethink how we treat diseases, and make digital self-management a more realistic part of treatment. By digitising back pain therapy, we can democratise access to effective, non-pharmacological, treatment which can be administered quickly and conveniently from the comfort of a patient’s home.”

The Kaia app is available on iOS and Android, and can be downloaded via GooglePlay and AppStore. In Sweden users can access the treatment via the Min Doktor app or the website



Withings Expands Health and Fitness Wearables Line with Introduction of Pulse HR

Withings announces Pulse HR, a water-resistant fitness tracker offering HR measurement, connected GPS tracking, smartphone notifications
with an outstanding battery life of 20 days.

Issy-les-Moulineaux, France – November 14, 2018 – Just two months after the official return of Withings, the French digital health company today announced Pulse HR, a new addition to their range of health and fitness trackers that features heart rate monitoring, multisport features and connected GPS capabilities. Committed to offering premium designed connected devices, Pulse HR brings a classic fitness tracker design option to Withings‘ range, while still offering the key features people enjoy in the Steel and Steel HR watch range, such as a category-leading 20-day battery life.  Pulse HR begins presales today and will ship in time for Christmas on December 5, 2018 priced £119.95.

Classic Design with Modern Features
Reviving the classic design of Withings Pulse, the first tracker that Withings ever launched in 2013, Pulse HR expands Withings‘ activity tracker range to allow people to select the wearable design that best suits their daily lives. Pulse HR boasts a modern design, featuring a reinforced black polycarbonate surface within a 316L stainless steel casing.  The device comes with a black soft silicone wristband that can be exchanged for different wristband colour options to complement each user’s personal style.

By simply raising their wrists or pressing the button on the tracker, users can see and scroll through a wealth of information on the OLED display including time and date, heart rate, calories burned, progress towards daily activity goals, real-time workout information and smartphone notifications.

“At Withings, we are dedicated to providing people with premium health and fitness tracking options that they can select from that best suit their personal lifestyles. With Pulse HR, we wanted to give people a new form factor from our Steel and Steel HR range that still offers the same wearability, quality design and best in class battery life,” said Eric Carreel, President of Withings. “The band is the perfect fit for anyone who wants a device that offers important tracking features like heart rate monitoring at an affordable rate.”

Pulse HR is equipped with a PPG (photoplethysmography) heart rate sensor that not only measures the pulse in 10-min intervals throughout day and night, it also offers continuous heart rate measurements during workout sessions. The continuous heart rate measurement feature provides users with a breakdown of their workout session heart rate zones so they can easily track their levels from workout to workout and reach their fitness goals.

In-depth Fitness Analysis 
Like all Steel HR watches, Pulse HR offers dedicated multisport tracking for over 30 different activities from yoga, volleyball and rowing to boxing, skiing and ice hockey. Users select the chosen activity using the tracker display, and can customise which activities are available on the display through the Health Mate app. During workout sessions, Pulse HR continuously tracks and displays heart rate and the duration of the workout directly on the screen. After the session, users can understand the intensity of their workout with heart rate zones and calories spent based on the specific activity selected. Pulse HR also offers automatic activity recognition for over 10 activities including walking, running and swimming. Pulse HR is water resistant up to 50 meters (5 ATM).

Pulse HR also features Connected GPS to offer detailed workout information around outdoor activities. Once paired with a smartphone, users can track their pace, distance, elevation and map their workouts during activities like walking, running, hiking or cycling. Pace, distance and time are displayed on the screen and can be tracked live on the user’s phone. After a session, the user’s workout route can be viewed in the Health Mate app.

From Day to Night
Pulse HR offers a superior battery life of up to 20 days, making it the perfect companion for day to night tracking.  When worn at night, Pulse HR tracks sleep patterns and offers analysis. It detects length and quality of sleep, while providing an overall Sleep Score in the Health Mate app that is based on data such as sleep duration, depth regularity and interruptions.

Pulse HR has capabilities such as Smart Wake-up that will wake users with vibration alarms at the most optimal times during their sleep cycle. The app even offers a Sleep Smarter Program, consisting of eight weeks of recommendations to improve sleep patterns.

Stay connected
Pulse HR keeps users connected through smart notifications that display directly on the tracker screen and can be personalized in the Health Mate app. The tracker will alert users with a soft vibration when they receive calls, texts, emails, event reminders as well as notifications from hundreds of apps ranging from news alerts, travel services and social networking and messaging apps.

Pulse HR is available for pre-order now on and on for £119.95 and will be fully available on December 5. Starting January 2019, additional wristband colour options will be available.

Pulse HR connects with the free Health Mate app, available both on Android and iOS, where users can view all of their data, get insights, schedule activity reminders, set goals and manage their successes. Health Mate also connects with more than 100 third-party apps such as Apple Health, Google Fit, or MyFitnessPal.

About Withings
Withings leads the connected-health revolution by inventing beautiful, smart products and services that help people become happier and healthier. Founded by visionary innovators Cédric Hutchings and Eric Carreel in 2008, Withings is committed to creating enjoyable, empowering experiences that easily fit into our daily lives. Withings has built a range of award-winning products across the health spectrum including activity trackers (Steel, Steel HR, Steel HR Sport, Pulse HR), connected scales (Body Cardio, Body+, Body), Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor (BPM), and an advanced sleep system (Sleep). Every piece of collected data comes to life in the free Health Mate app where users can find coaching, motivation and insights to shape key aspects of their health.

Read more about Withings on For high-resolution images and additional press information, visit

Smart Cells supporting World Cord Blood Day 2018

15th November marks World Cord Blood Day 2018. Smart Cells have chosen to support the day with a social media campaign highlighting stats and facts on cord blood and sharing personal stories of cord blood collection.

Over the past year, UK based private cord blood collection and storage company, Smart Cells, have showed their support for World Cord Blood Day, and cord blood awareness throughout the year, by focusing on the lack of education and awareness around cord blood. Stats had shown that very few parents knew that they had the opportunity to collect and store their baby’s cord blood at birth.

Due to the successes of campaigns including infographics and video content shared digitally by parental influencers and popular websites such as Netmums, awareness is now heightened around the opportunities available to store cord blood. As such, this year, Smart Cells aim to highlight further information around cord blood such as how it can help, what specifically it helps with and the future possibilities for stem cell research from cord blood collection.

They have launched a social media campaign across all their platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – which uses illustrations to emphasise the following points:

·         Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells that are more pristine than those found in adults due to less exposure to illness or environmental factors.

·         Cord blood can currently treat over 80 diseases.

·         Research and clinical trials into the possibilities of cord blood are prolific – new discoveries are being made every day.

·         Cord blood is easier to collect, store and access than bone marrow.

Smart Cells will also be running an event at the Women’s Wellness Centre on Fulham Road, London, on Monday 12th November to allow people to meet Smart Cells’ Scientific Director, Dr. Ann Smith, and the Smart Cells team, alongside Mr. Keith Duncan, Consultant Obstetrician at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. This event aims to raise awareness as prospective parents can talk to the experts about the cord blood collection process and the importance of storing cord blood stem cells.

The company have spoken to parents who have been through the experience of having their cord blood collected at birth in order to share their stories about the process. Their belief is that not only is medical research key, but that ensuring parents who choose the option for cord blood collection are well-informed. There have been myths that the process can be painful, difficult or otherwise stressful, but these stories show just how quick and simple the procedure can be, especially when considering the benefits that cord blood collection and research can bring.

Laura from Laura Butler-Madden had her cord blood collected and stored with Smart Cells:

“When we were first told about Cord Blood collection and storage, we were fascinated to find out more. We researched different options and settles on Smart Cells. Many believe that stem cells hold the key to many future treatments and cures of disease. By storing our baby’s cells and tissue (which was collected at birth by the midwives), we feel we are really investing in her future and health. It’s exciting to see how stem cell therapy evolves and we are really happy we made the decision to do it.”

Katie from Mummy Snowy Owl shared her thoughts:

“I first heard about cord blood donation in the early stages of my pregnancy but I’d taken fertility drugs to help me conceive I thought I wouldn’t be able to take part and that our cord and placenta would end up in the clinical waste as normal. I discovered though that as I hadn’t had IVF I could still donate.

The process was incredibly simple. One of the team came to see me when I was in the early stages of labour and helped me complete the form and explained how the process would work after I’d given birth. Most importantly they explained that there would be no pain or risk to both the baby and myself.

After having a hard time conceiving and a traumatic labour, it felt good to be able to give back by donating my cord blood.”

Kirsty from Navigating Baby said:

“Before I had my children I did not even know you could donate your cord blood, but after hearing how it could help other children I was immediately convinced. It was as easy as filling in some paperwork. We even received a thank you card afterwards which I have kept for my 4 children. Such a lovely and simple way to maybe help another child just by being born.”

Orly Daniel spoke about her experience:

“Honestly, it’s already a bit scary having a baby, and the whole Smart Cells process was painless. From the day I booked the service, I was given a 24hour phone number to call when I was in labour to get my sample collected by the phlebotomist. Literally as I was going to hospital my husband called her, and we kept her updated and she was there at the end to collect the sample and have it sent to Smart Cells. Couldn’t be simpler.”

West Midlands campaign to stamp out modern slavery

Anti-Slavery Day, on Thursday 18th October, provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery.

Slavery is the fastest growing organised-crime in the world, hidden in plain sight, and many are unaware it exists in communities and businesses. Figures released by the National Crime Agency in 2017 stated that 116 different nationalities were victims of modern slavery here in the UK*. There are 13,000 suspected victims in the U.K. but this only scratches the surface and currently there are over 550 live policing operations in the UK relating to Modern Slavery.

The NHS, West Midlands Police, local councils across the West Midlands and the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network have been carrying out a roadshow across the West Midlands, as part of a special campaign to put a stop to the practice of modern slavery.

The roadshow has been taking place between September and October and to date nearly 800 people have been engaged with, made aware of modern slavery, how to spot the signs and have been given information on how to report any suspicious incidents. During the campaign, the roadshow has also directly resulted in five incidents being reported to the police or Modern Slavery number by members of the public concerned about potential modern slavery victims.

Today (18/10), on anti-slavery day we are in Stourbridge, in the town centre by the clock tower between 10am – 2.30pm. Come along and visit us to find out more about how you can help spot the signs of modern slavery, exploitation of vulnerable people in the West Midlands and urge people to report any suspicious.

Slavery is not a thing of the past and it is largely a hidden crime. Modern Slavery could be happening in your community and you could be coming into contact with victims without realising.

Trafficking in the West Midlands could be happening anywhere. There is no typical victim. They can be of any age, gender, class, nationality or ethnicity but are often being held against their will and forced to work with little or no pay. Modern slavery comes in many forms including sexual exploitation, being forced to commit crimes and working to pay off unrealistic debts.

We are working with our partners across the West Midlands because we know that numbers of modern slavery are increasing and this is why we need to work together with the public to help stamp out this crime.

The Modern Slavery Helpline, 08000 121 700 is there to help but if you feel someone is in immediate danger please call 999.

The UK Modern Slavery Helpline is available 24/7 to offer confidential, advice and support for any victim, statutory agency, business, or member of the public regarding modern slavery suspicions or concerns. Trained Helpline Advisers are available to discuss potential signs of modern slavery and discuss options for callers or victims in need.

Calls are free and the number to call is 08000 121 700 or people can contact the team online

Kick your knee pain into touch with a little help at home from Joint Health Matters!

Knee pain is a common complaint which affects people of all ages and can occur at any time in our lives whether we’re on the golf course or getting out of the bath.

In the majority of cases, with good advice and self-management, the pain will settle without the need to see a GP or health care professional and early action can help prevent more serious problems later.

Now sufferers have a wealth of advice at their fingertips to aid their recovery thanks to Joint Health Matters, a new website which gives people access to a wide range of information about knee problems caused by injury, osteoarthritis or other conditions.

The information provided is based on national and international guidelines for best practice on the management of musculoskeletal knee conditions and chronic pain.

Funded by the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, the website has been developed in collaboration with the NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Joint Health Integrated Musculoskeletal Service at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

The website has been developed by musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy specialists, consultants, GPs and pain specialists who all have a special interest in the management of musculoskeletal knee conditions and chronic pain.

Liverpool-based creative studio Citrus Suite Digital designed the website which features supporting content provided by Physitrack® and Arthritis Research UK.

GPs and healthcare professionals can refer patients with knee pain to the website for advice on how to manage their condition at home. However you don’t need a GP referral, anyone can access the website for expert advice and support at any time.

All you need to do is to visit and register your details to log in and discover the most likely cause of your knee pain and how to manage it.

Common causes of knee pain include ligament injuries from sports including football, skiing and netball. Knee pain can also be a result of overuse, being overweight, osteoarthritis or inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

The website features diagrams to illustrate how the knee joint works and video exercises to improve your pain, strength and mobility. It also advises users when to seek medical advice and gives them the option to set up and review goals to speed up their recovery.

Plus there are useful links to other informative websites, in particular, those which provide local supporting services in West Lancashire and Sefton.

Sarah Ralph, advanced practice physiotherapist at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, explained: “The website can be used by anyone with knee pain to help them self-manage their condition, without the need to see their GP as there is also clear advice on when it is necessary to seek medical attention.

“It is also ideal for patients who have been to their GP and are waiting for a referral to see a specialist. In the meantime, they can have a look at the website and try some of the advice and exercises at home to start improving their symptoms.

“In the future we are aiming to develop the website further by including more musculoskeletal conditions.”

Dr Peter Gregory, GP and clinical executive at NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “The website looks slick and easy to use, very professional.”

Overall 91 per cent of patients and clinicians who tested the website said they would definitely recommend the site to family, friends and patients who had knee pain.

One hundred per cent of testers said the website looked professional and was easy to use and agreed that “the website will support me/my patients to self-manage knee pain.”

Funding the website is part of the Innovation Agency’s role in supporting innovation in musculoskeletal conditions in our region.

For more information on our work visit

Staying social while avoiding smoking triggers

Once you’ve made the decision to stop smoking, you can’t help but notice all the scenarios that could trigger a craving. The pub you always go to, the ‘traditional’ pint and a smoke, your ‘smoking buddy’ outside, even the ‘usual times’ you nip out for a cigarette during a social gathering. Keeping up your social life while quitting might seem impossible, especially if you are a particularly social smoker!

But there’s no reason to shy away. Just because you’re an ex-smoker doesn’t mean you have to be an ex-social butterfly!

Consider the connection of smoking and drinking

It is beneficial to know that there is a link between nicotine and alcohol. At the extreme, government data has found that up to 90 per cent of people who are addicted to alcohol will also smoke. Furthermore, smokers have been found to be more likely to drink and have a 2.7 times greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol than non-smokers do.

Nicotine and alcohol have both been observed to act on similar mechanisms in the brain. When it comes to nicotine, the chemical compound will enter the bloodstream as soon as you smoke a cigarette and rapidly get transported to your brain. Once there, the nicotine will stimulate the brain by creating receptors which release chemicals that give a feeling of pleasure. These receptors will increase in number as smoking becomes prolonged and your brain will become reliant on nicotine in order to release these feel-good chemicals.

But it only takes 72 hours for nicotine levels in the bloodstream to dip when you quit smoking. The receptors won’t disappear that quickly though, so your brain’s chemistry will react to cause powerful cravings and strong emotional reactions. Persistence is key, as nicotine receptors will go away with time and your brain chemistry should be back to normal within three months of a quit. During this difficult phase of adjustment, many quitters find nicotine patches can help ease those intense cravings.

For alcohol, much like nicotine, researchers have suggested that the substance stimulates a feeling of pleasure in the brain. There are suggestions that nicotine and alcohol will moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine stimulates while alcohol sedates.

Tips for socialising when on a quit-smoking journey

Now that you’ve started your no-smoking journey, how do you balance it with your social life? Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:

Don’t delay

Don’t let yourself get bogged down with doubts. Everything you did as a smoker, you can do as a former smoker. Holding off too long from social drinking after quitting can create a sense of intimidation. Plus, socialising with friends is an important part of your life. The sooner you teach yourself how to enjoy a drink or two without a cigarette, the sooner you’ll feel like your life is back to normal.


Of course, your usual choice of pub might trigger a smoking craving. Before leaving the house or in the car, be mentally prepared by saying aloud, “I’m a former smoker.” Or try, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” The main point is to remind yourself that you’re a former smoker and that you don’t need to light up anymore.

A no-smoking social

It might be a good idea to invite friends to your home instead of going out for a drink on during the early days. You can celebrate your smoke-free success with them. You’ll be able to control what is served which can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.

Non-smoking friends

Good support will be invaluable as you quit. Who you choose to hang out with can help support your ex-smoking status. Slip-ups can occur when quitters are in the company of other smokers who may not be aware of how to support their quit attempt.

Find yourself a quit buddy

Enlist a family member or friend as your ‘quit buddy’ to take along to an event! A quit buddy is someone who supports your quit. Should you encounter old smoking friends who ask you to join them, make sure they are aware of your situation so they can be respectful. Not only that, you’ll also have your quit buddy to hang out with.

Considering Medical Treatment in the Ukraine

Many publications state the services provided by the NHS has become worse over the last few years. And it may not change for some time.

British hospitals are so overloaded that some patients sometimes wait weeks for their appointment and even months. There are some articles describing beds being located in the hospital corridors.

A high-quality health care for those who have no insurance package might become an unreachable luxury, especially if we think about dentistry or laser eye surgery.

As such, some UK patients are searching for a more affordable treatment. Medical tourism was born many years ago and has been successfully developing over the last decade not only in the UK, but in other developed countries as well.

There are numerous health tourism destinations, but in this article we would like to talk about Ukraine and the medical services which this state can propose for the British people.

Conceivably, few of our readers know much about Ukraine. Therefore, we propose some facts about this country.

  • Ukraine is the largest European country.
  • It can be surprising that the geographic centre of Europe is located in Ukraine – in the Zakarpattya region.
  • 2018 UEFA Champions League Final was held in Kyiv – Ukrainian capital. Many European tourists mentioned the beauty of the city, high level of organizing and a sincere hospitality of Ukrainians.
  • Eurovision Song Contest 2005 and 2017 took place also in Kyiv.
  • UEFA Euro 2012 was co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.

So, there is no doubt that Ukraine is the most “European” country among all former-USSR countries. And hundreds of tourists from all over the world come to Ukraine every day.

Several low-costs operate in Ukraine. For example, a return flight London-Kyiv-London with Ryanair costs £59 / €67 only. For comparison, the price of London-Budapest-London route is around £68 / €77!

It is necessary to mention that no visa is required for the UK and Irish citizens if they come to Ukraine for up to 90 days.

A great number of medical students from Asia, Middle East and Africa are studying in many Ukrainian cities like Kharkiv and Kyiv. They choose Ukraine for graduation because of the very high quality of education and low prices.

It’s not just in the Ukraine where people are turning to for medical treatments, for instance many British citizens are seeking medical treatment as far afield as India, and Turkey has become a popular affordable choice for hair transplants (what to expect after a hair tranplant in Turkey).

The level of medical care in Ukraine is on the European level in terms of doctors’ qualification and medical equipment installed in the hospitals.

Ukrainian medical specialists regularly participate at the international medical forums and conferences enriching the world medical science and establishing new perspective trends.

The medical equipment, such as MRI and CT scanners, dental units, implants and appliances, LASIK equipment is the same supplied into the UK and Ukraine. The brands, such as Siemens, GE, Sirona, Alcon, Karl Storz are routine in medical practice of Ukrainian and European hospitals.

Based on this, we would consider Ukraine as the country which can offer the high-quality medical care, if we are talking about the medical centres and hospitals located in large cities, like Kyiv and Kharkiv.

There are some Ukrainian medical tourism agencies which care about all the aspects of health tour of the tourist who come from abroad. One of those is “Medical Ukraine” medical tourism agency

They solve all your problems when you get the treatment and/or diagnostics in the Ukrainian hospital.

Medical Ukraine:

  • Prepares and schedules the program of your diagnostics and treatment

  • Selects and books accommodation: apartment, hotel or hostel

  • Provides the escort at the medical centres and personal interpreter during all the medical appointments

  • 24 Hour support in emergency cases

  • Provides you with the certified translation of all the medical documentation which you get in Ukraine. So, you are able to use it later in the UK

  • Provides your airport transfer

  • Organizes leisure activities and cares about your diet

Just to give you the idea about the prices of medical services in Ukraine, some figures:

  • Dental implantation “all included”: implant, abutment, crown. From £363 / €410
  • Root canal treatment – from £13 / €15
  • Braces – from £133 / €150
  • Veneer Emax – from £239 / €270. Crown and installation are included

Materials used are: Straumann, Nobel Biocare, NeoBiotech, 3M, Ormco, etc.

  • Cataract treatment – from £301 / €340
  • Glaucoma surgery – £319 / €360

Equipment and materials used are: Alcon, Karl Zeiss, Tomey, etc.

  • MRI – from £49 / €55
  • CT – £27 / €30
  • Ultrasound – from £7 / €8
  • Laboratory tests – from £2.7 / €3
  • Check-up – £115 / €130


Investigation is fulfilled on the scanners Siemens, Philips, GE, Roche, etc.

More details can be found here:


So, why not come to Ukraine for an affordable check-up for just £115 / €130?

It is impossible to find prices for such a set of diagnostic procedures in the UK!!!

More details can be found here:

and here:


Or, maybe, it is time to get rid of your glasses with LASIK for £261 / €295?

Medical Ukraine will thoroughly evaluate your clinical case and schedule the appointment with the best doctors, PhD and MD. Many of them have the experience of practicing in the USA and Europe.

Please contact us via e-mail:

or Tel./Viber/WahtsApp: +380687430487

We are sure that after your first visit you will return to us again and again, like many of our patients have done!