For a lot of women, the menstrual cycle comes with pain, which many manage with painkillers. A Wilmington entrepreneur’s recently launched product aims to address the issue with less pain medication.
This week, Airlie Wedemeyer has launched MyPeriodPal, a reflexology band that relieves menstrual discomfort, according to a press release.
“I invented MyPeriodPal while working in the Philippines, where reflexology is common and pain medication is scarce,” Wedemeyer said in the release. “A Korean colleague taught me a few basics, but when she told me to press the uterus point and all of my period pain went away, I was hooked!”
Reflexology is “a systematic practice in which applying some pressure to any particular points on the feet and hands give impacts on the health of related parts of the body,” stated an article from the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Pressure points on feet and hands are thought to link with different parts of the body.
After moving back to the U.S., Wedemeyer noticed the reliance women have on pain medicine due to the lack of healthy alternatives on the market for menstrual relief, the release stated. She began prototyping, doing studies and writing grants to fund her research and development.
Wedemeyer was a recipient of the NC IDEA MICRO grant in 2019 and a semi-finalist in the Spring 2020 NC IDEA SEED grant.
Her studies spanned over two years, and through surveys, she found that 90% of women between the ages of 24-40 report their pain dropping (on a scale of 1-10) from a 9 to a 2 during the first few minutes of wearing the bands. According to the release, 98% of all users report taking less pain medication with MyPeriodPal.
“None of the initial users had any knowledge of reflexology, so they were skeptical that a point on their ankle could affect their menstrual cramps,” Wedemeyer said.
Currently, the bands are available on the company’s website.
The bands, which are made of neoprene with a rubber core, are made in North Carolina and China.
“Pain medicine is the No. 1 relief for females during menstruation, but over time they also lead to ulcers, heart attack, stroke, liver damage and high blood pressure,” she said in an email. “My goal is for MyPeriodPal to help women and girls of all ages have a happier, healthier life one period at a time by using less pain medication.”