Cancer survivors relieved by Healthy Life Devices
Finnish healthtech company Healthy Life Devices has developed a unique solution to treat the pain and swelling of lymphoedema.
About 140 million people around the world suffer from an incurable condition. This is lymphoedema, localised fluid retention and tissue swelling due to a compromised lymphatic system. Although it is incurable, one Finnish company has created an innovative solution which can dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of sufferers.
“Our patented device uses negative pressure to activate the lymph system and reduce swelling,” explains Kalle Palomäki, CEO of Healthy Life Devices. “It reduces swelling more effectively than the current standard of care, and also reduces manual stress on the therapist.”
Lymphoedema can be an inherited condition, but it is also caused by other factors. In the developing world it can be the result of parasites, while it is often seen in developed nations as a result of cancer treatments. Breast cancer survivors are particularly prone to it. During cancer surgery lymph nodes are sometimes removed, or they can be damaged by chemical or radiation therapy. The lymphatic system no longer carries fluid effectively, and the result is painful swelling and a loss of mobility.
Healthy Life Devices has developed two products to alleviate this condition: LymphaTouch and PhysioTouch. They can also be used in muscle care for athletes or to treat sports injuries. After treatment with the devices swelling and pain can be reduced while the range of motion can be improved.
Coming to America
Given that the globe is grabbling with the same condition, its no surprise to discover that the company has set its sights abroad.
“When I became CEO in 2011 about 95 per cent of our business was in Finland,” Palomäki continues. “Now 90 per cent are exports. We are selling to China, Australia, the UK, Germany and of course Finland. About 70 per cent of our business is in the US.”
North America has been an enthusiastic believer in LymphaTouch and PhysioTouch. Healthy Life Devices counts some of the largest and most prestigious hospitals in the country as clients, including Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which often treats Washington politicians, and LA’s famous Cedar Sinai, which is the hospital of choice for Hollywood celebrities.
And how has the company managed to get themselves noticed at such prestigious locales? Healthy Life Devices has a unique sales model: they send hospitals one of its devices to try out for free.
“They get it for a 30-day free trial, and if they like it they can buy it,” Palomäki explains. “We’ve closed a large number of these deals. We even got the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Hospital as clients this way. They have been consistently ranked as the top cancer hospital in the USA.”
Not only are Healthy Life Devices actively courting healthcare providers, they also found demand from an unexpected source.
“We started out serving professionals, but a few years ago a patient contacted me and said she wanted to buy a device,” says Palomäki. “She had received treatment in a hospital and liked it so much she wanted a device for home therapy. We figured out how to make this happen so now sell to both hospitals and patients.”
The company continues to grow, helped by not having any direct competitors. Other methods to treat lymphoedema include physical therapy, compression bandages and complicated pneumatic pressure therapies. Healthy Life Devices are certain they have a better method to treat this debilitating condition.
“We have a perfected solution and good funding behind us,” Palomäki says. “We’ll continue to expand in the US market and around the world.”
Text: David J. Cord