Melbourne physiotherapy studio Universal Practice is popular for its group movement classes held in beautiful, light-filled studios. What sets it apart is its science-based approach to yoga, clinical Pilates or reformer, all led by qualified physiotherapists.
Last year, it introduced pre-recorded sessions and classes – including Pilates, stability, strength training and meditation – but founders Sammy and Andrew Prowse wanted to tailor it even more online.
“We saw a gap between the best-practice models clients get [in person] and what the current online health and wellbeing space has to offer,” says Sammy. “[The Universal Practice app] is all about providing an evidence-based approach that’s just like what you get in-room that’s relevant and customised per person.”
The new service launched on the App Store and Google Play on July 1, 2021. It uses newly developed algorithms (made in partnership with medical-tech company My DNA) that take into account users’ specific needs.
“It ensures each person is doing what's right for them, which essentially enables them to feel better and do more to reach their potential, which are exactly the same goals we have when people come into our practice,” Sammy tells Broadsheet.
The algorithms have all been programmed by a team of physiotherapists to ensure there’s science to back up each routine. At registration, users plug in personal information, as well as their needs, goals, fitness levels, challenges, any injuries and focus areas. Then the app prescribes a schedule to follow, with workouts, rehabilitation sessions and sports-specific programs to meet their aims.
The app also collects information on pain, sleep and your moods to tailor your routine as much as possible. There are workouts to build stability, strength and mobility, as well as more specific exercises for aspiring runners or to improve golf swings or reduce the risk of injury. It does this via clear video demonstrations and easy-to-follow guided movements. For rehab and recovery, there are lower back programs and foot and ankle programs that progressively train those parts of the body, as well as specialised programs for antenatal and postnatal users, or older users.
“A big part of our market is over 65, so we were very aware when building the app that we wanted it to be user-friendly, so it’s very intuitive,” Sammy says. “And the app literally tells people what to do, so there’s no guesswork required – it takes them through the journey day by day, step by step, workout by workout.”
There’s also a feature that gives you “a physiotherapist in your pocket” that you can connect with at any time of day to ask questions, check in on your technique, consult about niggles or pain and ask for advice. So no more second-guessing symptoms via Google and potentially worsening injuries with DIY treatments.
“People were looking online for advice and solutions for healthcare, but what’s available isn’t necessarily given by health professionals or prescribed for best results,” says Prowse.
Universal Practice is offering a free seven-day trial to all users, with unrestricted access to the app and all its features. Subscriptions are $39 per month; $79 every quarter; or $199 for the year.
Plus, Broadsheet readers get 50 per cent off your first three months ($39.50) with the code “UPFOUNDING3”.