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Wellness startup Wellset wants to avoid the 'woo woo' — and responsibility

WellSet calls itself a discovery platform for "wellness services" like massages and acupuncture.

"We’re excited to create a true tech platform for wellness," Bukowski told Mashable.

However, WellSet's stated reticence to provide more active guidance for users — especially when facilitating health treatments that may be scientifically murky — ignores some of the fundamental lessons the tech industry has learned about the dangers of the "we're just a platform" approach.

Based on the amount of cash and interest in the wellness space, WellSet could be poised to fill the need for a dedicated discovery platform.

However, it will need to integrate the tech industry's hard-won lessons about user, worker, and medical accountability if it is to become a trusted, ethical companion, and not just the latest tech company to ride the pop-wellness gravy train.

WELL for Life — a Stanford University program which promotes a "proactive approach" to physical and mental healthcare — defines wellbeing as "a holistic synthesis of a person’s biological, psychological, and spiritual experiences, resulting from interplay between individuals and their social, economic, and physical environments, that promote living a fulfilling life."

Bukowski, WellSet's CEO, doesn't like the term "wellness" because of its "woo woo" connotations.

Drawing the scientifically sound wellness line around the insurance industry's views of alternative medicine practices, Bukowski likes to describe the services on WellSet as "medical adjacent."

"Making sure a practitioner could be covered by a flexible spending account (FSA) or insurance is one of the ways we choose the people that can be on the platform," Bukowski said.

It stresses that it is a "discovery" platform, and that it's up to users to "go on their own wellness journeys."

When connecting people with not entirely medically-vetted services, he thinks that the "we're just a platform" approach is irresponsible.

Instead, the WellSet team hopes to promote wellness practices as a compliment to Western medicine.

"We really see part of what WellSet is doing as taking the idea of wellness and wellbeing and making it more mainstream," Bukowski said.

WellSet's timing, consumer-friendly design, and tendency toward "preventative medicine" over spirituality-based practices have the potential to build a wellness services pipeline for a hungry consumer group and often hard-to-find practitioner base.

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