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CEO Corner: Dr. Stephen Liu, founder of Forme, on the Wearable Technology Company

CEO Corner: Dr. Stephen Liu, founder of Forme, on the Wearable Technology Company

Dr. Stephen Liu smiling

Forme was founded by Dr. Stephen Liu as a way to support his mother’s battle against late-stage comfort. Today, Forme helps alleviate pain for so many consumers, improving their alignment, performance, and recovery. With the United States spending billions annually on neck and back pain solutions, Forme’s ability to correct posture gets to the root of the issue, rather than merely providing comfort. ATN spoke with Dr. Liu about his inspiration for founding the company, the technology behind the products, and the company’s long-term goals.

ATN: What was your inspiration for founding Forme? 

Dr. Liu: After years as an orthopedic surgeon, and as a way to enhance my mother’s posture and breathing through her battle against late-stage cancer, I realized how important it was to create a posture wearable technology that would instantly and naturally improve alignment and comfort to those going through medical treatments and physical pain. I developed Forme into a science backed wearable company that corrects posture disorders and everyday back or neck pain for everyone – from athletes, nurses, dentists, office workers, pregnant women, to those with scoliosis, cancer, and more. Posture is your foundation: your health, mood, mind, and appearance all rest on this foundation. The mission of Forme is to develop the best foundation for your performance, to live as your best self: the best form of you.

ATN: What was your process for founding the company, and developing the technology?

Dr. Liu: In the age of mobile phones and digital technology, where most people are sitting at a desk all day staring at their computers, or scrolling on a screen, slouching and poor posture become progressively habitual, often resulting in pain and unhealthy conditions. Through initial self-funding, and biomechanical research and development, we built therapeutic products that are patented and FDA-registered posture wearables that instantly align your spine, improve shoulder-hip balance, and reduce pain associated with spinal disorders. All you have to do is wear it for everyday activities, and the technology will do the rest, effortlessly. 

Forme is a wearable technology company dedicated to optimizing human posture and performance. We design wearable fabric technology built into stylish activewear that can be easily integrated into daily life for noticeable improvement to your physical and cognitive health. It is a transformative solution for daily posture training and lifestyle improvement. Body alignment, muscle strength, joint stability, and improved breathing, all can help prevent injuries, costly therapy and invasive procedures later in life.

Forme products were created in a biomechanics lab with extensive focus on corrective orthopedic alignment throughout the body while ensuring dynamic mobility and everyday wearability through thoughtful design and iterative feedback channels. Most importantly, without the use of compression.

People wearing Forme products

No other product offers continual proprioceptive resistance and training the way Forme does. Other in-market products often utilize compression, braces or rigid straps applying external force to hold the body into alignment. Users often don’t use them for the long run because they aren’t comfortable.

Rather than using one piece of tight fabric, we’re using multiple panels or tensile pieces that adjust and train your posterior muscles (back system) to align themselves (quicker proprioception to spinal muscles). The most common tech apparel companies with comparable integrated solutions have gone to is incorporating mineral threads for antibacterial resistance or patterned straps in compression wear.  

When wearing Forme, you’ll immediately feel a halo improvement effect. You’ll be standing taller, breathing better, taking in more oxygen, feeling more clear and alert, and even more confident. The ingenuity being hidden from the public eye– the technology is built between layers of high-quality fabric versus as a standalone device. We’ve found that other in-market devices meant for therapeutic wellness have thus far been bulky, tight, uncomfortable and obvious– meaning anyone can spot you wearing them. This, it would be a challenge to make a tight compressive long sleeve or a golf polo posture wear. 

Part of why we designed an invisible device into a daily functional wearable is because we want people to keep using it confidently and with ease. With daily, regular wear, your body will develop muscle memory to restore ideal posture without conscious effort. Ultimately, the goal of Forme is to create a biomechanical awareness of your body’s posture, a tight mind-body connection, keeping you in alignment subconsciously during running, walking, sitting, or breathing.

Many people are looking for better posture, faster recovery and less pain via Pilates, yoga, fitness, modality, therapy, or Chiro sessions. Unfortunately, while helpful in spurts, none are natural and sustainable, without incurring a big cost. 

ATN: What differentiates Forme from competitors?

Dr. Liu: While other wearable technologies let you know how many steps you’re taking or how many hours of sleep you get in a night, Forme is actually taking the necessary corrective measures to implement positive change in habits. Yes, those wearables might be helping you see where you need to improve in those areas, but they aren’t taking the next step to implement change. Forme actively corrects alignment, effortlessly, to help the consumer make positive changes to their posture.

Our products utilize proprioception to train and engage the muscles to function the way they were supposed to and maintain optimal posture for the long run, rather than a temporary rigid fixation solution that is typically seen in compression, brace or strap-based wear. Most of these other existing products have low rates of compliance in usage and are bandage solutions to improving posture or reducing neck/back pain, we aim to make it fun and exciting to wear while truly training and improving body outcomes for the long run.

We’ve undergone years of testing and research with our medical and design experts to back up the development of our devices’ technology in order to shape the direction of Forme wearables. We believe in elevating the level of health and wellness for the broadest definition of humanity. Our scientific rigor has always been driven by a relentless passion for creating a new category of product to positively change the lives of our consumers.

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Forme’s technology engages your scapular and spinal muscle memory to correct your body’s alignment, naturally and sustainably. Through this, we are teaching the body what good posture feels like by naturally rolling the shoulders back and down, while opening up the chest and hips. This continual biofeedback leads to improved posture when standing, sitting, and lying down, while reducing posterior chain muscle fatigue and improving oxygenation for faster recovery.  

ATN: What motivates you? 

Dr. Liu: To make a difference! Especially in people’s everyday health. Everyone is always looking for an edge to live and perform better. Having been an orthopedic surgeon for many years, I have seen thousands suffer from pain with or without surgery, despite costly rehabilitation and non-functional rigid orthotics or brace. My mom’s passing from cancer was the ultimate driving force to create a world changing posture wearable technology. 

ATN: What is your long-term goal for the company? 

Dr. Liu: Humanity has developed into a slouching society thanks to an ever-increasing dependency on our mobile devices. Bad posture and untrained, atrophied muscles can lead to serious injuries and pain as we age. Our population has had generations of poor wellness education shoved upon them, resulting in poor posture, and increasing discomfort as their bodies age. Yet we don’t easily have access to preventative education or wellness tools that can avoid these things.

Estimates of the total expenditures on care vary, but the general consensus is that approximately $100 billion is spent annually on the diagnosis/ management of neck and back pain, and an additional $10 to $20 billion is attributed to economic losses in productivity each year, and these numbers are rapidly exacerbated by the digital era.

We know health care costs will keep increasing given our long hours using digital devices, exhausting travel, and athletic endeavors. What started out as a mission to help a loved one battle poor posture and compressed lungs during late-stage cancer, has grown into an innovative product line that has helped thousands of customers combat posture issues, as well as spinal and musculoskeletal disorders. 

Poor posture has become an epidemic and it’s a costly public health issue. Nobody likes a slouch, and we want to end bad posture. Forme’s science builds better health by enhancing wearers’ foundations, equipping them to live better, to perform better, be more productive, avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor, and improve mental wellness. In addition to impacting the lives of individuals, Forme’s wearable technology has the capacity to improve companies’ productivity, monumentally reduce healthcare costs, and make wellness accessible for all.

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