#360: Creating an Online Health Revolution with Dr. Janna Scharfenberg

January 29, 2020

Creating an Online Health Revolution with Dr. Janna Scharfenberg

Creating an Online Health Revolution 

Dr. Janna Scharfenberg is a medical doctor and Ayurveda expert and teaches her clients online how to simply live healthy. Her biggest mission: Bringing about a health revolution. Here, she explains how. 

Finding Her Health Version

10 years ago, Janna was keen on becoming a doctor, treating patients and contributing to health. “But further down the road, I realized that conventional medicine was different from what I expected it to be,” she remembers. “After I finished university, I started to create my own version of what health means. I added other directions to conventional medicine, like Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, yoga and other holistic practices. I did a lot of training in these fields. With all this knowledge, I formed what I call my health version today.”

But Janna didn’t want to stop there. She felt that she wanted to change something and give her knowledge to other health experts, medical doctors, therapists, or yoga teachers who are seeking for a new approach to give to their clients. “I started to teach more and more health experts offline and then I realized they have to travel from all over Germany, Switzerland and Austria to Zurich. That’s when I decided to do it online. Back then I had no idea how this whole online thing worked, but I gave it a try. It was learning by doing.”

Over the years, Janna has come from having a tiny coaching business to running a whole company that revolves around her health concept. “We have different trainings and courses online for health experts, I’ve written two books on Ayurveda, and I have a whole team working with me.”

Being Proactive About Health

Now, Janna is on a mission to revolutionize the way we think about health. “Today, we either have experts who are very much into conventional medicine, who are very scientific and technical. On the other hand we have people who say no to this approach and look for a more traditional and natural way. And if we put both together, which a lot of people already do, they’re still not really combined right in order to work for the patient. University doesn’t teach health experts that patients actually have to be very proactive about their own health.” Janna’s goal is to teach, coach and support them in doing just that. 

“When a patient sees a doctor today, they get told to do five things and then their stomach ache will be gone. They take this information home, are happy for a short while, and then go back to their old routines, and back to their stomach ache, because they don’t know how to improve their health actively. It’s because we never really learned how to keep ourselves healthy.” 

According to Janna, the way we look at health today is missing this point. “So I was constantly asking myself: How can we get people to be more healthy?”

Starting with the Mindset

Janna developed a program with this approach and called it the Committed Health Club. “It’s like an online fitness club for your health, so people can join from everywhere. But we only allow people inside who are open to this idea, who are willing to work with us for a year and who are willing to put some effort into it because it’s not like an online course where you get a module every week and that’s it.” During the first trimester the focus is on mindset. “When we talk about money and business, we’re always talking about mindset. We should do the same when it comes to health and ask ourselves: Do I have the right mindset to be healthy? Do I allow myself to be healthy? We are too passive when it comes to health.”

This is the moment when a  mindset shift takes place. “It’s not just about taking a pill when you have a headache anymore. It’s about understanding what goes on in your body and finding other approaches. It’s about accepting that there are other components to your health, which might be mental.” Janna says that there’s still a stigma around mental illness. “When your chest hurts, there can be five different reasons for that. One of them could be because you’re having a panic attack, and why should that be better or worse than any of the other reasons? When we get ill, our mental health is involved too. The more we see that as normal, the more we can approach it naturally.”  

Education, Coaching and Support

In the Committed Health Club, Janna and her mentors, who are medical doctors or health coaches, offer a combination of education, coaching and support. “We teach how the different organs are functioning, how you can support them and how your hormones are working. I truly believe that if we understand something, we can handle it better.”

The mentors help participants through the program and answer questions. Additionally, there are masterclasses with doctors and health experts talking about a specific topic, like chronic pain or headaches. “It’s very important to get access to people who are well-trained and have the right knowledge. Of course you can ask Google about your headache, but you will get 500 different diagnoses and half of them will probably be cancer. That’s just scary and not helping at all. But if you can talk to a person and get the right input, then you can also decide for yourself what you need to do next.”

It was important for Janna to include different medical fields in her program. “We have the science, we have Ayurveda, we have functional medicine, we have the holistic approach. We bring them all together because we want to show all the different aspects so that people can decide for themselves what is right. Some people need a scientific explanation, others look for an explanation on an energetic level. No one is wired the same way. We want to combine these different approaches, but on a very high level.” 

Huge Potential in Schools and Insurance Sector

Janna hopes that in the future, everyone will open up more to tailored health. “It’s still very traditional to go to the hospital and wait for hours. Imagine having any contact with your physician or consultations online. There’s a lot of potential there.” 

Also prevention should become a bigger topic. “We’re focusing so much on illness and treatment and it’s good that we have that, but we also need the other side, the information and support part to stay healthy in the first place.”  

Janna believes that through her program, this is exactly what she can provide, but not only: “Learning about health should be part of a child’s education. Children should learn why nutrition is important. Today, all the education they get is through their parents, if they’re lucky, but that’s it.” 

Schools are part of Janna’s biggest vision, but she says that there’s also potential within the insurance sector. “Why are so few insurances interested in what people do for their health on a daily level? For example, if you go for a walk every day, they could reward you with an upgrade or some extra points. Whereas today, if someone needs a knee surgery because they haven’t moved around, they just go ahead and pay for it. But for everything you do to prevent it, you don’t get a reward. That’s a very paradoxical system.” 

From Revolutionary to Normal

A potential shift towards tailored health might already be happening. There are thousands of health apps and gadgets available for individual use. “If you’re a very technical person or if you need to see a number on your watch to boost your motivation, then it can be something very supportive. But we shouldn’t forget that we’re emotional beings. Ask yourself: Did I really enjoy walking these 10’000 steps? Was I really sleeping that well? Did I enjoy the food I ate to stay under a certain amount of calories?”

In general, Janna believes that health gadgets can help give numbers and points to orientate yourself around and structure your day, but urges to not neglect the emotional impact it can have. “The overall question is: Did using this gadget really help and support you?” 

Janna hopes that in five years, her program won’t be revolutionary anymore, but something that is more accepted by other health experts. “My vision is to make my program even bigger, to have lots of great experts in it and that it turns into a whole online house of health that people have access to, to get information they’re desperately seeking and that they can trust.” 

Connect with Dr. Janna Scharfenberg:

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