Almost a decade ago, a group of scientists and researchers came together and pondered the questions: “What if there was a new way to combat the stresses of modern-day life? What would be a solution that not only helps the individual but also wider society?”
This month, local company Mudo Labs’ pioneer wellness product The Beem, which will start retailing online, as well as at a pop-up store at Great World City, will strive to be that answer. The sleekly designed pen-shaped device, which users apply on their cupid’s bow, is essentially designed to be a delivery system for the company’s series of six essential oil blends through acupressure and interchangeable cartridges.
Not just any regular oil blends either; at the heart of each of these are what Mudo Labs dubs ‘mood herbs’ – six Asian hero ingredients that have been scientifically proven to have mood-lifting effects, each anchoring a blend of scent compounds that the company says have been “developed in concert with aromatherapists and perfumes [and] backed by research”. Combined with the act of using acupressure on one’s cupid’s bow, Sophian Abdul Rahman, CEO of Mudo Labs says The Beem is supposed to “merge two mood managing precepts”.
“In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s believed that acupressure activates the body's meridians, helping to balance and restore the flow of ‘qi’. Research suggests that stimulating acupoints may produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which may soothe the nervous system, promoting a sense of comfort, relaxation, and calm,” he explains.
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On the surface, The Beem may look like your run-of-the-mill essential oil roll-on. But Sophian says coming up with this specific product was never the goal. “We started with a blank slate. Back then, that ‘something’ didn’t even have to be a device. The Beem today was the result of years of iterative experimenting, testing, and redesigning.”
After the initial years, the Mudo Labs team narrowed its focus and research on one specific area: Traditional Asian herbs and botanicals, and the ways in which these could possibly balance moods. Having finally found the northstar for their would-be solution, the group embarked on ideation and conception generation in 2020, before landing on a product concept that they believed could best answer the questions they asked themselves all those years ago.
“In the words of Professor Kuroki Yutaka from our in-house scientific team, ‘these Asian botanicals are underexplored’. That many of these herbs and botanicals have been used for centuries in traditional medical systems also tells us that there may be some truth to these remedies, and we now are using science to back it up.”
For example, in the mood cartridge named ‘Experience Rest’, tongkat ali, an ingredient which has been found to display potential in reducing the body’s core temperature and cortisol levels to improve relaxation and sleep, features as its hero ingredient. In Experience Kinetic Force, which aims to give the user an energy boost, contains ginseng – an ingredient thought to contain the ability to combat fatigue, provide energy, and boost strength. Others have more abstract effects: Moringa oil, which was found to have serotonin-like effects in the brain, is key in the Experience Satisfaction mood cartridge; while Experience Confidence features damiana, which Sophian says Mudo Labs’ scientists have identified “enhanced effects on pleasure systems that can induce testosterone-like effects of self-assurance and a positive mood”.
For Sophian, the more important function of The Beem, however, is how it “offers us a way of switching up our moods with intention”.
“We stop what we’re doing for a moment to use it and in that moment, we focus on shifting our mood before we return to the task at hand.”
He adds: “In the short term, my aspiration is for people to feel at ease using The Beem. After all, this product is designed to create that intimate moment where you are in tune with yourself, and there should be no shame or judgement in seeking the best for ourselves.”
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With more than two decades of business development and expansion experience across multiple industries, including healthcare and real estate, Sophian understands well the trials and tribulations of growing a company, especially now with Mudo Labs under his care. But it’s a challenge that he relishes.
“The main draw [of joining the company] at the very start was the idea of building something out of nothing. I am at the stage of my career where I feel that I am equipped with the skills to truly make a difference.”
“I wanted to build something that can give back to society. We live in a world where we all have our guard up. We tend to not talk about our personal well-being, and it is common to ignore our own emotional health. The question that faced me then is: ‘How do I build this abstract something that can improve how we live, and make it accessible enough to as many people as possible?’,” he elaborates.
Through his experience working at Mudo Labs and bringing The Beem to fruition, he has also learned to be more aware and in tune with his own emotional states and finding the all-important mood balance.
“When my energy is low, instead of sinking deeper into that feeling, I have realised that it's important to recognize it and try to break out of that downward spiral. Similarly, if I'm feeling euphoric and become too engrossed in whatever gives me that giddy lift, that's not responsible either. It's all about balance.”
“You need to be aware of when you're crossing certain emotional boundaries,” he adds. “Recognising these moments allows you to redirect your emotions and actions. By doing so, you can prevent yourself from getting too caught up in any extreme feeling, ensuring you remain grounded.”
“We want to lead the way in creating a safe space for all of us to begin talking about emotional wellness and managing our different moods. It’s okay to not always be okay, and it’s okay to want to talk about it, and take steps to address it.”
The Beem is, of course, in his arsenal, to help him take mental breaks whenever he needs one, to help “shift [his] mood before [he] sets it aside to return to what [he] was working on”.
But much like how Mudo Labs had set out with lofty goals in mind all those years ago, Sophian sees a bigger purpose for The Beem moving forward: First, global expansion; next, product line expansion, all with the same goal in mind – “to help master one’s mood”.
“We want to lead the way in creating a safe space for all of us to begin talking about emotional wellness and managing our different moods. It’s okay to not always be okay, and it’s okay to want to talk about it, and take steps to address it. Through this, we can be better people to ourselves and to others. A healthy society is one that also has a healthy relationship with its mental well-being.”