Lumeus founder Verena Herzog-Pohl
Photo: Lumeus

Lumeus: Mental health for the whole family

The number of people with mental health conditions has been rising steadily for years. The mental health app Lumeus uses the influence of positive emotions on the subconscious to help those affected. Lumeus founder Verena Herzog-Pohl explains how this approach works.

Munich Startup: What does Lumeus do? What problem do you solve?

Verena Herzog-Pohl, Lumeus: Lumeus is a mental health app, a self-help tool for your own mental health, an emotion training for the whole family. The emotion trainings consist of spoken visualizations, narrated by professional voice actors such as Yvonne Greitzke (the German voice of Anna from Walt Disney’s “Frozen”) and Tobias Krell (known as “Checker Tobi”) and impressive music individually composed and set to each scene by symphony orchestras.

The strong positive emotions through words and music reach subconsciously stored causes of numerous mental problems and can dissolve old patterns of thinking and behavior. Positive emotions release happiness hormones that act like medicine for body and mind, but without any side effects. Lumeus has helped numerous users with:

  • Reducing anxiety, stress, depressive moods and sleep problems
  • Dissolving addictive behaviors (e.g., obesity or smoking)
  • Strengthening self-confidence, inner peace, concentration, energy and motivation
  • Strengthening the immune system

The method was developed together with numerous physicians, psychologists and scientists and evaluated and confirmed in its effectiveness by the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich and the Psychiatric University Clinic in Giessen.

Lumeus primarily offers insurance companies and businesses a range of services to strengthen the mental health of their policyholders, employees and their families. One billion people worldwide suffer from mental illnesses; during the Covid pandemic, indications such as depression and anxiety disorders increased by 25 percent. Mental illnesses cost insurance companies around 44 billion euros a year in Germany. Companies are recording rising costs due to days of absence and declining performance as a result of mental illness. For this reason, we offer Lumeus primarily as part of the company health management measures or for health insurance companies. In addition, we have recently been certified as a preventive measure and are reimbursed by all statutory health insurance companies in Germany.

Lumeus provides the soundtrack to its own film

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Verena Herzog-Pohl, Lumeus: Yes, it is, we are the first! Current emotion research confirms that positive emotions can prevent and even cure certain diseases. We have developed a tool with the help of which our users can arouse strong emotions themselves. In order to create these scenes as real as possible, we worked as a team with psychologists, scriptwriters and film composers. The music for each piece was composed individually and recorded with the Berlin and Budapest symphony orchestras. This is very different from classical meditation apps, because with Lumeus people experience the soundtrack to their own film, their wishes and desires. This is what makes Emotions Training so active and effective.

Munich Startup: What’s your founding story?

Verena Herzog-Pohl, Lumeus: My mother Dagmar Herzog developed the so-called “Herzog Method” for herself more than 25 years ago, because neither therapies nor medications had a lasting effect on her. Together with scientists, psychologists, therapists and doctors she developed the Emotions-Training on the basis of brain and emotion research. As a screenwriter, she immediately had the corresponding emotional scenes in mind. A film composer developed the music for it, and the Berlin and Budapest Symphony Orchestras provided the music. She gave numerous seminars, among others for health insurances, companies and private users, wrote bestsellers.

Remedy in family stress situations

Together with my brother, I founded an IT security company. At that time I had twins, my husband was working in another city and was only home on weekends. This brought me to my health limits. Sleep disturbances and a long-lasting tinnitus were the result. My doctor’s advice was to reduce stress. But how? That was the moment when I myself started with my mother’s emotion training. The result: after three weeks the tinnitus was completely gone and I could sleep again. This personal experience was the reason why I founded a second company with my mother to take the Emotions Trainings into the digital world. Together, we redeveloped a special children’s training with prominent speakers. This makes Lumeus an app for everyone – because when one person in the family suffers, the whole family suffers with them.

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Verena Herzog-Pohl, Lumeus: Developing our app, finding the right team for it, and getting certification from the public health insurers so that the costs for our users are reimbursed. We have managed to do both.

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, where in five years?

Verena Herzog-Pohl, Lumeus: Next year, we would like to have gained more well-known customers, health insurers and partners in German-speaking countries, and in five years we would like to be internationally known as an effective and sustainable mental health app.

More support for childcare

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Verena Herzog-Pohl, Lumeus: As a diverse business location, Munich is predestined for B2B solutions and the networking with other startups is also very good here. But I would like to see more support in the area of childcare for working mothers. This has presented me with challenges a few times during my founding of the IT security company, as well as now.

Munich Startup: Risk or Security?

Verena Herzog-Pohl, Lumeus: Inmy opinion, when you build a startup, you always have to take a risk. True to the motto: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.