Revolutionising health and wellness

0
337

Alkem is pioneering a new era of healthcare in Bahrain, offering innovative treatments and a unique blend of modern and traditional medicine. The NHRA-licensed medical centre, located within City Centre Bahrain, provides accessible, comprehensive healthcare solutions tailored to today’s busy professionals. From advanced IV therapies to personalised nutrition plans, Alkem is committed to enhancing one’s quality of life and promoting longevity. Kristian Harrison interviewed the power couple behind the concept, Nasra Alabrawi and Aaron Grimley, to find out more about this exciting development.

Can you share a bit about your personal backgrounds and what made you want to pursue something in the wellness industry?
Aaron: I have an athletic background, having been involved in competitive sports well into my 30s and 40s. Over the last 15 years, I’ve had nine surgeries due to sports injuries and age-related issues. Looking back, I realise that what we offer at Alkem could have warded off the symptoms or even prevented some of these issues. It’s very personal for me, having experienced the physical and mental challenges of injuries. I believe our treatments can help others avoid the same path.

Nasra: As a mum of three, I’ve given birth to three kids in four years. Like many mums, I often neglected my health, which led to mood swings, anger and other health issues. I sought easy solutions without addressing the root causes. After taking hormone health and gut health courses, I realised there was a significant gap in the GCC for such treatments. As an Omani native, I felt compelled to fill this gap and help others, especially women, understand and manage their health better.

How long has Alkem been operating, and what has been your journey so far?
Alkem was conceived around mid-2022. We spent the latter part of the year brainstorming, strategising and negotiating. By March 2023, we were breaking ground on the infrastructure, and within six months, we managed to stay within our budget constraints in terms of time and finances. We had a soft opening in September last year and fully opened by January 2024. Balancing time and money have been crucial, especially with young kids and a busy lifestyle, but it’s been a rewarding journey!

What inspired you to start Alkem, and why did you choose Bahrain as the place to establish it?
Nasra: In the region, there’s a gap in both traditional and modern medicine. People deserve to understand the root cause of their health issues. For example, someone with acne might only receive topical treatments when the root cause could be related to gut health. We aim to educate and treat people holistically, addressing issues from the inside-out for sustainable, long-term solutions. This approach isn’t just for acne but also for post-cancer detoxing, gut health issues like H. pylori and hormonal imbalances. We wanted to bridge modern and traditional medicine to provide patients with comprehensive care.

Aaron: I’d add that our approach is very personalised. We dive deep into symptoms and root causes to tailor holistic solutions that address the overall wellbeing of our patients. As for Bahrain, it was a strategic choice. The country offers a dynamic economy, a supportive business environment and a regional push for health and wellness initiatives. These factors align perfectly with our goals.

What is Alkem’s core philosophy, and what differentiates it from other medical centres?
Our philosophy is about improving the quality of life while unlocking potential longevity. We aim to get people on a healthcare journey that enhances their physical and mental wellbeing and sustains it over a long period. We focus on providing knowledge and personalised care, ensuring our patients understand and can maintain their health holistically. It’s not just a short-term treatment but a continuous process of learning and improvement.

Can you provide examples of some unique and innovative services that Alkem offers?
We offer a combination of modern and complementary alternative medicine, such as IV therapies and regenerative medicine at a cellular or DNA level. We also provide personalised nutrition plans based on comprehensive blood work, tailored to individual needs rather than generic multivitamins. Our advanced profile looks at minerals, elements, heavy metals and hormones to determine the exact needs of our patients. This personalised approach ensures that each patient receives exactly what their body requires.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while setting up Alkem, and how did you overcome them?
Startup challenges are tough, involving long hours, balancing family and navigating regulatory approvals. Introducing many firsts to Bahrain, like the first naturopathic doctor and the first medical centre in a shopping mall, required extensive groundwork and approval processes. We spent over a year getting through this, but our persistence paid off. As for our location in City Centre Bahrain, it was a combination of strategic planning and fortunate timing. Early conversations with the team led to a proposal that fit our needs perfectly, and after rigorous negotiations and meeting strict guidelines, we secured our prime location.

Can you describe a typical customer journey at Alkem and how you ensure a personalised experience?
At Alkem, we believe in seeing and hearing each patient properly. Each patient spends at least 30 minutes to an hour with us, diving deep into their health history. Our integrated approach means that once a primary doctor charts a treatment plan, all practitioners are informed and ready to act immediately. We use an in-house app for continuous support, where patients can chat with doctors, receive educational content, meal plans and more. This ensures accountability and continuous care, even between appointments.

How does Alkem stay on top of the latest trends in the medical industry and ahead of the curve?
Staying ahead means looking several steps forward. We’re closely involved with regenerative medicine and constantly collaborate with the NHRA to ensure safety and compliance. The regulations in Bahrain are stringent but achievable. We faced challenges getting approvals for innovative treatments, but thorough preparation and strategic partnerships helped us navigate these hurdles. Our continuous focus on new treatments and maintaining high standards keeps us at the forefront of the wellness industry.

What are your future plans for Alkem in the market environment and the wider region?
We aim to be a recognised brand in the GCC and globally. The Middle East is rapidly growing in health care and wellness awareness and therefore we plan to expand, leveraging the shift in mentality towards holistic, integrated healthcare. Our goal is to offer solutions that bridge the gap between symptom-based treatments and proactive, personalised care, ultimately improving the quality of life for our patients and extending their healthy years.