The Science Behind SimpleTherapy: Why We Don’t Use Motion Tracking Devices

The Science Behind SimpleTherapy: Why We Don’t Use Motion Tracking Devices

June 8, 2023

At SimpleTherapy, we prioritize providing evidence-based, clinically proven methods to help our users manage and reduce pain. While some digital health solutions rely on motion-tracking devices and sensors, SimpleTherapy’s approach is grounded in research that supports the efficacy of virtual therapy without the need for additional hardware. In this post, we’ll explore the lack of clinical evidence for motion-tracking devices, discuss a recent clinical study conducted with Mount Sinai, and explain how SimpleTherapy effectively delivers appropriate care without these devices.

The Lack of Clinical Evidence for Motion Tracking Devices:

Motion tracking devices, such as wearable sensors, are often touted as the future of rehabilitation, but the scientific evidence supporting their use remains limited. According to a systematic review published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), there is a lack of high-quality studies evaluating the effectiveness of sensor-based interventions for musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders(1). The review concludes that more rigorous, controlled trials are needed to establish the validity of these devices in clinical practice.

“Clinical decision-making revolves around pain and the mechanical responses to movements. Therefore, it is not necessary to use sensors that only record movement, but rather, it is more clinically relevant to obtain subjective and mechanical response to those particular movements to prescribe the best care for the patient.”

– Kelly McLaughlin, DPT, ATC Cert MDT
Director of MSK Programs | SimpleTherapy Inc.

SimpleTherapy’s Clinical Study with Mount Sinai

SimpleTherapy recently conducted a clinical study with The Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC to further investigate the effectiveness of our virtual physical therapy platform without the use of motion-tracking devices. The study conducted by SimpleTherapy and Mt. Sinai involved a retrospective analysis of data from 3109 users with multiple types of chronic musculoskeletal pain. The findings showed that engaging with the SimpleTherapy program was associated with a significant decrease in pain intensity and significant improvements in self-reported quality of life and work life. These outcomes are comparable to traditional physical therapy results without requiring any additional equipment like motion tracking devices.

The study’s key findings include the following:

  1. A significant decrease in pain intensity: Users reported a clinically significant decrease in pain intensity of 2.09-point points on a pain Visual Analogue Scale by the 11th session.
  2. Significant improvements in quality of life and work life: The study found that using the SimpleTherapy program was associated with significant improvements in self-reported percent improvement in participants’ quality of life and work life.
  3. High levels of engagement: 46% of participants were performing more than one session per day, 70% were doing two sessions within two days of onboarding, and 88% were engaging within a week of onboarding.
  4. Scalability and wide-ranging disease applicability: The study included a large number of participants and multiple pain sites, demonstrating the potential for the SimpleTherapy program to be applied across various conditions without the need for sensors or motion-tracking devices. Users with pain in various body parts, such as the lower back, upper back, neck, ankle, foot, wrist, hand, hip, and knee, experienced benefits without the need for motion-tracking devices or computer vision technology.

Evidence-Based Approach without Motion Tracking Devices

These findings provide foundational evidence that SimpleTherapy programs can offer similar benefits to traditional physical therapy but with the added advantages of high levels of patient compliance with prescribed care and enhanced accessibility. Our platform eliminates the need for expensive, hi-tech setups like motion sensor or computer vision technology, making it more convenient and cost-effective for users seeking pain relief and rehabilitation.

By demonstrating that motion-tracking devices aren’t necessary for effective physical therapy, this study further solidifies SimpleTherapy’s commitment to delivering evidence-based, virtual therapy services that are both effective and accessible.

SimpleTherapy focuses on delivering virtual therapy services that are supported by scientific research. Our platform provides personalized exercise therapy programs that have been shown to be effective in reducing pain and improving function for individuals with MSK conditions (2). Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare found that virtual rehabilitation without motion-tracking devices can lead to similar outcomes as traditional in-person therapy, including pain reduction and functional improvements (3).

Promoting Health Equity and Diversity:

By eliminating the need for motion-tracking devices and providing virtual therapy services that are both effective and accessible, SimpleTherapy actively supports health equity and diversity. Without additional hardware, our platform can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, making it more convenient for users seeking pain relief and rehabilitation; and cost-effective for employers looking to bring a solution that supports health equity without breaking the bank. Our platform allows individuals from various socioeconomic backgrounds, including those with limited access to traditional physical therapy services, to receive high-quality care that can improve their lives.

SimpleTherapy’s commitment to health equity and diversity extends beyond offering an accessible platform. We also prioritize hiring diverse healthcare professionals to ensure our users receive culturally sensitive care that caters to their unique needs.


SimpleTherapy is committed to delivering evidence-based, digital, and virtual therapy services that are both effective and accessible. SimpleTherapy’s clinical study with Mt. Sinai provides compelling evidence that motion-tracking devices are not required for effective physical therapy. Our platform offers personalized home-based exercise therapy programs for people with chronic pain, can achieve significant pain reduction and improved quality of life without relying on additional hardware. This approach enables us to provide a more accessible, affordable, and user-friendly solution for individuals seeking pain relief and rehabilitation.

By prioritizing research-backed methods and focusing on user engagement, delivering high-quality virtual therapy, SimpleTherapy is committed to positively impacting the lives of those living with chronic pain, without the need for motion-tracking devices. By making our services accessible and affordable, we aim to improve people’s lives with chronic pain through evidence-based, personalized home-based exercise therapy programs.


  1. Lund, H., Juhl, C., Nørgaard, B., & Christensen, R. (2018). Movement Sensors for Effect Estimation in Patients with Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(5), e197.
  2. Kim T, Gay N, Khemka A, Garino J. Internet-Based Exercise Therapy Using Algorithms for Conservative Treatment of Anterior Knee Pain: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial
    JMIR Rehabil Assist Technol 2016;3(2):e12 Internet-Based Exercise Therapy Using Algorithms for Conservative Treatment of Anterior Knee Pain: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial
  3. Delgado, Andrew Dean1; Salazar, Sophia Isela1; Rozaieski, Kendal2; Putrino, David1; Tabacof, Laura1. Engagement in an mHealth guided exercise therapy program is associated with reductions in chronic musculoskeletal pain. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation ():10.1097/PHM.0000000000002257, March 31, 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000002257
  4. Cottrell, M. A., Galea, O. A., O’Leary, S. P., Hill, A. J., & Russell, T. G. (2017). Real-time telerehabilitation for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions is effective and comparable to standard practice: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 23(5), 557-564.

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