Product Innovation in America - How one business is making a difference in the allergy and sinus care category
Health Solutions taps a heritage of product innovation with the SinuPulse Elite. A hi tech solution for stuffy noses it is providing natural relief for the 60 million allergy and sinus sufferers in the US
Natural Health Network sat down recently with Health Solutions Glen Rocklin to discuss how they are making their mark in the growing nasal irrigation category. With a unique perspective that spans 25 years we explored his role as he leads through innovation and an unparalleled commitment to quality.
By, NHN senior editor
October 3, 2008
Celebrating 25 years in the consumer products field, nearly 20 years with global product leader Teledyne Water Pik we had an opportunity to discuss one of the fastest growing segments of the alternative health care market, nasal irrigation, with industry veteran, Glen Rocklin.
NHN: Your experience with irrigation products dates back 25 years does that give you a unique experience?
Glen Rocklin: Certainly, I started with Water Pik 25 years ago when oral irrigation using a pulsating irrigator was recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists. I sold my share of avocado green and harvest gold color Water Pik's – everything but shag carpet. By the time I left, a Water Pik was something your mother or even grand mother used and was replaced by expensive, high speed sonic toothbrushes which were new and exciting. However, the truth is pulsatile irrigation is as effective and relevant today as anytime in the past 30 years. Clinical reports demonstrate that pulsating irrigation is 100X more effective at removing bacteria. It helps to massage tissues, stimulate blood flow, and even promote the production of valuable white blood cells. It is a technology that serves many applications beyond simply oral irrigation.
NHN: By other applications you mean nasal irrigation. How did you get involved in this area?
In the early 1970’s attachments were being developed for the Water Pik by independent companies that would allow consumers to actually irrigate or rinse out their nose. It was a small and somewhat niche market but we were more than happy with it as it broadened the appeal of our product. My first reaction and that of most folks was “You do what?”, “You put it where?” “ and of course “Are you crazy?” However, in the 90’s we saw an explosion of alterative health care products and strategies including treatments for allergy and sinus problems. We started to see a ground swell of interest in the nasal irrigation category. Entry level inexpensive products like nasal wash bottles and neti pots have been around for years and have grown substantially in recent years including appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show and elsewhere.
NHN: After nearly 20 years you left Water Pik and began developing your own line of nasal irrigation products, can you tell us a little about that?
I was very fortunate to start my career with a company that had at its core product innovation and a real commitment to quality. Think of the products that were developed at Water Pik that consumers all around the world enjoy. Besides the Water Pik the list includes the Automatic Toothbrush, Shower Massage, the first faucet water filter (Instapure), and even the first smoking withdrawal system, One Step at a Time. Product innovation and quality control were the foundation and measure of success. It only seemed right to use this experience accumulated over 20 years and realize my personal goal of developing a superior high end nasal irrigation system for the 60 million chronic allergy and sinus sufferers in the US alone. Traditional treatments of antibiotics, decongestants, corte-steroids, and antihistamines leaves millions searching for a better natural alternative to a lifetime of drug therapy and increasingly surgery. There are many clinical studies and published medical reports that substantiate the efficacy of pulsatile nasal irrigation as an effective natural alternative for allergy and sinus problems. Instead of simply relying on the existing nasal attachment accessory for the water pik appliance and its limited performance I believed a market existed for a stand-alone pulsating nasal irrigation system. I spent the next 18 months developing the first nasal irrigation system and together with Dr. Grossan Health Solutions introduced the Hydro Pulse in 2001 for the specific purpose of nasal irrigation.
NHN: After three years of development you have recently introduced the most advanced nasal irrigation system available, the SinuPulse Elite. Many have quoted you as stating your goal is to be the “Sonicare of the nasal care category”.
Over the next several years the nasal wash market began to experience an explosion of low-tech entry level nasal wash products onto the drugstore shelves across this country. However, they can be messy and not very effective. Their performance, like a manual toothbrush, is limited. Like the advancement of high speed sonic toothbrushes pulsatile nasal irrigation is far more effective. I very much believed it was time to introduce an updated nasal irrigation system that was capable of much more. After three years of development we recently introduced the SinuPulse Elite featuring enhanced benefits, premium construction, superior performance, and innovative technology. The 1200 pulse per minute saline rinse not only cleanses, but removes bacteria at a rate 100X better than non pulsating irrigation, and helps to restore ciliary function critical to long term relief and healthy sinuses. In addition, unlike the manual methods that include neti pots and nasal wash bottles the SinuPulse and its pulsatile technology is effective at breaking down biofilm a breeding ground for bacteria and sinus disease. It has recently been shown that biofilms are present on the removed tissue of 80% of patients undergoing surgery for chronic sinusitis. The patients with biofilms were shown to have limited or no cilia activity. Pulsatile irrigation is the best alternative for long term sinus health and sinus and allergy symptoms including chronic sinusitis, nasal congestion, sinus headaches, post nasal drip, and sinus infection.
Designed and engineered in Switzerland we developed the SinuPulse to be the best, most advanced nasal irrigation system in the world. Simple and easy to use the SinuPulse takes only a few minutes each day. With its patented technology it is the first and only nasal irrigation system capable of producing both a thorough cleansing pulsating rinse and a pulsating mist spray sensation.
Product innovation is only the first step, quality and performance are equally important. Common oral irrigators and even some of the lower quality nasal irrigators are simply brought to market with a nasal attachment. While this may be a lower cost alternative, they have not been designed specifically for nasal irrigation. They generally lack the advanced product features and benefits necessary specifically for nasal irrigation. In addition, they are susceptible to premature wear resulting from the continuous exposure to saline solutions required for nasal irrigation. As a result these irrigators are subject to leaks, clogging and frequently stop working within a matter of months. We designed the SinuPulse Elite to provide unprecedented value, durability, and performance. As an example, our water tank is composed of environmentally responsible plastics. It is more resistant to calcification, mineral, and salt deposits which are the primary contributors to clogging and premature wear. The lightweight but durable design enhances its recycling capability much more so than standard plastics. Many of our SinuPulse components have been tested to a minimum of 3000 cycles. Our extended warranty is twice the industry average and our defective rate of return is significantly lower than the industry average.
NHN: We understand that many leading sports teams use your products?
Yes, athletic trainers from all field of sports - NY Yankees, NY Rangers, and LA Lakers have all used our nasal irrigation products and rely on their effectiveness for their players and have even been kind enough to provide recommendations.
"I recommend the sinus irrigation products from Health Solutions. Our team has been using their products as part of our regular healthcare regimen. We have found the products help our players that suffer from allergies and sinus problems."
6X NBA World Champion Head Athletic Trainer of the Los Angeles Lakers
We also have the support of many respected physicians including ENT’s Allergists, and Family Practice.
"I recommend the SinuPulse®, which is the premier state-of-the-art irrigation device and the only one capable of delivering both a gentle moisturizing mist spray or a more thorough cleansing pulsatile rinse. One of the most therapeutic measures in completely eliminating a sinus infection and treating sinusitis. It can help quickly and dramatically."
Dr. Ivker, Author Best Selling Book, Sinus Survival
Past President, American Holistic Medical Assoc.
Prof. Dept. of Family Medicine and Otolaryngology
Univ. of Colorado, School of Medicine Boulder, CO
NHN: I understand you have begun to roll out the product nationally beyond the specialty allergy and asthma retailers.
Yes, that is correct. We continue to rely on the allergy and asthma channel which is essential to educate and inform both physicians and consumers. The SinuPulse Elite® is distributed nationally through our network of authorized distributors and dealers including the nation’s largest supplier of allergy relief products National Allergy Supply. We recently expanded distribution of the SinuPulse to other leading retailers as well. It is now available online at CVS Pharmacy, RiteAid, Drugstore.com, Bed Bath, and Beyond, and Amazon.
NHN: Thank you for your time. I guess it is safe to say that product innovation is alive and well in America.
Yes, while it is true manufacturing has been shipped overseas, ingenuity, product innovation and the commitment to quality remain American strengths. For American industry to remain relevant and thrive these principles must be more than a slogan.