Pain happens for many reasons, but the team at Thermotex Therapy Systems knows that pain doesn’t need to sideline sufferers. What began as a therapeutic product for horses has changed the lives of people with pain from ailments ranging from arthritis, sprains and tendonitis to menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia and sports injuries.
Thermotex was started in the 1980s as an infrared treatment to improve racehorses’ performance, and the incredible success founder Dr. Joseph Bender had with the animals spurred him to research applying the same technique to people. In 1996, Francis Docherty purchased the company and the Docherty family has been expanding on Dr. Bender’s offerings ever since.
“It’s pretty exciting and really rewarding to do what we do for 25 years. We get phone calls, letters and emails saying we’ve changed clients’ lives now that their pain is under control or gone,” says Wendy Docherty, executive vice president of Thermotex and Francis’ daughter.
The Docherty family started with a line of four personal products – the Gold, the Platinum, a knee pad and an elbow pad. The Platinum, measuring 17 inches by 15 inches, is the company’s top seller for its versatility in treating pain throughout the body, whether it’s applied flat on the back, wrapped around an arm or leg, draped over a shoulder or across the neck.
The infrared heating pads target pain and inflammation where it originates, which is something a traditional heating pad can’t do. Unlike standard heating pads that offer high heat that only reaches a few millimetres into the body, the patented Thermotex products penetrate at least six centimetres (2.36 inches) into the body using low heat. As the infrared is absorbed it heats the tissues causing the treatment area to be flooded with fresh blood and oxygen, proteins and nutrients. As the lactic acid buildup and inflammation is flushed away, it creates a natural analgesic effect for pain relief.
“Our product is unique and we’ve proven the depth of penetration,” she says. “It takes 20 minutes to penetrate to that point where it is truly therapeutic.”
Users are encouraged to use the infrared pads for 45 minutes twice a day for the first 10 to 14 days of treatment and then once a day as needed to maintain the benefits of infrared penetration.
“Once you get the inflammation under control you don’t need to use the product as often. People who use our products regularly find that they can decrease their medications as well,” Docherty says.
Thermotex expanded the product line to include pads tailored to both the left and right wrists, a foot unit, and a professional unit employed by chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists for pre-treatment muscle warmup. This fall, Thermotex is also adding a neck unit to the product line, all of which are available for purchase through the company’s website, on Amazon and a few other online sellers, and select home-care facilities.
The Dochertys haven’t forgotten the company’s equine roots and continues to cater to a four-legged demographic. Thermotex upgraded the original design for horses from six pads to 12 pads to cover a larger surface area and added leggings, a sinus hood, a TMJ hood and a neck unit.
“It’s great for injuries as well as pre-event warm up. If a horse is going to run a race or participate in an event, trainers typically warm up the animal ahead of time to loosen up the muscles,” she says. “Trainers can give them a treatment with our blankets first to get the blood flowing, elongate the tissue and warm the muscles so they can save the energy the horse would otherwise use in its warm-up exercise.”
Along with equine pads, Thermotex has a great line for pets, with a selection of dog and cat beds and a pad for large breeds. These therapies help combat the effects of arthritis for pets in much the same way as they do for people.
Unlike standard heating pads, Thermotex products are registered as medical devices with both Health Canada and the FDA in the United States and meet ISO manufacturing standards. Safety and quality are paramount to the Dochertys and they manufacture, hand-assemble and test every product before it ships out from the four bays in their southeast Calgary offices. While local, hands-on manufacturing costs more, it’s worth it for Thermotex to ensure their high-quality standards are maintained on every delivery.
The small family business has grown significantly over the past several years after Docherty started marketing the products more aggressively and expanding their network to include large distributors and resellers. Thermotex brought on 10 of its total 18 staff members over the past nine months to accommodate this considerable growth. As the company continues to grow, Docherty hopes more people will discover Thermotex’s line of therapeutic infrared pads and feel the pain relief for themselves.
Discover Thermotex’s full product range: