Jeff Wright believes he has found the right stuff to treat your pets’ skin problems. The Belleville native recently resigned his position as a trainer with the St. Louis Blues after 15 years to go into business with a partner to sell skin treatment machines to pet groomers and veterinarians. Thera-Clean is a 90-pound pump that creates micro bubbles in bathwater that are small enough to reach the pores of your dog’s irritated skin and can, in turn, treat a rash. Business writer Will Buss recently met Wright to learn more about his service:
Where did this technology come from?
“The Russians came up with same technology in the late 1940s to shoot out of front of submarines and created an envelope of micro-bubbles around a submarine that sonar could not pick up. Later, sonar was able to pick it up. It can also be used to clean up oil spills that breaks up viscosity of oil and can now clean up oil easier and it’s cleaner. Any animals caught, it cleans it off better than detergents. Also it can be infused with chemotherapy and because it shoots directly to the tumor and we see with ultrasound and infused with chemotherapy directly into the tumor without the side affects and illness, such as hair loss.”
How did you find out about it?
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“The technology has actually been used in Japan for the past 11 years, and a veterinarian friend of ours was sent there about six years ago to do some research because he was on the board of a big dog food company up in Canada, and they were hearing some great results and unbelievable stories coming out of Japan. They sent him there for two weeks, he came back and said, ‘You have to jump on this’ and that they have been ‘doing stuff for animals that I haven’t been able to do in 35 years of veterinary practice.’ The company went over there, botched the deal and the Japanese said, ‘We’re not going to do business with you,’ for whatever reasons. A few years ago, they came back to my veterinarian friend and said, ‘We’ve taken up the whole island of Japan in the vet and grooming business. There’s no where else to go; we’re looking into humans now. So why don’t you take this and run with it in North America?’ He had just retired. He ran the third-largest vet clinic in Canada and dealt with skin issues for animals, but he didn’t want to take that on. So they sent him a machine anyway to see what he thought about it.”
“When he got it, he thought, ‘If they are already using this on humans, I should try this on my dad.’ His dad was 93 years old dying of skin cancer in a nursing home. His dad had diaper rash so bad that he couldn’t sleep for the past few weeks, because it hurt so much. He checked his dad out for 10 days, got him and gave him a 20-minute bath and he said after that the rash looked 90 percent gone. It was the first time his dad had spoken to him in months. He had almost became a mute, because he was so miserable in the nursing home. He gave him three baths in the course of 10 days, and the skin was pink and supple and hair was regrowing. That’s when he called Japan back and said ‘OK, we’re in,’ after he saw what it did for his dad.”
There are no chemicals needed?
“It just takes regular tap water. You can fill up a bath tub. The smaller, and the more confined area, the better because there is more concentration of these bubbles. You put one intake hose that suction cups down to the bottom that sucks the water into the machine and the machine does its magic. Out of the machine comes two other hoses with shower heads on the end of them, and the machine produces the water with microscopic bubbles about one-third the size of a red blood cell.”
How does it work?
“The bubbles are smaller than the glands, what are called the sebaceous glands on animals and a pore on us. But it is smaller than that. More importantly than that, it has a negative ionic charge to it. Anything on the skin has a positive charge, whether it is fat, oils, bacteria or fungus.”
So the machine changes the composition of the water?
“Yes. When the water comes out, it looks like milk. Within three minutes after you’ve turned the system off, you are back to clear water, again.”
What exactly is the machine doing to the water?
“It’s pumping oxygen into the water and forming the bubbles. It kind of gets scientific, but to be considered a microscopic bubble, you have to be between 0.2 and 0.25 microns. Now if you turn the bath tub faucet on, the bubbles that come up to the top are called macro bubbles. They have too much air in them and float at the top. If you produce a nano-bubble, it would be very dense and fall down to the bottom. So the real science is to produce a bubble that is between those two and is the right size to be able to get down into the sebaceous gland, or down to the pores. It is designed for skin problems. But when a dog has a skin problem, they are producing a lot of extra oils at the site, because it has irritated it because they are constantly licking it and as they are getting medicines put on it, it forms a crust on there. So the more medicine you put on and you get more dirt and everything else on it, it just forms a crust. So you’re not getting anything through there and now the skin can’t breathe, so the dog is constantly scratching and clawing and everything else. Because that is all positively charged material, and this is negatively charged, a positive and negative attract like a magnet. It pulls and lifts it off the skin. So when you put on a topical cream or ointment or oral medication, everything works so much better because now the skin can breathe, you’ve got all of the oils out that have a bacteria fungus, whatever the allergens are and now they’re going to fill in those oils again with fresh, clean oils.”
What is your role in this business?
“We started Thera-Clean, and we’re the manufacturer with our agreement with Japan. We have the rights to that patent. So we’re the only licensed regulated manufacturer and distributor of micro-bubble technology for veterinarians and groomers, and we also have some patents on the human side that we will be bringing in by next year.”
Where are these machines manufactured?
“In Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. And most of the parts are from the United States. It is U.S. and Canadian made with a couple small patented parts that we still buy from Japan. But the rest are North American made. The majority of parts come form the U.S.”
How are you reaching clients right now?
“Right now, we’re just hitting the trade show circuit. Every time we go to a trade show, we make 10 at a time; so every second trade show, we’re always sold out of the 10. So we haven’t had much of a chance to even getting around to show anyone a demo, because we haven’t had any units. We’re just doing commercial sales right now.”
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2526.
Job: Owner, Thera-Clean Inc. in Swansea
Outlook: “It looks like a milk bath, but you can see the negative ions coming off the water. It looks like steam, but it is not steaming hot. It’s really the negative ion charge coming off the water.”