Mother-daughter duo in Florida have created a smart cooling and warming bracelet as relief for women experiencing symptoms of the menopause.
When Debbie Dickinson and Markea Dickinson-Frasier founded Thermaband in 2019, they were told by investors that their target audience was "niche" as "nobody will care about menopause.” However, they were undeterred and in Summer 2023 they will be launching their smart, battery-powered bracelet to relieve hot flushes and night sweats.
Thermaband uses similar technology to car seat heaters but in a much smaller form factor on the sensitive skin of the wrist. It monitors your body 24/7 to get to know your unique “normal” temperature so it can pick up on changes and automatically delivers cooling or heating. The Thermaband app also helps women to understand their symptoms such as blood pressure trends and HR by analysing key vitals and self-reported logs.
Co-founder Markea describes the current menopause cooling treatments on the market as “invasive, impractical or ineffective” and explained Thermband stands apart with automated technology which is particularly effective when women experience night sweats while sleeping.
When it comes to Thermaband, Markea believes “necessity is the mother of invention” as it inspired by her mother, and co-founder’s, experience with the menopause. “At 51, I had my first hot flush and was so unprepared. It felt like a personal inferno raging within, and I was frustrated by the lack of cooling relief solutions,” said Debbie. It was this desperation and Markea’s MBA at Yale School of Management which led to their partnership.
“I think it's incredibly important that women turn their lived experiences into technology”, said Markea. “Women know best about their experiences. These technological advances also serve as a means to educate the broader population on areas of opportunity within women's health, particularly areas that are often overlooked.”
They interviewed “hundreds of women” to hear their experience with the menopause and found Debbie was not alone. By 2030, the world population of menopausal and postmenopausal women is projected to increase to 1.2 billion and 83% of women feel menopause affects their day-to-day lives. Finally, Thermaband's research found that 93% of menopausal women are seeking a natural non-invasive tech solution for menopausal symptom relief.
“The menopause landscape has shifted drastically”, said Markea. “Menopause is now viewed as a natural season of life that affects half the population in the world. I feel menopause is now being viewed as an area worth investing in, focusing on, and innovating in to provide solutions to women.”
Thermaband was created and tested with a community of over 600 women, scientists and expert engineers. Markea and Debbie hope with Thermaband to “reframe midlife” by changing stigmas around menopause and give women their control back.