Over a century ago, a Trinidadian named Arabella Skinner, dubbed Mother Skinner by her family, prepared a home remedy that helped them recover quickly from sprains.
“Back in the islands, they didn’t have access to modern medicine [then],” explains her grandson, W. Caleb Williams. “She spent her life developing remedies for curing different ailments.”
Today Williams has reformulated the remedy as an over-the-counter treatment. He is marketing it as RelieveIt, a brand by his Brandon-based company, SprainGo.
The University of South Florida has accepted the company into its Tampa Bay Technology Incubator. “While this particular remedy has been used for over a century, it’s important that we have clinical and empirical data to support our claims,” Williams says. “We’re seeking to run a clinical study to provide evidence.”
SprainGo currently sells: SprainGo, a gel packaged with an adhesive bandage; RelieveIt, for soreness; and RelieveIt Patch, a gel patch. A more potent version, SprainGo Med, is being developed for urgent care centers, chiropractors, physical and massage therapists and others. It is expected to be available in March. Feet Sore No More Foot Spray is slated for release in April.
In addition to help with product testing, Williams is looking to USF to provide mentoring, a marketing intern, and contacts to raise capital as the company grows.
“One of the things that we do with our affiliate companies is to help them make connections at USF departments and with faculty that have common interests with them,” says Laurie Sullivan, Program Coordinator for USF Connect, which governs USF’s incubators.
Skinners’ original formula has been augmented with an extract of Arnica Montana, a medicinal plant recognized as an inflammatory for some 2,000 years, Williams says.
“Our formula is natural and was registered with the FDA as a natural homeopathic product,” he says.
Although it was originally used on sprains and strains to reduce swelling overnight, Williams has found the product also provides relief for minor burns, muscle aches, fatigue, soreness, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
He believes his treatment can halve the number of sick days required after an injury. “We think we have the product that can get those people back to work much faster,” he says.
The formula has a mild scent compared to other products containing camphor, menthol or caprisin, which distract pain suffers for a short while with a sensation of hot or cold. “There’s no sensation with our RelieveIt,” he says.