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New uses, markets for gadget designed to cool hot flashes

On International Menopause Day, the company will offer discounted prices and donate a portion of proceeds to a women's charity

Women going through menopause have long embraced packages of frozen peas or cold compresses to cool down during a hot flash.

In 2015, Barrie's Steve and Patricia Copeland invented the Menopod, which is a portable device about the size of a computer mouse.

When charged (like your cellphone), you press a button that cools the gadget to 5 C. When placed on the back of the neck, body temperature drops in one-minute intervals.

Patricia Copeland says she urged her husband to come up with something to offer relief.

"I knew that with his 30 years as an international product design expert, Steve could find a way to assist his wife, three sisters and various female friends who were all going through menopause at the same time," she said. "While it is not a cure, it does offer immediate relief."

A Queen's University study found 79 per cent of women said they would purchase it. They also did some local trials.

Consumer Stephanie Kell rates the product highly. 

"It's a wonderful thing to carry in your purse when you are caught having a hot flash and need instant relief," she says. "It goes where you go."

In 2015, they took the portable device to television.

"We pitched it to the Dragon's Den and had offers from three of them for partnerships, but in the end decided to go it alone and opened an office in Barrie to do the design and distribution," Copeland says. "It's actually made in China."

With more than $2 million in annual sales, the Copelands are planning to sell in mainland China and Hong Kong by next year.

"Women all over the world have the same issues," she says. 

There could also be more expansion, according to Copeland.

"A lot of seniors are buying them because they have trouble handling hot weather," she said. "It wasn't designed for that, but would work. Athletes have also expressed interest. We are working on a different design for them."

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On Oct. 18, which is International Menopause Day, the company will offer discounted prices and donate a portion of proceeds to a women's charity.