Central Point woman took an unusual route to creating device to secure napping noggins.
A Central Point woman has invented a product for seasoned travelers who find it hard to sleep on airplanes — a headband that loops around the back of your seat and keeps your head from lolling around and ending up on the shoulder of your seat-mate.
Called the Nodstop, the cozy little device straps you in by the forehead and keeps your noggin upright, so you don't get off flights with a stiff neck, says inventor and marketer Jill Ehlers, who already has the invention on amazon.com and in local stores.
In her pursuit of professional trainings to perform a therapy known as "healing touch" on animals, Ehlers found herself flying back and forth across the country. She wasn't able to sleep on airplanes, mostly because of her head "flopping all over," she said.
The simple device comes with a pocket into which you can put essential oils (provided in the kit), such as lavender to make you sleep better, Valor for fear of flying and Di-Gize to help with upset stomach.
It comes with cards you pin to the head band, saying either "do not disturb" or "wake me when the drink cart comes," and has a little heat pack that can be activated for headaches.
Laura Winslow of Central Point, who has used the device, says, "It's very difficult for me to sleep on airplanes and I normally get neck pains. But this did very well, helping me sleep. I also used it to cover my eyes. I had no neck pain."
Ehlers wanted her product to be made in Oregon by Oregon people, helping money and jobs stay local, so she got Rockwest Training of Salem to do the manufacturing. The company also makes and silkscreens a travel bag that comes with it. Rockwest employs developmentally handicapped people.
The Nodstop, which got a positive review in USA Travel magazine in September, comes in fleece (for cold weather) at $29.95 or wicking polyester (for warm weather) at $34.95.
Ehlers says the company came into being from a series of flukes and seeming disasters, starting with her husband, Ken Ehlers, being diagnosed with prostate cancer. As detailed on the Nodstop Web site, www.nodstop.com, he started receiving healing touch treatments as part of his therapy, then Jill Ehlers got interested in the technique. She merged the technique with her personal love — animals.
Flying all over the country for trainings, she soon learned she can't sleep on airplanes.
"My head flops all over, I feel stupid and I always get neck aches," she said.
If the family-owned company does well, she wants to establish a plant in Central Point and specialize in the hiring of single moms.
"I've been one and I know how hard it is," she said, noting she'd have on-site daycare situated right in the middle of the manufacturing space.
Meanwhile, Ken Ehlers got treatment for his cancer, is doing much better, and the device, now patented, is starting to find its way onto shelves, such as Travel Essentials in Ashland and All About Oregon and Siskiyou Artisans in Medford.
John Darling is a writer in Ashland. E-mail him at email@example.com.