Archive for the ‘The story’ Category

Why do we embrocate?

In How to, The story on November 5, 2009 at 11:58 am



Why do we embrocate?

The reasons we embrocate vary from the aesthetic to the scientific.

That’s right, there is actually science behind our ingredient choices. And we aren’t talking about Dr. Google/Wikipedia science here either.

The primary active ingredient of all three strengths of Northwest Knee Warmers is of course capsaicin oleoresin. This is an extract made from chili peppers and it gives our embrocation its heat. But that’s not all it does.

Capsaicin is also an analgesic. That is, it reduces the perception of pain. This is an effect that accumulates with regular use. Studies have shown that pain perception from arthritis continues to decrease over a 2 week period of daily application.

Other studies have shown that the application of capsaicin to the skin covering a muscle can reduce the pain perception of that muscle. If you’re a geek like us, you will enjoy this technical study here, and an abstract here.

A translation of those studies boils down to a fairly simple concept. Each type of sensation we detect is passed from the skin to the brain by a specialized nerve. We have vibration-sensing nerves, temperature-sensing nerves, touch-sensing nerves, pain-sensing nerves, and so on.

Our pain-sensing nerves use a chemical substance to relay the message of pain to the brain. That substance is called “substance P”. If our pain nerves are strongly stimulated over time, they start to run out of substance P, and are less able to relay the message of pain. Capsaicin stimulates our pain-sensing nerves, but one of the most interesting characteristics of capsaicin is that unlike ginger or even garlic in high concentrations, it does not cause tissue damage via chemical burn. So even though you feel the burn, you aren’t actually doing any damage. Capsaicin’s ability to deplete substance P is the reason we hear from users of Northwest Knee Warmers that when they embrocate before a hard workout or race, they experience much less fatigue than usual afterwards. We haven’t been able to find any corroborating research for this, but it is something we hear often.

Another interesting point is that the body does not build up a tolerance for this effect. That is, using it frequently does not diminish the pain-relieving effect. But one thing that the body can develop a tolerance for is the warm sensation. We have a feeling that this is part of the reason there is such a strong demand for our “Maximum” strength from the long-time embrocation users around Portland. (You know who you are.) The “warmth tolerance” builds up with multiple daily uses, not the more typical 3-4 uses a week, and if application is discontinued for a few days, the tolerance wears off.

We are kept awake at night thinking about how to make the best embrocation possible. Not just an embrocation that doesn’t offend your significant other’s sense of smell (very important), not just an embrocation that feels like butter, and uses the purest all natural ingredients out there, but an embrocation that has a body of science behind it. We think we’re well on our way.



In Git some!, The story on October 14, 2009 at 10:07 am
Bee's wax in suspension

Bees' wax in suspension

We’ve taken the feedback we received from ‘cross racers, roadies, and even a runner or two, tweaked our recipe a bit and put together our first batch of embro’ for sale! But we’ve been so busy putting the batches of Northwest Knee Warmers together that we haven’t been able to finish up the website. In the meanwhile, if you want some–and you know you do–send us an email and we’ll tell you how you can get a tin of your very own via Paypal.

We are offering an introductory special of $15 for online purchases of our handsome 4 fl. ounce tin.  The special will last only until midnight Saturday night.  Shipping is $5, but if you’ll be at the Cross Crusade at Sherwood on Sunday, we can arrange a drop off there.  We’ll be there all day.  We’ll also be at the Psycho Cross race registration table most of the day, so find us for a full sized tin, or a sample (while supplies last).

We are also excited to announce that Josh at Cyclo-Sportif will have Medium Warmth for sale at Sherwood, as well as some samples.  Stop by if you’d like to try some first. Pick up one of his fantastic waffles while you’re there!

Medium Warmth

Medium Warmth

Well, what do you think?

In Git some!, The story on October 4, 2009 at 11:57 am



Tell us what you do and don’t like about your sample of “mild warmth” Northwest Knee Warmers embrocation!  We had a blast at Alpenrose today and appreciate all the encouragement and positive feedback we’ve received so far.

Samples done!

In The story on October 3, 2009 at 11:57 am
raw materials

raw materials

We rolled up our sleeves and churned out a big batch of samples yesterday.  We are pretty satisfied with the results, but the buck doesn’t stop with us….

The feedback we’re asking for with this batch will help us make the best embrocation possible, and the final recipe will be truly a product of the vibrant Oregon cycling community.

Here are our basic criteria for a great embrocation:

1) A great embrocation enchants you from the first waft of its aroma.  Its scent should evoke warmth, but not be too medicinal.

2) A great embrocation is easy to apply evenly and provides that PRO shine.

3) A great embrocation stays on through rain or shine, and will provide warmth for the duration of your ride–whether it’s a spin on the Springwater or an epic up (and down) Larch Mountain.

4) A great embrocation is not the gift that keeps on giving–it is simple to wash off.

5) A great embrocation not only warms your legs, but also provides nourishment (not just moisture).

We haven’t found any product that meets all the above criteria, which is why we were inspired to create our own.  We think we have a great embrocation on our hands (or legs) here, but we’re asking y’all to be the final judge.  Test is out and let us know!

We’re going to have 4 oz tins at Rainier for sale.  We want to give a little back with the first round, so we’re offering them at a discounted rate of $15, but the final cost will be $18.95 after the first batch is sold out.  Watch for our banner!

calendula oil

calendula oil

It’s on the way!

In The story on September 23, 2009 at 11:36 pm

very first finished batch

very first finished batch

Welcome to the Northwest Knee Warmers blog!  After working out and testing a killer recipe and putting the wheels in motion for production, we are proud to introduce you to a new, all natural, embrocation product–designed by a naturopathic physician.

We worked hard to find and use the best ingredients possible.  The bulk of our ingredients are sourced domestically, as close to home as possible, and all are natural.  We chose an ingredient based not only on it’s area of origin, but its process of manufacture.

Whenever possible, we chose materials that have been either expeller or cold pressed or steam distilled, avoiding substances that have been solvent extracted whenever possible.  Only one ingredient in our product has been solvent extracted because it has been impossible to find it otherwise.

We make the calendula extract ourselves from whole calendula flowers, and put the whole thing together in small batches right here in Oregon.