This month we were very pleased to see one of our partners, Gravity Solutions, receive strong support in an article, 911 call leads to new reflux/GERD solution, in one of the top peer-reviewed publications for Gastroenterologists, “Practical Gastroenterology.” We gave Kelli Minson, founder and CEO of Gravity Solutions, a call to congratulate her and she shared with us the story of how her husband’s health scare led to the invention of the Gravity 1st Elevated Sleep System for GERD sufferers.
It started with a call to 911
Several years ago Dr. Matt Minson, a Houston physician, woke his wife, Kelli, and held up a piece of paper with the words, “Call 911.” He was unable to speak and he was suffocating. Because her husband was a physician and first responder, her first thought was, “Is this a drill?” It was anything but…
Matt held up a piece of paper with the words he had just written: “Call 911”
As she dialed the phone, Matt calmly jotted down a quick medical history for the paramedics in the event that he might be unconscious when they arrived. Once in the emergency room the doctor informed them that Matt’s condition was an inflamed larynx, caused by Silent Reflux Disease. Both Matt and Kelli were shocked since he had never experienced any of the typical signs or symptoms of reflux until this near fatal episode. According to the emergency doctor, Matt’s condition was so severe, it was a wonder he hadn’t died.
In addition to prescription medication, the physician directed that Matt absolutely had to sleep with his head elevated 6 to 9 inches above his feet. Kelli experimented with everything trying to achieve that sleep position – piled pillows, bolstering wedges, a recliner – but nothing allowed Kelli’s husband to achieve the rest he so desperately needed to feel better.
A prototype is born
As she experimented, Kelli eventually came up with the prototype for what was to become the Gravity 1st Elevated Sleep System. Her first prototype was constructed from a rolled up rug with two metal shelves placed on an incline with an inflatable camping mattress. This device elevated Matt to the recommended height and allowed him to sleep in any position, unlike short foam wedges. Matt slept here for 8 weeks, letting his esophagus heal from the constant assault from stomach acid that he used to experience while sleeping on a flat surface. Although it looks funny, it worked! It was just the right incline and Matt could sleep symptom free.
“Every morning while Matt was upstairs getting ready for work, I would sit in the kitchen looking at my incline sleeping arrangement in the living room floor. I kept thinking to myself “if that inflatable mattress were king-sized and in the shape like a wedge, we could just put it on top of our own bed.” As Kelli learned more about GERD, she realized that elevation therapy was critical to recovery and long-term health. A February 2008 White Paper on reflux disease by Johns Hopkins University convinced her that this therapy was not only effective, but critical for seriously ill patient with GERD. In that report, researchers looked at the results of 100 studies conducted on various lifestyle measures for GERD, and only losing weight and elevating the head of the bed showed a clear benefit in well-designed studies.
Determined to help others, Kelli began to research how to develop her idea into a product to meet this critical need. She took the idea from paper to product and The Gravity1st ™ Elevated Sleep System was born. Kelli’s first patent issued a little more than a year later.
The mattress allows the linear drop necessary for anyone who requires the aid of gravity to rest and allows him or her to sleep on their back, side, or stomach.
Consider elevating your head when you sleep to relieve reflux symptoms
As the founder and CEO of Gravity Solutions, LLC, Kelli has worked tirelessly trying to educate people about the dangers of heartburn, reflux, and esophageal cancer. “It’s a big job and I never imagined that a trip to the emergency room would turn into a business or that I would be starting a second career at the age of 51, but here I am. I love hearing from people who have tried Gravity1st and I enjoy knowing that we have helped to improve their lives.”
RefluxMD is pleased to be working with Kelli and the Gravity1st team. Elevation therapy is highly recommended by RefluxMD’s medical advisors and we encourage all of our members to consider head elevation as part of a long-term treatment plan to find relief for reflux symptoms and a healthy, happy life.