WellO2's developer Aulis Kärkkäinen explains why and how he developed a lung-strengthening steam breathing training device to improve his own well-being - and how thousands of others have since benefited from it.
It had passed on to me as an inheritance from one of my predecessors: a whimpering and breathtaking breath that creeped into my bed, especially during the dark hours of the winter night. I was afraid of suffocation. Therefore, one of the strongest memories of my childhood is related to breathing. At the time, in the 1950s, people were telling stories of lung diseases that ended up in a sanatorium.
By no means did I want to leave my home, so I tried to keep my breath away. Therefore, it was not investigated. Even living conditions taught at that time to adapt to small whining and other ailments. In the ski races, however, I was puzzled. I got off the start at a brisk pace, but right from the start I felt like I was running out of oxygen. I adapted to think I wasn’t very athletic. I therefore focused my efforts on thinking about people’s needs and related solutions. I went to school in the first grade for 2 weeks, so I graduated early, and at the age of 14 I slipped into working life.
Vigorous manual labor helped the helmsmen stay open, albeit at times a little. Now I think hard work saved me from choking on mucus and snot, since I’ve been a real mucus factory all my life.
As I then progressed from an entrepreneurial career to a more spiritual side, my body stopped defending me. Breathing problems started to build up and I was diagnosed with asthma. In the early 2000s, my breathing problems worsened with various medications. I became a major consumer of medicines, and my body rebelled. There were seizures, worsening insomnia and cardiac arrhythmias. I was thinking of solutions to start helping myself.
I had developed into a tough sauna man because I had already noticed as a child that breathing was easier in the sauna. I realized that steam and moisture are affecting the situation. Once I sought help for worsening shortness of breath from a health center emergency room, an experienced nurse gave me an empty bottle of medicine and a piece of tubing, urging her to blow into the bottle.
I found it relieving wheezing. Problem solving is my favorite species, so I started to think more about this experience and combined the two. I realized that a back-pressure blow could open the pathways to the bronchi, allowing the steam to travel better deep into problem areas.
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The efficiency of steam inhalation would be improved. One would only need to develop a device that would bring two good ways to work together.I made the first rudimentary prototype myself, and right after the first experiment I found that I had come up with a missing third loop at the same time, a resisting inhalation. As I breathed steam from the device through the choke, I opened the lungs with pressure, and helped the steam get deeper and deeper into the lungs.
I was convinced that the idea worked even after the first experiments of the prototype. I kept myself fit with the primitive Welloni for 4 years, when my brother and I sold our company called Lunawood to a private equity investor. I now delved more into the secrets of breathing and began refining my Wello. I later assembled a team with whom we developed the right prototype.
We defined it as a respiratory therapy device and named it WellO2. The journey from idea to commercial innovation is often very long. Countless design and manufacturing problems need to be solved until the product can be offered to consumers. WellO2 for consumer use is now complete.
It is internationally patented, and sales began in Finnish pharmacies in November 2016. I have been using my own Wello for over 15 years now, morning and evening for a few minutes. The lungs are working better than ever before, and before me, the usual cramps and arrhythmias have also diminished. The long-lost singing voice has brightened and sleep difficulties have been alleviated.
I still react very sensitively to various stimuli such as flowers, perfumes, textiles, airborne contaminants and so on. Not all possible exposures can always be predicted, so still from time to time whining and narrow breathing strikes. In this case, the blow values can fall by 20 to 50 percent. At home, I use Wello to rectify the situation. I blow a long calm blow into the device, which lasts me about 10-15 sec. I then gently draw my lungs full of warm steam through the device, which mixes the replacement air through a separate replacement opening.
After each breath-suction repetition, I breathe freely a few times before the next repetition. I find that with repetitions, my breathing capacity starts to increase, and I repeat this 5-10 times.