Jackie Stevens, owner of the Enchanted Herb Pantry, LLC, a natural products and health consulting company based in Loving, N.M., finds her job most rewarding when she can provide her clients with the most innovative all-natural remedies.

One therapeutic treatment especially enjoyed by her customers is the Detox-Energy Foot Spa. While this product was great for the feet, Jackie felt it should also be able to work the same way with hands, helping to remedy upper extremity issues. However, when attempting to do a hand spa, the amps were too high to keep hands in the water. Stevens needed assistance troubleshooting the spa unit so that it would work for both hands and feet, so she decided to pursue help from the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP).

SATOP provides free engineering assistance to small businesses with technical challenges through the expertise of the program’s Alliance Partners, which consist of more than 30 aerospace companies, universities and national laboratories involved in the U.S. Space Program. Stevens contacted Naomi Engelman, SATOP New Mexico Director, who paired her with an engineer at a national laboratory that is a SATOP Alliance Partner.

The engineer conducted several tests that allowed him to make recommendations regarding how to limit the current and improve the unit’s design. He provided Stevens with a detailed report that included information on the advantages and disadvantages of using specific electrodes and electrolytes.

“Based on the information I received, I am now able to manufacture a less expensive spa product that can be used for both feet and hands,” said Stevens. “The old spa electrode was made of stainless steel; however, we can now use graphite, which is less expensive and doesn’t break down like steel. And, I now increase the amps using baking soda instead of sea salt, which is also a money saver.”

“SATOP has once again helped a small business owner solve a problem and provide a solution that should grow the business,“ said Engelman. “Jackie now expects the Herb Pantry’s external sales will grow as a result of the refined design and her internal client base will also increase.”

Stevens said that the process of working with SATOP actually started as a joke. “I told a friend that I would need a rocket scientist to help me with this problem,” said Stevens. “My friend happened to know about SATOP and the rest is history. We each have our little niches in life -- mine is herbs and natural health and SATOP’s is science and engineering. It was great to see all this knowledge come together in a positive and productive way.” www.enchantedherbpantry.com