Grand Rapids athlete invents warming product for cold weather runners, cyclists

Deborah Johnson Wood

Dan Socie is an all-around guy – a freelance graphics and web designer by trade, and an amateur endurance athlete by hobby. And now he's an inventor.

Socie has invented an embrocation for use by runners and cyclists to warm up their muscles before they run outside in cold weather.

An embrocation is a warming liniment that's applied topically. Socie's embrocation consists of shea butter, capsaicin, black pepper and menthol. He and his business partner Geoff Kuyper are marketing it under the brand and business name Soigneur (swan-yer).

"Soigneur is French for 'an assistant,'" Socie says. "In professional cycling, a soigneur is an assistant that gets water, arranges for or does massage therapy, gets the food, and is basically the athlete's personal assistant. I wanted to make a product to take the soigneur role for amateur athletes."

Socie says cyclists who bike in cold weather have used European embrocations, but he plans to market his product to runners and skiers as well. He says athletes apply the embrocation to their legs before running, biking or skiing. The shea butter keeps the product on the skin, and body heat activates the capsaicin that warms the skin. That warmth penetrates to the muscles.

"Your legs are warm and it's nicer to go out in the cold with warm legs," Socie says. "It enhances the experience. When you go for a run or ride in the cold weather, it takes 20 minutes, half an hour to warm up. This product speeds up that process and you can get to the more enjoyable part of your workout sooner."

Socie says he spent the past year working with a Scottsdale, Ariz. laboratory and manufacturer to develop the product.

The embrocation is available for advance order online at www.soigneur.net and will begin shipping at the end of February. A launch party to introduce the product is planned for February 24 at Richard App Gallery from 6 to 10 p.m.

Source: Dan Socie, Soigneur

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com. Have a development news tip for Rapid Growth? Contact us at info@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

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