PURETE generates ultrafine bubbles so small they are invisible to the eye, yet capable of cleansing and removing impurities from the body simply by soaking—eliminating the need for soap or scrubbing. Scrub-free bathing is incredibly gentle on users’ skin, and also greatly reduces the physical and time demands placed on caregivers.
The PURETE Ultra Fine Bubble Generator can be simply submerged in the tub to remove impurities from the entire body. The challenge was figuring out how to actually test and evaluate its cleansing power. After a process of trial and error that included reviewing the scientific evidence in the academic literature and creating mock impurities at Future Care Lab in Japan to actually test them in the tub, the team was able to gather the insights it needed to respond to frontline concerns and move towards officially introducing the product.
the Development Company
Our company had always had an interest in ultrafine bubble technologies, and this project got its start when we used our patented technology to establish a method for creating them. When we thought about the question of how to best utilize this technology, we came up with the idea of helping with bathing at nursing care facilities. From there, the PURETE product was born.
After we had brought PURETE to Future Care Lab in Japan (“the Lab”) for testing and evaluation, it was time to actually verify it at nursing care sites. But the pandemic prevented us from physically visiting those sites, and we were worried about having to explain the product remotely. Would the frontline members understand how to use it? Happily though, the whole process ended up going smoothly thanks to careful follow-up by the Lab. The Lab also verified the product in advance by creating its own mock impurities, reviewing scientific evidence on ultrafine bubbles in the literature, and otherwise making sure that no stone was left unturned during the testing and evaluation process. Once these preliminary evaluations were complete, the Lab selected the right trial facility based on criteria that predicted benefits from introducing the product there. The two-stage evaluation that led to the on-site testing was fantastic, and an advantage that seems unique to the Lab’s Sompo Group.
About two and a half years after we started selling PURETE, we were putting almost a hundred units in nursing care facilities each year. The trend has in part been propelled by the product’s ability to address personnel shortages during the pandemic and the desire to reduce the number and duration of direct contacts to prevent contagion. Going forward, we hope to promote even more widespread use of PURETE—to the point that scrub-free bathing is simply the norm at nursing care sites. We will continue working to develop and make commercially available social services products other than PURETE with the goal of crafting solutions that delight both users at nursing care facilities and caregivers alike.
Future Care Lab in Japan
Bathing at nursing care facilities often involves placing residents who cannot bathe themselves on a stretcher and then putting them in a special tub. The caregiver then washes the user’s body and hair as they lay on the stretcher. The process involves a risk of user falls, while the washing itself involves friction and soap prone to irritating delicate skin. It’s also a time-consuming process done in teams of two caregivers, making it physically and psychologically demanding as well. When learned about PURETE at a seminar, we though that it might be able to resolve some of these issues.
PURETE technology removes impurities from the body using ultrafine bubbles—simply by submerging it in the tub. But we had to test and evaluate it in the Lab to make sure that it really could cleanse without scrubbing. We created mock impurities using the same components in skin oil and had Lab staff members actually compare the PURETE to a regular shower and regular bath—and found that the product compared favorably with the cleansing power of traditional bathing methods. We also reviewed the scientific literature on the cleansing action of ultrafine bubbles while consulting with academic experts and bathroom manufacturers to get additional insights. We struggled to come up with the best way to evaluate the product, but thanks to our experiences, I think we were able to respond to frontline concerns with logical and objective explanations.
PURETE has now been introduced in multiple facilities, and the development company makes itself available to flexibly respond to any concerns via remote meetings and other means. Because this is a product that is well-suited to anyone, we expect to roll it out to a large number of facilities going forward. In the future, we hope to come up with an even smaller, more lightweight design that can be carried around to individual baths—making it even more useful.
Interviews based on information current as of September 2021.