June 27, 2022

59 - Dale Miller Invented Chin-up Strips

59 - Dale Miller Invented Chin-up Strips

In This Episode Dale Miller Shares:
That he was a successful lawyer before inventing Chin-Up Strips.
His wife had always complained about his snoring but it wasn't until he had a case where a man had a fatal accident that he recognized that his diffi...

In This Episode Dale Miller Shares:


That he was a successful lawyer before inventing Chin-Up Strips.


His wife had always complained about his snoring but it wasn't until he had a case where a man had a fatal accident that he recognized that his difficulty sleeping could be deadly.


He had a Sleep study done and it confirmed that he had Sleep Apnea.  He was prescribed a CPAP machine which he said changed his life but he still had a problem with mouth breathing at night.  His doctor told him that if he could "find a comfortable solution to having your mouth breathing at night probably you would sell millions" so that is what he set out to do.


Dale invented Chinup-Strips which are simple medical tape that you simply put on before you go to bed to prevent mouth breathing with your CPAP device.  You no longer have dry mouth, lower CPAP pressure, and you can use the little nasal pillows Instead of having to wear a big mask.


Dale credits growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin for his can-do attitude.


Dale was surprised at the amount of opposition from the Medical devices and ENT community regarding his invention.


Selling Chin-Up Strips and making a huge difference in his customer's sleep has been immensely satisfying for Dale.


Dale advises people to pay attention to your sleep patterns, pay attention that you're dreaming. Pay attention that you're not mouth breathing and snoring. If you are, get medial help!


To learn more about Chin-Up Strips, visit Chin-Up Strip (chinupstrip.com)

Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss it or any other episodes.


Greg Mills: Our guest today was a 50 year old attorney. When he finally sought medical help. Over the years, his wife had observed him quit breathing multiple times at night, he would snore loudly and wake up tired and congested until he finally saw a doctor who gave him a sleep study. The sleep study revealed that he was an nocturnal mouth breather with sleep apnea, who would stop breathing 10 seconds or longer some 22 times an hour.

Greg Mills: The doctor prescribed C P a P therapy, which changed his life, but he still suffered from dry mouth and jaw pain due to having to wear a chin strap at night. This led to him inventing the chinup strip to keep his mouth closed at night. Just a few years later, he left his job as an attorney to bring chin up strips to the masses.

Greg Mills: And hasn't looked back since. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife of 58 years, Virginia and has four children and eight grandchildren without further ado, Dale Miller.

Dale Miller: Hello, how you doing Greg? Doing well,

Greg Mills: now, Dale, can you take a few moments and fill in the gaps from that intro and bring us up to speed with what's going on in your world today?

Dale Miller: Sure. Being a mouth breather one of the. Problems that concerned me is I snored a lot and it got to the point where, when I went on golf trips with my buddies, I had to have my own room. Nobody would share a room with me. So that started me thinking, well, I gotta do something about this.

Dale Miller: Plus I have a registered nurse for a wonderful wife and she keeps telling me that I stop breathing at night and after. 40 years of that, . I decided I'd better get sleep study done. This was after I had been deposing witnesses who survived drivers who fell asleep at the wheel during the day.

Dale Miller: Cross center line and killed people. One killed himself. And when I'm deposing survivors, surviving spouse of the one driver talking about his sleep pattern and why would he fall asleep in the middle of the day and cross the center line, driving a car? And she said, well, he fall asleep. Well often does he stop breathing at night and a loud snore and, and my Gul.

Dale Miller: That's what my wife is telling me. So that's when I went home and said, I can finally handle the truth. You know, like many of us males, we don't handle the truth real well about ourselves. And We scheduled a sleep study at the Marshfield clinic in Wisconsin. And sure enough, I had serious sleep apnea, stop breathing, like you said, 22 times an hour.

Dale Miller: And the mouth breathing was the primary cause and C P a P was prescribed, which I thought really helped me. But along with that chin strap that went around my chin and up in my head. It jammed my teeth together at night while sleeping. And then that was difficult to sleep with. And then the jaw muscles would fight that jaw pain.

Dale Miller: So I went back to the doctor and said, man, we gotta do something about this. Cuz I really think this C P a helps me. And he said, well, if you could find a comfortable solution to having your mouth breathing at night probably you would sell millions of. So this attorney that grew up on a farm in Wisconsin with an RN wife said we could figure something like that out.

Dale Miller: And of course we connected with Dr. Cohen who was the person that launched the breed right. Nasal strips. So he was very helpful in helping us deal with 3m. Which provides the medical tape that we needed to have die cut into chinup strips. And the chinup strips are simple medical tape that you simply put on before you go to bed before you put your C P a on and just try, put 'em on like that, and then put your seatbelt on and you no longer have dry mouth, lower pressure, and you can use the little nasal pillows.

Dale Miller: Instead of have a big mask. So that was awesome. And when I tried it out, I thought, wow, this'll work. We tried different models, of course. And somewhere we were trying to keep the mouth closed the lips together, but we found you had to have the lips apart. So if you coughed at night you would expel the air.

Dale Miller: It wouldn't back blast any your lungs like it wouldn't otherwise do, or you can also have difficulty choking if something in your stomach coughed up and. We wanted to stay away from having the mouth taped. All of the doctors never recommend taping your mouth shut. During sleep, it's a dangerous condition and uncomfortable.

Dale Miller: And if you do cough at night with your mouth, shut it back, blasts the air into your lungs and it wakes you up. That's what I found. And I said, well, this wouldn't be very good. So we had to develop something that would go under. The bottom lip, be U shaped and be easy to apply easy to make. And from a supplier like 3m medical grade adhesive tape they have tons of it.

Dale Miller: So that's how we got this whole thing.

Greg Mills: Now, did you come from an entrepreneurial or inventor's background at all? Did anybody in your family while you were growing up invent anything?

Dale Miller: Well, growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, you have to invent a lot of things to make everything work.

Dale Miller: So growing up in the fifties and sixties before there was a lot of great technology. You had to be innovative. And I think that's where I got it from how to figure out how to do this, how to do that. There must be a better way with always my thinking. There must be a better way to handle this situation.

Dale Miller: That's part of it, I think. Other than that we never had any inventions in our family or history of my family that I know of. None where we would go and get a patent on and get a FDA to clear it for sale in a mass market.

Greg Mills: they say that necessity is the mother of invention.

Greg Mills: When you were coming up with the idea for chin ups trips were you always considering adhesives or was there any other technology that you considered. And how many times did you have to iterate

Dale Miller: having discussed the issue with Dr. Cohen who had developed that breath?

Dale Miller: Right. Strip he recommended the adhesive method and that it was easy to get a large supply easy to make the strip so that it would. Be inexpensive and people would be able to have it readily available. we basically stayed with the adhesive strip. The key was we couldn't use anything that would jam the teeth together, cuz we all already had those chin straps do that.

Dale Miller: We just had to have , a strip that would hold that bottom lip up in position. Against the upper lip and then the bottom jaw drops just a little after you apply it. So there's a comfort space between the upper and lower teeth, and that allows you to sleep comfortably. Also in the chin strap , it would also require the big mask and.

Dale Miller: All that paraphernalia that I have to wear. I wanted to keep it simple and that's what we did with the chinup strip. We had different models of the chinup strips , but we wanted to stay away from having the product that taped to the lips. Night after night, there are some products out there now that do that.

Dale Miller: I can't conceive of having an adhesive tape on my lips every night would be eventually uncomfortable. And we wanted to stay under and around the mouth just to make it comfortable.

Greg Mills: Now, at what point did you get a patent on this? Did you get one before you approached?

Greg Mills: Dan. With free the ride I kind of wonder why he didn't jump on that.

Dale Miller: Well, I think he saw it as a benefit to work together because we did sleep studies with the chinup and the breathe.

Dale Miller: Right. And that was really effective. I mean that to stop snoring, if you can open the nasal capacity and close the mouth. Wow. That combination worked well, and we did sleep studies together regarding that combination at the university of Kentucky hospital. And. The conclusion was, it was outstanding that combination, and it also helped people that couldn't use C a P.

Dale Miller: There are a number of people that just don't tolerate C a P and the chin up strip. And the breed right. Strip is a comfortable alternative. Although I have to say, when we went to the FDA. With that idea they called the national meeting of C P companies and ENT doctors and we were invading their turf and it became quite political.

Dale Miller: Even though we had pretty clear evidence that in most cases, People that are prescribed a C P a P machine within six months, 60% of those C a P machines are in the closet because of the mouth breathing, dry mouth big, full face masks. And it's very uncomfortable for a lot of people. So we said we have an alternative for those people.

Dale Miller: But the answer was too much opposition and the conclusion they drew of course, and I was not real uncomfortable with it because we already had the sleep medicine people at that 200 four, we had the people that using C P a P already using our chinup strip, but the breath, right, people wanted to get more into the sleep medicine market.

Dale Miller: They were in the snoring market and the sports market. So that's why they joined with us to make that effort. It was kind of an interesting discovery though, from my point of view, as a practicing attorney and a trial lawyer for a lot of years, that really what had came down to issues for the benefit of the health of people, politics entered.

Dale Miller: Even at the FDA level that they bowed to pressure. And then they came up with saying, well, this is an over the counter product, we'll approve it, but we're not going to approve it for a medical

Dale Miller: condition. You need a doctor involved. So if this is an over the counter product sleep apnea, being a medical condition, therefore we won't allow a clearance or approval for sleep apnea of the combination of breath. Right. And chin up because they're both over the counter products and I can understand that philosophy, but that didn't.

Dale Miller: Consider the 40% of people that put their C P a P machines in the closet and still had to sleep apnea with no treatment alternative. They could have done a better job there for those people because it just would have helped. And that was the conclusion of the doctor that did the sleep study, that this is a great alternative for people that cannot tolerate sleep a so we had to live with that, but my relationship with.

Dale Miller: Has gone in a lot of directions that I never expected it to go, but that's been a good ride. I tell people I can help your situation in one day with my chinup trip where practicing law, it might take me months and years. So from a rewarding standpoint, This business has been very rewarding for me.

Dale Miller: I have more energy at 79 than I had at 55 when I was suffering at sleep issues. And I thank those sleep medicine, people for all the development they've had. That helps us understand the issue of sleep and how we can deal with the uh, definitely serious condition of sleep apnea. And I'm convinced that my father died in his sleep of sleep apnea when he was 65, a loud snore small breather died in asleep at 65, 19 83.

Dale Miller: Very little was known about sleep apnea back then. And that was always kind of in the back of my mind. And I better make sure cuz I had similar symptoms make sure that I deal with that issue. And fortunately the technology had progressed where you and I can benefit from that technology and live into our senior years with a more active.

Greg Mills: Now you obviously were a successful attorney and you could have gone on practicing law. You chose to walk away. How far along were you with chin up strips. And did you ever consider selling them out to a larger company?

Dale Miller: We have looked into that.

Dale Miller: It's a family type business. My son is involved in the business and he's 45 and he's the computer genius. And and we have a couple of family, people that are investors.

Dale Miller: when one retires you still have to have something to do, you have to have something every day that'll make you feel like you've accomplished something or that you're doing something. For yourself or others, but not only yourself.

Dale Miller: I love to play golf, but playing golf on every day without something else going on in my life would really be boring. So I'm probably gonna stay with this. I have many customers that I've been serving now over 20 years and some of them call me and. You know, we sell some of these chinup strips in 500 count rolls, which is a really a good buy for them.

Dale Miller: And this fellow called and he said I want four rolls. That's 2000 chinup strips. And I said, he sounded elderly to me, been already buying for 15 years. And I said, how old are you? And he said, 82. And I said, what? You're 82. And you. 2000 chin up strips. He said, you damn right. And I'm gonna make sure I live long enough to use every one of them.

Dale Miller: And I want you to be there when I reorder. So I had to promise him, I was still be around after 2000 strips. What's that five years. And, but I would be here. I guarantee you I'll be here to process the order again. It's so positive when you deal with elderly folks in their sixties, seventies, and eighties, and they're active and breathing properly and sleeping well.

Dale Miller: I mean, it is very rewarding. I would have to say, and without a lot of stress, you know, when I was a trial lawyer, that's a great deal of stress. Don't get me wrong. Final argument to a jury. Greg is the top of the mountain for a lawyer. And really, I love that experience, but that has a way of affecting your health after a number of years.

Dale Miller: And I had a doctor tell me when I was in my mid fifties, that if. I kept up that schedule that I might not make it to 65 because it's high blood pressure, and it's stressful. And when we're younger, we can handle that and we can manage it. You can do that mentally too, as you're older, but your body doesn't handle it as.

Dale Miller: As we age. And so this has been a godsend for me. If I had continued practicing law, I probably would've made more money. But I wouldn't have felt as rewarded personally as we are now because I've started something here. That'll go on long after I'm gone and it'll help millions of people. We've sold over 10 million of these chinup strip.

Dale Miller: Worldwide ship hundreds of thousands to Japan every year United Kingdom. It's on Amazon and a lot of medical supply companies are reselling it for us. And we're really helping a lot of people our motto is we simply help the world sleep, Greg. And that's kind of my relationship with S sleep plus my sweet wife of 58 years this year is still sleeping in the same bedroom with me.

Dale Miller: If I'd have kept snoring, I mean like many couples, one of them has to go to another room and let me tell you the rest of that story. Practicing law for 10 years, I did divorce work. And it was surprising after the divorce was over. I would usually ask woman or a man, what started all of this?

Dale Miller: And oftentimes the comment would be he or she, and sometimes women snored so bad that we separated bedrooms. And pretty soon one of us had a relationship with another person. They lost their intimacy. It was interesting. And I thought, wow, that's an unusual result because someone snored. But when you think about it, if your partner can't sleep alongside of you and you go to another room, you've now lost that intimate relationship.

Dale Miller: And somehow we humans. Seek out intimate relationships of both the opposite sex and that's what brings on divorces. That was another reason I went and got a sleep study done. When I learned that from people I was really astonished by , that comment and it wasn't an unusual comment.

Dale Miller: Once they lost that intimacy because of snoring and separating bedrooms, their marriage became more in danger of disillusion. So that makes sense. A word to the wife on that male, like me, that can't handle the truth of snoring and stopping breathing.

Dale Miller: It's not just for yourself. that you need to pay attention, but it's for the person that's also sleeping in the same bed with you. It's their health and their love and affection for you. That's important.

Greg Mills: With the chin up strips. Are you manufacturing them and distributing them yourself? I realize that. There are 3m adhesives, but you're obviously doing some dye cutting. And I'm assuming you're doing the distribution. In-house or how's that work?

Greg Mills: Yes.

Dale Miller: We have 3m converters that dye cut the chinup strips and package 'em for us in 30 count packs. And then they ship 'em to us and we distribute them from our location, except for the large orders out of the country. Those go out in thousand count rolls. And cuz they're all on a liner, so that they can roll up and be on thousand count rolls and they get shipped out directly from the 3m converters around the country.

Greg Mills: Did you ever try to license your idea for chin up strips?

Dale Miller: No, we didn't. We were doing pretty well on our own and we just decided to keep going as we were. We also looked at having the chin up strips be in large brick and mortar stores and We looked at that. And we did have a relationship with Walgreens for a while, was it was online on, on their store and in their store.

Dale Miller: But then they discontinued the online side of it. And our business is mainly an online business, our main benefit, and for all young inventors or old, over 40 inventors. The internet is your real source to making an invention sell. That has really been a key thing in our business as it has been like for a company like Amazon, I mean, the guy just started selling books.

Dale Miller: Out of a basement, in 1995 and look where the internet has taken him. None of us expect to get to that level, but if you have an idea as an invention or any entrepreneur idea, put it on the internet somewhere and find out if somebody will buy it. And it's a good way to test the product.

Dale Miller: It's. Important of course, to do a patent search to to find out if somebody already has the idea or do a patent search just to find out if you have. An idea or a item that can be patented and go that route. There are provisional patents now that you can apply for that are inexpensive, and then you put it on the internet and go with it.

Dale Miller: Set up a website with Shopify or whatever, and do some email market. To people that might be interested. It's just amazing because we are becoming a culture, a society that buys online probably more than we buy in store nowadays. So that's my story in that arena that I would encourage anybody to just do.

Greg Mills: Did you ever try to go on shark tank or any other shows like that to showcase chin up strips?

Dale Miller: We considered that and decided against that also because we probably would lose control of the business. That was our concern that we, they might invest a great deal of money and there was no proof that it would really be great. And there are competitors that have gone to shark tank and have had investors. And maybe they're doing well, but we wanted to keep the business pretty much in house and keep it for my family as long as we could sell the product and make it. And we don't need.

Dale Miller: A big warehouse. You know, we have a home office. It can be done in house and we're probably gonna stay that way. The concern we had before with going into the stores was if the product doesn't sell fast enough in stores, like Walmart was willing to put it in 3000 stores, but

Dale Miller: it had to sell two or four packs a week. If it doesn't sell, you gotta take all that inventory back. And what do you do with that much inventory? First of all, you gotta buy it, and so the risk is you could go and broke just by having all that inventory. And it all comes back to you.

Dale Miller: So you have to be careful with that risk. That's what's so beautiful about the internet is you can have minimal inventory and develop inventory according to your sales. Now there are people that might disagree with me, but if they have a lot of capital, that's the key. If you can get somebody to invest a million dollars in your project, We're talking in a different story.

Dale Miller: You might wanna have it in stores we've had it in as seen on TV. We've done that. So it's just a matter of having people know about your idea and the media nowadays has a lot of opportunities for us to do that as small entrepreneurs inventors. That's my take on that.

Greg Mills: All right, let's get ready to wrap this up. Is there a book that you recommend to move someone to, to start their invention in, to research their invention?

Dale Miller: There's a great book out now about that by James nester called breath. It's on Amazon. It's about five bucks, but everyone should read that because his conclusion, and I would agree with him, your life expectancy and health depends more on your breathing. Then it does on your exercise or your diet that you have to maintain nasal breath.

Dale Miller: As many hours a day as you can, and be conscious about it because it involves your ability to sleep correctly. The nasal passages have the olfactory nerve in them. And that regulates our breathing during sleep well, if your breathing's all over the place. and you stop breathing and you start breathing we have five different levels of sleep and we have to get down to four and five in sleep.

Dale Miller: We have to get into Delta, which is number four, which is the feel good sleep. And number five, which is REM where we dream. And there were a number of years. I recall. I never dreamed. And now I make sure I have a dream every night because I have my C P a and chin Upson. And I'm so happy when I have the dream, even if it's a bad one, because in order for me to have a dream I'm deep in sleep and that's really good for me.

Dale Miller: So if I say to anybody out there, if you are one that rarely dreams, you better see someone in sleep medicine very soon.

Greg Mills: Now, normally I ask if there's a piece of software or app that you find indispensable in your business, but I think for the purpose of this interview, is there an app or software that you find that's helpful with sleep?

Dale Miller: Well, it would be our website, number one, chinup strip.com. That would be the place to go. And we have a resource page that gives a lot of information about sleep. In fact, we're now offering a free trial pack. To people in the United States, free shipping also free trial pack. It just have to put down your information regarding your address and phone number and email.

Dale Miller: And then we'll send you a free trial pack . You have all three different types to try and. That's one way of us trying to get the strips out there to people that might wanna try them and not have any cost to, to do it.

Greg Mills: What's the number one piece of advice that you can give for our listeners.

Dale Miller: Number one piece of advice is to, as I said earlier, pay attention to your sleep patterns, pay attention that you're dreaming. Pay attention that you're not mouth breathing and snoring. If you are get medical help

Greg Mills: all right. Well, that's a wrap. Thank you, Dale, for being a guest on entrepreneurs over 40.

Dale Miller, JD


President Dale Miller, Inc. Chin-Up Strip Co. www.chinupstrip.com
Trial attorney at Trembath, Hess & Miller, SC Jun 1971 - May 1988 · At New York Life Insurance Co 09/1988 · 2001
Marquette University Law School
Juris Doctor - JD, Law Degree 1968 - 1971
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee BS Degree Economics and History 1966 - 1968
Married 10/31/64 to Virginia Danner RN - 57 years ago!
We still to debate "who got tricked and who got treated."

President Dale Miller, Inc. dba Chin-Up Strip Company
Aug 1998 - Present · Area Atlanta Metropolitan Area
The Chin-Up Strip Company started in Wausau WI in 1996. Dr. Honsotia at Marshfield Clinic told me to get patents on the Chin-Up Strips after I did a Hospital Sleep Study there.
Then we had a hospital sleep lab study of 9 patients done for us in 1997-98. University of KY Medical College Columbia Hospital Lexington, KY - Barbara Phillips, MD, FCCP, MS. Conclusions: Conclusion/Clinical Implication:
CHEST Vol. 114, p. 383S, October 1998 Supplement

After the above study was published, we had the Chin-Up Strips reviewed and cleared by the FDA.
FDA - Indications for Use
510(k) Number: K040491
Device Name: Chin-Up Strip
"The Chin-Up Strip supports the chin (mandible) during sleep, thereby promoting and enhancing nasal breathing by reducing mouth breathing and oral venting with Cpap.”
It also promotes and enhances nasal breathing to help to reduce or eliminate snoring.”
The Chin-Up Strip Company started in Wausau WI in 1996.
Moved to Greater Atlanta Area in 1998 to allow easier travel to speak around the U.S at hospital sleep support group meetings.
3M Converters die cut and package 3M Medical Grade Tape into patented Chin-Up Strips.
From our offices in Atlanta we ship to patients, doctors, veteran hospitals, hospital sleep centers and primary resellers in US, Canada, United Kindom, Australia and Japan.