Dr. Owusu-Ofori created Satori coffee creamer and hot chocolate. The name comes from a Buddhist term meaning awakening. He says it refers to the Zen Buddhist tradition of kensho, or "seeing into one's true nature."
He says the side effects from traditional anxiety medications often outweigh the benefits. So having a vitamin-enriched coffee creamer and hot chocolate affords patients the opportunity for treatment without the pains from prescription medications like Xanax and Valium.
"Most of the medications you get like Xanax or Valium are prescribed off-label," Dr. Owusu-Ofori said. "Is there a way to get rid of side effects using coffee creamer or is there a way to make the efficacy or effectiveness of a drug better through a vitamin-enriched coffee creamer?"
So far, Dr. Owusu-Ofori says the product has been successful. He sells it currently through Etsy and has several returning customers.
"One of the most prominent pieces of feedback was, I don't know if this works or not but I know when I drink Satori, I generally have a good day," Dr. Owusu-Ofori said. "It feels good. We think we're on the right track."
On top of effectiveness, Dr. Owusu-Ofori says they need to focus on the social stigma attached to mental illness like anxiety. He says, with other illnesses, people have empathy for what you're going through. But he says it's not the case with anxiety or other mental illness.
"If my child had an ear infection, there is compassion towards that to understand," Dr. Owusu-Ofori said. "Anxiety is sometime that's interesting. It's pretty widespread but I don't know how much compassion and empathy there is for the disease. There is a difference between having a Satori Coffee Creamer on your desk and having that conversation and having that yellow prescription bottle of Zoloft or Xanax on your desk. The conversation, along with having a mindfulness conversation, the mindful minute, is a better conversation around the therapeutic solution. It's more social."
In addition to the coffee creamer and hot chocolate, Dr. Owusu-Ofori says people should take a minute out of each day to think, relax and meditate each day to help decrease anxiety. But he hopes this helps people open up with others about their issues with anxiety to help everyone better understand.
"Anxiety can be a social issue," Dr. Owusu-Ofori said. "It can be a psychological issue and can also be nutritional. Using this computer engineering process, we're bringing all the aspects of the disease together in one product which happened to be a coffee creamer."
Dr. Owusu-Ofori will be studying the effects of his creamer and hot chocolate in the Zebrafish lab on Concordia's campus. He hopes to have FDA approval for the products in three years.