by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D
Sometimes do you feel like you have an “Out of Order” sign flashing over your head? It can be an uncomfortable feeling at best, or a very disturbing high nervousness that can’t quite be explained. The sign often appears unpredictably. I often thought, wouldn’t it be helpful if only we could have some warning of the situation before it fully sets in and plunges us into a feeling of being out of control? Well, now that may be a possibility for some individuals.
There is a new study being conducted by psychologist, Dr. Janis DiCiacco, who has spent the last six years developing a stress tool called the First Assist Monitor. It is a small patch that can be worn on the back of the left hand that allows the wearer fast and reliable awareness (usually less than 20 seconds) of his/her physiological arousal level.
Following is a brief explanation of the research around the patch. Studies show early detection of stress and negative emotional states can help a person take early corrective measures to get back in balance. According to the Mayo Clinic, “the long-term activation of the stress response system – and subsequent overexposure to cortisol (the stress hormone) and other stress hormones – can disrupt almost all of one’s body processes. This puts one at increase risk of numerous health problems.” The First Assist Monitor can help the individual learn to notice and listen to what is happening in the body and do something right then that assists the person’s ability to ease the “out of order” situation and restore a sense of balance.
The way the patch works is on a traffic light concept. When we perceive our environment as safe, our nervous system allows us to feel a sense of balance – the GREEN zone. If our bodies perceive danger, the nervous system begins to move the line to the YELLOW area. If, however, our environment is perceived as Life Threatening or extremely hazardous it indicates that our stress hormone, cortisol, is high and the patch color will be in the RED zone. The ‘reference line’ at the bottom of the patch allows the wearer to continually know their zone. It is important to understand that there is “good stress” and “bad stress”. “Good stress” keeps us motivated and out of harms way. However, staying at high physiological arousal levels is considered “long-term activation” and thus “bad stress”.
Why is this useful, you may ask? Consider how you might be able to do something to change this sense of overload. You could begin to deep breath sooner, take a short walk, move to a quieter area until your arousal moves into the GREEN zone, or any number of interventions that you know can help.
The First Assist Monitor currently is undergoing its third and final evaluative study in sites throughout theUnited States. Dr. Janis DiCiacco is offering complimentary patches to a limited number of veterans and military personnel along their families in hopes that it can be beneficial in reducing chronically high physiological arousal levels.
The only condition is the individual must use the patch daily for a minimum of 7-10 days and completes a short, anonymous questionnaire regarding the results of the First Assist Monitor.
If you are interested and wish more information, please contact Dr. DiCiacco directly at email@example.com.
P.S. The patch is safe, comfortable, and non-invasive. It is made in a FDA approved facility in the United States.