Hillel's Tech Corner: CalmiGo, anxiety’s kryptonite

When it comes to our mental health, there really are two options available to us, both of which complement each other. There is therapy and there are medications.

CalmiGo (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘Our dream was to help people achieve an immediate sense of calm when feeling distressed, and give them back control over their lives’
With all the talk of an upcoming vaccine, we can all begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, when COVID eventually disappears from the world, what won’t disappear is the effects the virus had on our collective mental health.
I am no psychologist, but something tells me that a world with minimal social interactions, the inability to see people smile because of their masks and so many lives lost has a deep impact on our mental well-being.
Well, the numbers don’t lie, and anyone working in the mental health field will indeed tell you that the number of people suffering from depression and anxiety is all the way up since this pandemic started.
When it comes to our mental health, there really are two options available to us, both of which complement each other. There is therapy and there are medications.
So what’s the problem? Well, therapy takes a long time – sometimes years – until you see results, and meanwhile you could be suffering every second of every day. And medication? Well, anti-depressants are very hit or miss and you could take the wrong meds for months only to realize they aren’t working and you need to start over with a new prescription.
One thing that someone suffering from stress or anxiety needs is relief. Of course, instant relief doesn’t replace therapy or meds, but the ability to manage an anxiety attack and get instant relief is a dream come true for anyone who’s ever had an anxiety attack.
It is this mission that Israeli company Dendro Technologies is aiming to accomplish.
The company has developed a device called “CalmiGo,” which can calm your nerves and lower your anxiety in a matter of minutes.
The company calls it a smart calming device, and it offers relief for anxiety and stress without any medication using adaptive and patented technology.
So how does this magic device work?
The device has three components, each of which is important for the instant relief it provides. The first component is Personalized Breathing Regulation that uses lights and vibration to guide your breathing and achieve quick calmness.
The second component is Multi Sensory Stimulation, which gently stimulates multiple senses to attain a focused and calm state.
The final component is a calming scent emitted by long-lasting scented elements to accelerate and deepen the relaxation.
The company explains “studies show that using CalmiGo for a few minutes each day reduces symptoms of anxiousness and stress, improving your quality of life, changing the way you respond to stressful situations and minimizing the occurrence of moments of distress.”
The device costs $180, is available in several colors on the CalmiGo website and many other distributors, including Amazon. In the US, the Veterans Affairs clinics subsidize CalmiGo for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
“Our dream was to help people achieve an immediate sense of calm when feeling distressed, and give them back control over their lives. As engineers, we took this vision and created a product to meet this need.”
When we are anxious or feel stress, our sympathetic nervous system is activated, and as a result, our breathing rate increases due to the duration of our exhalation becoming shorter. A few symptoms caused by the high breathing rate are:
– Increase in the sense of threat
– Increase in the cortical and limbic activity in our brain (which manifests as increased arousal/alertness)
– Decrease in the blood’s carbon dioxide (PCO2) level (caused by hyperventilation), which may lead to several physical symptoms, such as dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, tingling in the hands or feet, accelerated heart rate, and nausea.
– The decreased PCO2 level can also lead to several cognitive symptoms, such as low concentration levels, fatigue, “unreal” feeling, fear of madness, and poor cognitive performance.
CALMIGO IS based on a synergy of three established methods: exhalation prolongation, relaxing scents, and grounding (multi-sensory stimulation).
I was introduced to CalmiGo’s co-founder, Adi Wallach, through a mutual friend. Wallach explains why and how she founded the company.
“The idea came about as a result of my own personal struggles with anxiety attacks. Wishing to avoid medication, I turned to therapy, biofeedback, yoga, herbal supplements, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques to find some relief. While these tools and techniques helped me reduce the frequency of the attacks, I found that it was very hard for me to use them to a successful degree during the attacks themselves.
“When I learned more I discovered that this type of attack is more than just psychological: it is a physical and chemical ‘assault’ on the body’s systems, one that is so overwhelming that you might think it’s never going to end, that you’re losing your mind or having a heart attack. The feelings during these attacks were so awful that I chose, as many others do, to engage in ‘avoidance behavior’ – avoiding situations or places that may potentially trigger an attack. I stopped going to the cinema, to bars and even to the swimming pool; fear of the next attack was taking a huge toll on my quality of life. It is no wonder that some people also turn to drugs or alcohol simply to find relief. There had to be a better solution.
“Out of this unfortunate situation, CalmiGo was conceived. I was searching for something, anything, that I could take with me that would help me get through these moments of distress. When I was unable to find an adequate solution, I decided to create a device which people could take with them everywhere they go, one that would help them stop moments of anxiousness and distress regardless of age, location or technical abilities.”
The other co-founder of CalmiGo is Dr. Orna Levin. Levin is a serial entrepreneur and sold several of the products she developed through various global distributors that include Teva and Omega Pharma NV. As a physician, she focuses on natural healing and is a specialist in herbal medicine, acupuncture, and nutrition with more than three decades of clinical experience.
The company has a very clear vision: to improve people’s psychological health with simple and easy to use technological solutions, bringing both immediate relief as well as continuous improvement of their overall emotional health. The device’s efficacy has already been demonstrated in several studies, and two new experiments at the Oncology Division of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) have been recently launched.
I have not tested this device (yet), but if it accomplishes even half of what all the reviews I’ve read –I promise it will be the best $180 I ever spent.