Aid Worker Burnout and Recovery Study Results

Key findings: 

  • Burnout was prevalent in the aid-worker population. 
  • The more symptoms of burnout an aid worker had, the more pain was reported.
  • Slow Wave reduced this pain by 80%.
  • Slow Wave fully eliminated ALL reported pain in nearly 60% of pain sufferers.
  • Slow Wave reduced anxiety by 23%.
  • 100% of participants showed a rebalancing of the autonomic nervous system, lessening the “fight or flight” response and improving parasympathetic tone.
  • During the Slow Wave protocol, peak heart rate variability increased by an average of 250%.

For those directly harmed in a humanitarian crisis, their individual needs are numerous, and collectively these needs themselves overwhelm those who rush towards the emergency to provide logistics, medical care, food, shelter, and transportation. The responders who stand up this crisis response network must cope with this vast collective need, navigate a chaotic and frequently changing situation, create on the fly a seamless system of care among multiple responding organizations, and simultaneously provide for their own personal needs.

In the early days of the Ukrainian crisis, adrenaline fueled these aid workers–. Ssleep and food were less necessary, the mind was sharp, and energy was plentiful. Service to others overrode all other interests. As one American volunteer at the Ukrainian border crossing stated, “I, like many who show up to serve in crises, deprioritized myself, my self-care, my future concerns.” Yet, as time goes on, these aid workers inevitably lose effectiveness themselves. The accumulated effects of broken sleep, frequent interruption, stress, pain, and fatigue rapidly take their toll. 

This inevitably leads to burnout.

           During the creation and testing of the Slow Wave, the data spoke strongly that this novel device rapidly reverses the underlying physiology of the chronic stress response and restores physical and mental well-being. This was shown in American first responders, military personnel, and healthcare workers during COVID-19.

            When the Ukrainian homeland was invaded, and the world mobilized to assist the refugees, ReAllocate brought these devices thousands of miles to the effort. We did this to provide direct assistance to the refugees. But, because helping the helpers is a powerful force multiplier, we also brought Slow Wave to Poland and Ukraine to the aid workers themselves. As with any deeply science-driven effort, we also collected voluntary data from these aid workers to determine if our proposed assistance was truly effective in the real-world chaos of such a response. 

            Now, the results are in, and our hypothetical hope was deeply validated. Our study of Slow Wave’s effectiveness forin aid workers at the Polish border showed profound positive effects on body and mind after just a single session.

As the aforementioned American border-crossing volunteer stated after his Slow Wave protocol:

Physically and emotionally after my session, I feel at ease, weightless, calm…ready to gto back to the chaos with a fresh perspective.”

Seeing these results, how effective Slow Wave was for rapid mind-body restoration, we endeavored to get a system into Ukraine itself. One system now is in a town in Central Ukraine, assisting and revitalizing the drivers tirelessly evacuating women and children from the war’s front lines. 

As once such Ukrainian rescue driver stated after his Slow Wave session:

Stress is gone. Feels very good, and brain, head gets a relief. It was jammed before and after it gets released, relaxed, the tightness goes away. Thanks, it is just super. For our guys it will be a huge help. For those guys who save people who save kids. Thanks. I am sincerely grateful from the bottom of my heart. 

The data is clear on the benefits of Slow Wave in this crisis. 

Please donate to extend this revitalizing technology to more Ukrainian responders.  

Relief for Refugees at Tesco Center, Poland

Humanitarian Aid and Refugee Transition Center, a.k.a “Tesco”

Przemysl, Poland. 10.6 miles from the Ukrainian border

The sights within this refugee center are indelible images etched into our minds. However, out of respect for the Ukrainians, we shall show no photos yet simply describe our observations.

The scene within this repurposed micro-mall from the 1980’s is one of solemn calm and utter exhaustion. Over 500 refugees, overwhelmingly comprised of women and children, are arranged cot-to-cot. They have fled the war zone of their homeland through an ad-hoc volunteer evacuation network, traveling across Ukraine for days. After waiting patiently at an interminable border control queue in the cold and rain for hours, they finally crossed into Poland on foot, carrying their remaining possessions by hand. 

Upon entry to Poland, these Ukrainians were embraced by yellow-vested volunteers pushing shopping carts to relieve the weary of their heavy bags. They were escorted through a overwhelming gauntlet of international relief tents and a cacophony of sights. Numerous volunteer kitchens lovingly offered all varieties of food: bortsch, paninis, dahl, even fresh oven-baked pizza. Children were offered toys and balloons, even by an actual clown. Toiletries, blankets, clothes, diapers, new SIM cards for free calling are all theirs for the taking. Signs in Ukrainian reassure the refugees that yes, everything here is actually free. Medical and veterinary personnel offer free care. At the end of this walkway of generosity and sensory overload, they queued yet again to board a bus for the short ride to Tesco.

Tesco is a large, teeming waystation, a temporary shelter, yet another stop to determine the next destination. Small rooms are marked by national flags. Sleep here in this room if you want to go to England. Here in this one for Denmark, and so forth. Room 13 is a massive open floor, the largest room by far, with approximately 300 beds. Persons in this room are headed to a teeming Warsaw whose population has increased 20% in three weeks or elsewhere in Poland where families take them into their homes as if they were family.

Now enters two American men with bicycle bags on their shoulders. We are escorted to a back room to meet the director of the center. We could explain that we carry on our shoulders two zero-gravity, vibro-tactile chairs with a microcontroller delivering intelligent patterns of pulsed-pressure waves to the body that rebalance the autonomic nervous system. We could talk science for hours if need be about how the Slow Wave neutralizes stress, reduces pain, upregulates left prefrontal cortex activity, and may reduce the chances of long-term traumatic disorders. We can explain the medical reasoning as to why we have come thousands of miles to offer this technological assist to tired, traumatized, and aching Ukrainian women and children,

After a few brief attempts to explain that to someone that doesn’t speak English, we quickly revert to calling the Slow Wave by the apparently universal term, “massage.” The Tesco organizers quickly understood the potential value of a “massage chair.” Who here couldn’t benefit from a massage after all? They enthusiastically welcome us in with our two Slow Waves. We set up this extremely advanced piece of technology in plain view of the 300 plus refugees in room 13. Even in West Coast advanced biohacking conferences, this Slow Wave system attracts befuddled looks. Under Tesco’s bright fluorescent lights, among scores of women and children in cots, piles of bedding, and makeshift barriers of pallets, this high-tech piece of equipment looks very out of place. Positively alien.

Thank goodness for the insatiable curiosity of kids. They gather around, puzzled and interested, asking what it is. Fortunately, we have a trick up our technological sleeve. Before leaving the US, we worked with a Ukrainian mother of two to create a stress and pain-relieving protocol with a full explanation and instructions voiced in Ukrainian. We sit children in the chair, drape them with a blanket, and show them how they can actually control the strength of the pulsed-pressure waves with a large hand dial. We place pastel unicorn eye-masks over their eyes, position headphones over their ears, and press play on the Slow Wave. The soothing voice of a Ukrainian mother fills their ears as waves of pulsations pass through their body. Their reactions are priceless. Usually, they start by giggling and laughing, as if tickled by the vibrations. This stimulates a brief and healthy sympathetic nervous system response, a good excitement. After 2 minutes, the protocol suddenly stops the vibrations abruptly. This is a magical moment. Their body feels completely weightless and is dropped into a deeply relaxing, parasympathetic state. After this shift, their body-mind locks into the pattern of the pulsed pressure waves, which guide the autonomic nervous system into balance. Their faces turn to looks of peaceful relaxation, content smiles accompanied by the occasional thumbs up.

The group of kids grows and they patiently, yet assertively, await their turn. A boy who just finished his journey, runs off, returning with his mom.  Her son’s insistence and our simple explanation of “massage chair” is enough to persuade her to sit. Her face is one of stony but acquiescent exhaustion. During the session, we watch her tension  literally disappear. Her jaw slackens, shoulders drop, and her head lists gently to the side. The protocol ends, and she does not move a muscle until we are forced to gently sit her up. We remove the eye mask to reveal bright, alive eyes, broad smiles, and the exclamation of “Wow!” Another term that needs no translation. She skips off to grab her other children and orders them to all ride the Slow Wave. 

This pattern repeats itself all night. We offer “massage,” and they soon reply with “Wow!” 

In one instance, a mother experiences relief and returns briskly with her special needs child, approximately eight years old. She holds his hand as he squirms under the unusual sensations. She repeatedly instructs him to stay seated in the Slow Wave. Halfway through the ten minute protocol, this child surrenders to the experience, becomes quiescent and calm. So too becomes his mother.

Three nights in a row we visit Tesco, giving well over 100 refugees the Slow Wave experience. Kids from the previous night are thrilled to see us and line up as repeat customers. Mothers again seek the immediate pleasure of pain relief and sorely needed stress reduction. However, the American Ph.D. and M.D. standing next to them know from a body of scientific research that downregulating the sympathetic nervous systems after traumatic experiences may lessen the chances of developing long term psychological difficulties.

We came to Poland and Ukraine with just the two Slow Wave systems we could carry. We brought neither back home. 

One is now in the hands of Laurier and Camilla, a Canadian psychotherapist and physiotherapist volunteering at the border. They will return to Tesco night after night, and then move onto other such facilities. The other system, we delivered over the border into Ukraine into the hands of Anton, a Ukrainian bus driver evacuating women and children across Ukraine since the war’s onset (not his real name). Watching him experience the Slow Wave reset himself within the border crossing tent was a highlight of our trip. He delivered that system to Central Ukraine to the organization KidSave (www.kidsave.org/standwithukraine). KidSave now uses the system to reset and recharge their large network of drivers who work around the clock, exhausting themselves and being exposed to lethal danger, atrocities, and massive amounts of stress and trauma. As of April 8th, 2022, KidSave has evacuated 9,850 people, 5,682 of which are children.

Mental health in this wartime situation is already a large and intractable problem, the consequences of which will be seen for generations. Ukrainian people are the strongest, most stoic people we’ve ever met. Standing in the cold rain for five hours waiting to cross the border, not a single person was upset, agitated, or raised a voice. Children played silently, and the babies somehow didn’t cry. We learned quickly that discussing mental health in Ukraine is utterly foreign to most. The culture seems more akin to the traditional approach to mental health in first responder communities in the USA: suck it up. We saw volunteer psychologists simply passing out blankets because no Ukrainians wanted to discuss their emotions. At Tesco, the table labeled “психотерапія” (psychotherapy) was always empty.

To share our cutting-edge technology with Ukrainians, to literally and simply press a button on a system that provides immediate mental and physical relief and autonomic nervous system rebalancing was intensely gratifying. 

But there are only two Slow Wave systems forward deployed right now. 

We have requests from other organizations in Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania to integrate Slow Waves into their programs. We have appeals for Slow Waves from aid workers mere miles from the front lines. We have a university in Krakow, Poland, ready to evaluate the long term benefit of repeated Slow Wave sessions as mental health interventions in refugees, including performing psychophysiological studies to ascertain longer term effects on the body as well. 

ReAllocate has already established these relationships and supply chain networks to deliver Slow Waves where they can be of the greatest benefit. 

A single Slow Wave system can work around the clock, providing on demand relief to over a thousand people a month. It is medicine that does not need a refill. It is a combination therapist and bodyworker who never tires. It is simply the best stress management technology on the planet, and Ukraine is where it is needed most.

 Mike “Doc” North, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Rouse, M.D.

How Silicon Valley is changing the way we help the homeless

Evan Howard needed to make giving money easy.
He was in charge of fundraising for one of San Francisco’s oldest and best-known community outreach organizations for hunger and homelessness— Glide Memorial Church. For the past decade, receipts from the offering plate and mail drives had been declining.

Read more at http://national.deseretnews.com/article/1588/How-Silicon-Valley-is-changing-the-way-we-help-the-homeless.html#6IZfSBpypa6J2zBj.99

Code of Honor: New and Old San Francisco Cultures Unite to Solve an Intractable Problem

In December, Greg Gopman, former CEO of AngelHack, infuriated the public and reinforced tech stereotypes of disconnection and entitlement when he posted a rant on his Facebook page:

“Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue… In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city… It’s a burden and a liability having them so close to us.”

SF “HACKtivation” Matches Homeless Nonprofits with Tech Talent

While the tech community continues to be demonized across San Francisco, nearly 100 mostly tech workers acted as angels this weekend by donating their expertise to a dozen homeless nonprofit organizations.

In a format similar to a hackathon, where small teams form to develop software programs overnight, ReAllocate’s HACKtivation for the Homeless paired nonprofit organizations with volunteers to address technical challenges that would otherwise be out of reach for the cash-strapped organizations. “Not everybody is being included in how fast things are changing and the benefits of those changes,” said ReAllocate’s Executive Director Kyle Stewart, who cofounded the event with community organizer Ilana Lipsett. “There are opportunities for technology to help inside these established organizations.”

Hackathon Sends Techies to Meet, Greet, Videotape the Homeless

Filmmaker Ken Fisher was preparing about a hundred tech workers to find, talk to and videotape homeless people in the vicinity of the Twitter building in midtown San Francisco.

“For safety’s sake, we should go out in pairs. … Have a discussion guide with you, and rehearse so you don’t need to read off it,” Fisher said to the group about to leave the social giant’s refurbished mid-Market Street office building (they were, specifically, in Yammer’s office space). “Ask before videotaping. That said, I tend to ask forgiveness rather than permission. You usually get good results either way.”

Hacktivation event seeks ways for tech to help S.F. homeless

Technology whizzes, nonprofit workers and others will converge this weekend in San Francisco to try to cook up new tech-savvy ways to help the homeless in a series of get-togethers organizers are calling Hacktivation for the Homeless.

The projects will be fleshed out during sessions planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but for now they include creating an online store for homeless artists to sell their work and handing video cameras out to homeless people and their neighbors to document their everyday lives.

Hacktivation for the Homeless – Preparation

Pre-HacktivationOn March 28th, 29th, and 30th ReAllocate is hosting the next Hacktivation – a purpose-driven hackathon that connects nonprofits and social impact projects with skilled tech volunteers. Hacktivations begin with a series of pitches for projects, followed by a weekend-long push to make them a reality. This time the event will focus on homelessness in San Francisco.

To ensure that the projects can make a real impact ReAllocate is partnering with local nonprofit organizations devoted to serving the homeless. By having these organizations identify the challenges to be addressed, the Hacktivation will focus on real world problems with achievable solutions. This event marks the beginning of a bimonthly series of events facilitating collaboration on social impact projects and ongoing civic participation.


Pre-Hactivation

The nonprofits partners have identified a variety of problems and challenges as well as some possible solutions. Projects include capacity building opportunities to help organizations with their internal technology needs, long term technology projects that work between organizations to help address gaps in the current system, and community engagement opportunities to get directly involved with the local community. A full list of projects is available here.

On March 28th local nonprofits will be presenting the projects they need help with and over the course of the next two days participants will be working closely with them to build the solutions they need.  If you have skills that you want to reallocate, sign up and join the Hacktivation!

Pre-Hactivation

ReAllocate’s Hacktivation for the Homeless Partners

Caravan StudiosCode for America, Coit GroupCommunity Housing Partnership, Dev BootcampEpiscopal Community Services, GLIDE, GoodwillHandUp, Highground HackersHospitality House, Innovation Alley, Larkin Street Youth ServicesLava Mae, LyftProject Homeless Connect, SF Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, Shareable, Social Enterprise Alliance – San Francisco Bay Area ChapterSpotifySt. Anthony FoundationSt. Francis Living RoomTenderloin Housing Clinic, Tenderloin Technology LabYammer, Zenput