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.

Slow Wave to Ukraine

Shehyni, Ukraine

ReAllocate delivers Slow Wave to Ukraine for kidsave.org whose rescue drivers have evacuated ~10,000 women and children from conflict zones in Ukraine. The drivers are exhausted, stressed, and traumatized. Slow Wave is now at their main bus depot providing the bus drivers with a much needed stress reset, trauma decompression and physical recharge so they can keep doing their brave and incredible work.

kidsave.org/standwithukraine

slowwave.org

Slow Wave for Kid Save

Mykolayiv, Ukraine

We have committed to getting Kidsave a Slow Wave! Kidsave is a U.S. nonprofit that helps kids (ages 9-18) in foster care and orphanages find lasting connections and forever families. Currently they are working in Ukraine to rescue children and families and provide humantiarian aid. https://www.kidsave.org/standwithukraine/

On the Ground at a Refugee Camp

Medyka, Poland

We are on the ground at a refugee camp, offering sessions on the Slow Wave. The Slow Wave is helping aid workers by day and refugees in the evening.

Ukraine-Poland Border Crossing Medic

For refugees a single 35-minute Slow Wave session profoundly downregulates sympathetic hyper-activation to reduce the effects of exposure to hardship and diminish the long term effects of trauma.

For aid workers, a Slow Wave session can give them the reset and restoration they need to keep doing their important work and prevent burnout.

A Currency and a Hackathon with a Purpose

The idea for Bay Bucks, a complementary currency for the San Francisco Bay Area, came to Dr. Chong Kee Tan in the wake of the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Complementary currencies exist as a complement to a conventional currency such as the US dollar but are designed to address specific issues.  In this case the goal was to build a resilient and just economy that would promote a sense of community as well as support local businesses.

Having decided that a complementary currency would be of service to the Bay Area community, Dr. Tan and Kendra Shanley co-founded Bay Bucks and began recruiting businesses to participate.  The initial goal was to establish a strong business-to-business network in advance of rolling out Bay Bucks to consumers and they enrolled over 100 business members who actively use Bay Bucks.

To build on their initial successes and prepare Bay Bucks for eventual use by local consumers, Tan and Shanley knew they would need to develop a mobile app that would allow for convenient and secure payment of this digital currency.

ReAllocate and Hacktivations

The Bay Area has an abundance of talent when it comes to something like building a mobile app.  While most of this valuable resource of talent is directed towards for-profit endeavors, some of the programmers who’ve developed these skills have a desire to use their expertise to support causes they believe in.

Connecting world class talent to real world problems is the goal of ReAllocate.  One way that ReAllocate fosters this connection is through their Hacktivations.  A Hacktivation is similar to a Hackathon, but with a few important differences.

At a traditional hackathon people come together to pitch ideas, form into groups around the best ideas, and then write the code to make that idea a reality within a short period of time.  A Hacktivation, on the other hand, is about providing programmers with a way to volunteer that maximizes the value of their contribution and provides organizations like Bay Bucks with the help they need to achieve their goals.

June 8th Hacktivation

On June 8th, 2013 ReAllocate hosted a Hacktivation at which Bay Bucks worked with volunteers Weston McBride and Dona Williams to begin developing their mobile app.  Without wasting any time on pitching ideas, like in a hackathon, the programmers and Bay Bucks co-founders got right to work and made substantial progress.  By the end of the Hacktivation they had the basis of a mobile app, an accomplishment McBride and Williams could be proud of and a significant advancement for Bay Bucks.

A call for ReAllocators

The next step for Bay Bucks is to move the mobile app into beta and begin testing it among its business members.  To do this, they need assistance from iOS Developers.  They are hoping to meet this need at a future Hacktivation or through working with people they connect to through the ReAllocate community.  If you are an iOS developer and would like to help make Bay Bucks’ founders’ vision a reality please contact Dr. Chong Kee Tan directly at [email protected].  If you want to reallocate your skills in some other way, sign up at ReAllocate.org.

 

Letan Bosye

Letan Bosye is farming community a little less than an hour outside of Jacmel, it’s always had a lake but the farmers never took much interested in fishing up until a year ago. With help from a Spanish NGO, the community purchased Tilapia fish cages and constructed a building with solar panels to contain a freezer to store fish.

In it’s third harvest the fishing project has caught the attention of several small families who are interested in purchasing their own cages; the birth of a small fishing community. Costs and upkeep however are just now being turned over to the village; $20 a week for food and $600 for the cages, an investment that isn’t affordable for most of the the families in the area without the external help.

After being boated out to the the cages, shown the feeding process and then taken to the storage freezer, we met with the project leader and discussed the development of the project and took notes on their solutions.

The most expensive input was the feed, which is imported from Port au Prince. They have experimented with food for the fish; using bread fruit, a local fibrous hanging fruit and reeds. The fish ate it right up, but the community was worried about how healthy it was for the fish and if they could continue to feed them the fruit for long periods of time.

The biggest issue though was the expense of the cages. They are made of PVC and plastic mesh. In theory, they will last a long time, however their $600 expense is not sustainable in Haiti. A quick talk with hydroponics experts back in Port au Prince revealed that there are projects in South East Asia that use bamboo and sap.

The viability of the business model is not obvious from our discussions with the community, though they know there are issues. Taking a much more involved inspection of their involvement with the NGO they’re working with and the sale of the fish would be needed before any honest report of sustainability could be made.

It’s a good idea in theory, but if the cages require external construction, it might as well be a dead fish in the water.

Jacmel Joe

While briefly passing through Jacmel on our way to the mountains we stopped at Jacmel Joe’s guest house where he works on a Charcoal stove project.

By using coconuts rather than wood Joe is trying to reduce consumption of the local trees and use coconut, a product that most Hatitans have access to and is more dense, burning as charcoal 3 times longer and hotter.

Joe has been working on his stove for the past 2 and a half years, and is on his third prototype. He is selling the charcoal, the cook stoves that the charcoal fuels and is hoping to sell the presses to make the charcoal.

Joe was very busy while we were there and time was short. We plan to return and discuss his progress and stay at his lovely sea side guest house.

La Montagne

This past week, Sean went south to Jacmel and visited La Montagne. The community of La Montagne, devastated after the earthquake and realizing that it needed to diversify economically beyond farming, began experimenting and created a rural collaboration center under an almond tree (where they talked for hours into the night about their goals, projects, and problems).

Coffee:
La Montagne is producing Haitan Blue Coffee, endeavoring to convince local farmers to grow coffee rather than rice and beans. Discussions with French and American coffee distributors have gone well, and plans to purchase a roaster in the next year are in the works.

Tree Grafting:
Haiti has a major deforestation problem. One factor is housing and construction needs, another is charcoal for cook stoves. Stumps are found all over the county and erosion is rapidly becoming a major problem with heavy seasonal rains. La Montagne’s solution  is tree grafting. Mango tree stumps found all over Haiti are being mixed with other fruit bearing trees such as Bread fruit and Orange. La Montagne has situated itself as an expert in this field and has communities travelling form all over southern Haiti to learn from their work.

Gabion Wire:
Gabion wire’s are rock retaining mesh wires, similar to chicken wire but much thicker. There is currently no other source in Haiti for the wire and the community at La Montagne has put significant effort into building a production facility. 12 local teens work in the 50′ by 15′ wooden structure where they make the wire for 12 hours a day. The wire is used to produce schools, houses, bridges and retention walls. Stone is gathered by local groups (where construction is located) and the wire is much lighter and easer to transport than cinder blocks.

The wire is shipped from Port au Prince to Jacmel where it is then taken across the river and up to La Montage (a two hour journey by car when the bridge is washed out).

First the step was measuring and straightening the wire, which took two people and was an imperfect process. The wire is then set in 4 pairs of 2 and given to a two person team who weave the wire in and out of a nail bracket and a 2×4 brace. The process took 2-4 minuets per 4 inch section, most of the time put into setting up the brackets.

Our friends from Future Generations who were translating and coordinating the groups we were visiting, took us to a popular water fall in the area where we cliff jumped and relaxed before heading off to our next site in Jacmel.

Opportunity everywhere in Haiti.

Day 2: Setting Up

Met with Jeff today, talked about safety and made plans for the weekend. Took pictures of facites with Phil, learned about what equipment in the workshop, and what what up and coming projects are in line – also helped with the toilet.

Tomorrow I need to help with the shop, and gain ownership of it – meaning work in the metal shop and help with any laying and concrete initiatives- maybe houses.

Announcements:
certain roads in citie solie, off limits.
don’t go to the banc without a partner, and make sure you’re not marked with chalk when you walk out

OLD
none at the moment –
New Items

Took pictures of the compound : http://www.flickr.com/photos/silent0jester/sets/72157631794431928/
apparently so did Jeff

http://haiti.openstreetmap.nl/is the most accurate map of Haiti
Meeting with John from Haiti Partners http://www.haitipartners.org/ who has a bakery / school which is an A-b project

Action Items:

Work on Haiti communitere project – and figure out how to bring more people here.
– SH model
create calendar
make person database
begin media plan
Desk x 2 for room
Internet set up – an extrea line
get new Moz net

upcoming:
Thursday: citi solie
Friday : John with Haiti aid rustic
Sunday: clinque
Nextweek: country with Sabina