PHOENIX — An estimated 40 million people in the United State have some sort of anxiety. Although it's common, a study shows only 36% of those people actually get some type of treatment.
A Valley woman saw the need and invented a little device called TouchPoint. What she didn't see coming was an even bigger need during the pandemic.
When you talk to Christiano Smith, there is no question that's off-limits. He's an open book about his life now and his life when he was a child. He talks about how when he was an infant, he was beaten to the point it would forever change his mobility.
"Having an experience, not feeling wanted or loved by the only people that were supposed to love and care for you," said Smith. "You grow up having that issue of, if my own flesh and blood didn't want anything to do with me then...how is anyone going to actually love me?"
Smith has come to terms with what happened when he was a child but he still deals with emotional effects.
"I have severe anxiety," said Smith. "I have PTSD, depression, all the fun things that come along with that. I spent years dealing with that. I still deal with it to this day."
He turns to his faith to help cope. He also loves his therapy dog and his best friends he's had for years. He also writes, reads philosophy and poetry. But he says two little devices called TouchPoints have helped him deal with the stresses of life.
"I gave it a couple days and then the more it went along, the more it started having a better effect and it started working more," said Smith.
TouchPoints was created by Valley businesswoman Vicki Mayo. She developed the device to help her little girl who, at the time, was having nightmares. Now, it's helping countless people deal with their own issues.
"People don't realize stress is silently killing us," said Mayo. "Your body can't go on and absorb all that bodily tension every day, 100 times a day, without seeing the results of that. And sometimes it comes 10 or 15 years later."
TouchPoints deliver alternating vibrations to each side of the body.
Vicki says it works along the lines of EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, which is used to treat PTSD.
While EMDR helps the brain process past trauma, the alternating vibrations on each side of the body help the brain process current anxiety or stressful situations.
"The demand is huge right now," said Mayo. "People need help and when you can't get to a therapist and your EAP-only program only gives you three sessions or five sessions, what are you supposed to do?" said Mayo.
"Until our mental health system hits that capacity point to where we are truly right-sized, between the number of people that have anxiety and stress and the people that can help treat it, we can provide an adjunct therapy, an at-home way of relieving and treating your stress response."
If you'd like to purchase a device or learn more, visit this website.