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Phoenix startup tests electrical device to ease anxiety without drugs

(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — Forget about heavy drugs. A Phoenix startup is testing a device to relieve anxiety without medication.

Nick Hool had debilitating nervousness when he was a competitive golfer. He couldn’t pop anti-anxiety pills.

“Those are illegal drugs in sports, and they’re also just not good for your health to begin with,” he said.

With his group, Hoolest Performance Technologies, Hool built his P-57-ONE electrical nerve stimulator. It targets the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the body.

“We see drops in heart rate, drops in blood pressure, muscle tension, breathing rate — and just overall, it helps a person relax,” Hool said.

Users open and turn on the handheld device and place its electrodes on their necks.

Hool says his team developed electrodes that are dry and comfortable and do not require any soaking of gels or saline.

“The material we have has current distribution properties that totally eliminate any hot spots,” he said. “You don’t get shocked when you use our electrodes.”

Anxiety relief could last an hour, but Hool is looking for testers for his nerve stimulator.

“We’re not overloading your body’s system with some drug that’s going to have lasting side effects,” he said. “All we’re doing is targeting a very specific response that your body already has inside of itself.”

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