Helping someone feel calmer and safer is one of the top priorities after a traumatic event. After a crisis or traumatic event, Bi-Tapp is a resource that is used to help someone’s nervous system begin to calm down. The Bluetooth tappers pair to an App and the person customizes the settings of the bilateral tapping that they find calming. Use the tappers as often as needed throughout the day or to help you get to sleep. It’s exhausting and overwhelming when stress hormones stay elevated for an extended period of time. Therefore, accessing a resource to help the nervous system begin to calm down is a key component to improving mental health.
Recently, someone who was present during a domestic violence incident that ended in tragedy shared her thoughts about using Bi-Tapp as one of her healthy coping tools afterward.
Thank you for talking with me today. Will you share why you started using Bi-Tapp?
“I lost my best friend. I came back to work after the tragedy the next week and found I couldn’t focus or concentrate. It was important for me to be back to work, but I couldn’t think clearly because I was so consumed with the events of the tragedy. Also, I couldn’t sleep or eat.
Like a lot of women, I have a busy life and a lot of responsibilities. I have ways of coping with stress and feeling overwhelmed, but after this event happened, I knew immediately it was more than I could handle on my own. Getting help became a priority for me.
I was fortunate enough to find a therapist to work through this trauma. At that time, I was also introduced to Bi-Tapp to use in between my sessions. These devices give off a pulse from one device to another. They are meant to help calm down your nervous system. Before this event happened, I had no idea how important that was, but it became important for me to calm myself down to feel like a normal person again. It was a lifesaver for me.”
In what situations did you use the tappers?
“Following the event, I felt like I had the tappers with me 24/7. I needed the tappers during the day to help me focus and concentrate at work. It was difficult because I couldn’t remember things. I couldn’t think clearly. Also, I used them at night to help calm myself down so I could go to sleep and stay asleep.”
“I used the tappers to testify in court”
“I was worried; I knew that there would be things brought up in the trial that would be hard to hear and rehash. Because the tappers were small and I could hold them in my hands, I took them into the courtroom with me. I held the tappers while I testified. It was very comforting to me to have something that could calm me down. The tappers helped me say what I needed to say.”
What do you like about the tappers?
“They are small and portable so you can take them anywhere. They stay charged for a really long time. Another thing I like about these devices is you can change the frequency of the tapping and the intensity of the tapping. I love that I can adjust the settings. I have used different settings for different scenarios and different times of the day.”
One of the first things to do after a crisis is to focus on calming the nervous system
Registering a sense of safety as quickly as possible is of utmost importance. Bi-Tapp is a resource used after a crisis or traumatic event. Handing someone the tappers when they are anxious, upset, or traumatized is one of the easiest interventions you can do to help their nervous system begin to settle down and return to baseline. If you don’t have tappers with you, place your hands on your thighs and begin to tap back and forth with your hands in an alternating pattern. (left/right/left/right) Or, you can move your feet back and forth in the same alternating pattern.
Why does bilateral tapping work as a calming resource?
The sensing part of your brain immediately senses the tapping and automatically begins to pay attention to it. Bilateral tapping activates each hemisphere of the brain in an alternating pattern, which settles down the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that can activate the fight/flight response. (1) With the bilateral tapping sensation placed on each side of your body, you nervous system begins to calm down. Hold the tappers, wear them on your wrists, and place them in your pockets or your socks. Settings are customized so you can choose the rate of speed and rate of intensity that is calming to you.
Other strategies that help the nervous system begin to calm down and register safety include:
We do not want to sit in our stress when we are upset. Stretch, take a walk, jump up and down. Movement helps relieve muscle tension.
Take a drink of water:
When we experience anxiety and stress, we often experience a dry mouth. By taking a drink of water or chewing gum, you are activating your digestive system, which in turn activates the relaxation response.
Take a deep breath:
We’re taught to take deep breaths for stress, which does work. However, if you are upset and anxious, it becomes more difficult to take a deep breath. Engage in bilateral tapping, movement, and taking a drink of water and then you will be able to take a deep breath much easier.
As you begin to calm down, you will be able to articulate how you are feeling much more easily. Acknowledging your feelings and sharing them with a safe person increases your sense of calm and safety.
It is important to note that the sequence of these grounding techniques is intentional. If you are with someone who is anxious and upset, you are encouraged to do these techniques with the person. Your presence, your encouragement, and your role modeling of these grounding techniques to someone in distress will help. This is called co-regulation.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is estimated that more than 10 million people a year are physically abused by an intimate partner. Over 20,000 calls are placed a day to domestic violence hotlines. (2) To view National Statistics Domestic Violence Fact sheet as well as view State-By-State statistics, click here.
Bi-Tapp is the resource to use after a crisis or traumatic event. The tappers are regularly used with individuals as well as agencies who work with individuals who experience trauma. There is help in the moment you need it most and that help is Bi-Tapp.
1 Scaer, R. (2012) 8 keys to Brain-Body Balance. New York, NY, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 144-145.
2 ncadv.org National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website