As I was seeking places to donate to, I was already going to the San Francisco VA for my own needs and I wanted to donate to the care giver support folks. The manager met with me and told me how great she thought the Temple Massager was, but that she could not accept what they called a “Durable Medical Device." She could not take them. She said that I should talk with Dr Abramson at Stanford University.
I looked him up, explained myself and the fact that I was referred to him from the SF VA. He responded by saying how he was fascinated by what I'd created and would I be willing to send some for him to examine. I immediately sent out several samples of the Temple Massager.
A month or so later he called and told me, “Joe you have a remarkable tool here. I think your Temple Massager is relieving people from holding up their arms and hands to get a targeted massage which I think can possibly be eliciting the relaxation response.” I asked for more information about this relaxation response. He explained to me that he had studied under Herb Benson from Harvard University. Herb Benson had examined the brain chemistry to body relationship and that the relaxation response is when the body is stimulated in a way that is pleasurable. The brain receives this stimulation and produces increased production of Dopamine and Endorphins.
Wow! He wrote the following opinion on this.
Mark Abramson, DDS,
Diplomat, American Board of Oro-facial Pain Diplomat, American Board of Dental Sleep
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Programs: Center for Integrated Medicine
Stanford University, School of Medicine, Health Improvement Program
California Center For Craniomandibular Disorders
" am writing you with my impression of the Temple Massager from my role in two different settings.
Firstly I am a dentist who specializes in the treatment of TMJ and cranial facial pain and I am also director of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Clinic at Stanford University Medical Center, Integrative Medicine Clinic.
The Temple Massager employs a very simple concept of being able to stimulate the sensitive areas of the head muscles, particularly the temporal muscles with the user in a comfortable and relaxed position as they manipulate the device on themselves.
With a combination of my focus with both my clinic patients with TMJ and facial pain and with the stress reduction clinic at Stanford I feel that the Temple Massager has a significant potential for being a useful tool with the armed services personnel who are under chronic stress in their performance of duties.
The Temple Massager could offer an opportunity for these personnel to settle down their nervous systems from a patrol or other duties that induce great stress. One could think of this as a diver who goes down into a deep dive and has to decompress slowly coming out of the dive. A soldier going on patrol is in a hyper alert state with significant release of stress hormones for extended periods of time. Soldiers need training in settling down this stress reaction in reducing the stress hormones in the body which lead to the destructive effects on their health.
I feel that the Temple Massager gives the personnel an opportunity to restore themselves and settle down in a positive safe way, and hopefully prevent the ceiling of the need for a quick fix to alcohol or drugs.
I feel the Temple Massager could be used in conjunction with an audio guided meditation/relaxation tape that would guide the user to focus their mind and to stimulate what Herb Benson, M.D. at Harvard calls the relaxation response."
I was blown away.
That was 2009, later in that same year my former Army Combat Engineers unit was getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. I made an appointment with the Company Commander Captain Marks to tell him I would like to donate as many Temple Massagers to him as he needed.
He invited me down to the armory, we sat and I showed him the Temple Massager. He tried it and a few seconds went by. He closed his eyes, sighed deeply and verbalized his feeling of relaxation with verbal cues and appreciative sounds. He lifted his head up and said, "Can you be here for our family pre-deployment event?"
I quickly responded, "What time and how many?"
I went there and was invited to give a class on what the Temple Massager is, where it came from and how to use it. I was then positioned at a table line with VA, Red Cross, DOD and other family support groups. Soldiers grabbed about 80 Temple Massagers. Some were already ripping it open and walking around using them. They were telling me they liked it right then and there. A soldier comes up to me and says I am sending this to my family up in northern Calif. I said that’s for you. He says, as I am being deployed my wife has to take another job. My daughter is an army vet and she lives with us. She was injured in the 2005 chow hall suicide bomber. She is at home and can't lift her left arm up much. She has trouble going to sleep so my wife or I will rub her temples for her to help her get to sleep. My wife just picked up a second job, and my daughter could probably use the Temple Massager to help herself. I said please come with me. I gave him a civilian style TM with a carry bag and color coordinated draw string. I asked what color she would want. He said pink, so I gave him a pink one with the bag. He tried to pay me, but I said nope several times. He sent that one home and he took his to Afghanistan. I never heard from him again and I hope the Temple Massager helped his daughter.
When the 235th Engineers returned the next year they issued me a letter-see www.templemassager.com/letters-of-appreciation The Commander interviewed the combat medic and then had the letter developed. A soldier at a PTSD awareness event in Sant Rosa Calif would come up to me and say he used the Temple Massager while at the 50Cal.
At some point I kept hearing about the Wounded Warrior Project and how great they were at helping post 9-11 veterans. I contacted the Northern California WWP Alumni Manager Ken Misa. Ken is an Army combat veteran.
I told Ken that I had this new device that I created that will massage the temple areas. I went on to say I had donated Temple Massagers to service members at Walter Reed, Red Cross staff said the product was acting as a “drug-free distractor and veterans I would hear back from said it was helping them calm down, and that their headaches and jaw pain would either subside or diminish. I told him it seemed that 50% of the people that tried it said it helped them to one degree or another.
Ken said I will call you back. I thought sure you will……..
Ken called me a few days later and said I looked at your data set (Letters, medical literature citations, Dr from Stanford letter endorsement). Ken asked if I would come down and bring some Temple Massagers to a WWP meeting at an indoor sky diving facility in San Leandro, Ca.
I said yes.
I went there on a hot afternoon, I found the group and went in to meet Ken. Ken put me in front of the group and told them, ”Joe is a former Combat Engineer and he contacted me about his Temple Massager device.” I went in front of some of our nation’s heroes. These men were beat up, blown up and had seen the deepest hell of war. I was nervous and thought this was a bad idea, they are going to chew me up. I said I am honored and thankful to be able to be here and thank you for all your sacrifices. I am not a combat veteran, but I served 13 years in the Army reserves, Guard and had some active duty stints.
A veteran yells out, ”We still love you Joe.” This was the ice breaker. These guys were cool and going to give me a chance. I very quickly explained I was solving my own problems of facial muscle clinching and that lead me to create the Temple Massager, that I served with two men in the Army uniform that gave all and in their honor I have tasked myself with giving the Temple Massager to service member’s and veterans. I then went over some of Dr Abramson comments and feedback from Walter Reed. I showed them the letters because I wanted them to have every confidence in what I was doing.
I donated about 40 to 50 Temple Massagers that day.
I walked out of there blown away and in great reverence of those men who have sacrificed so much. I was emotional and said out loud Curtis and Mike I hope you can see this, I am trying. I will not quit.
Fast forward to a chilly May evening with me in bed from a hernia surgery and my girlfriend having just ran out for supplies. I hear this stomping up my stairs, then a pounding on my door. I very slowly got to the door and opened it to find my neighbor and local watering hole bar keep standing there at 10PM. He says Joe. I was working at the Blue Heron (Duncan’s Mills, Ca) and this guy comes in and gets a beer and starts talking with Steve LA Brach who is an Army vet too. They get to talking and the guy from out of town starts talking about the Temple Massager and how great it is and how it helps him. That he got it from another Army vet who gave it to him at a WWP event. Dave the bar tender says the guy you got it from lives 5 miles from here. Dave says, “Joe the guy was super happy about the Temple Massager and it was helping him. Joe! Keep doing what you are doing because its working! Good night."
In 2012 I was invited to the 2012 Navy Marine Corps Combat Operational Stress Control Conference. COSC. There I met Navy nurses from 29 Palms and staff from Camp Pendleton. They asked for and were delivered several Temple Massagers. They started receiving positive feedback. I asked if they could get me some surveys filled out because just anecdotal feedback was not enough. They had filled out a small hand full of surveys from Marines and Navy service members that showed about 50% of those that tried it for PTSD Stress Anxiety calming liked it, and indicated so in surveys. Wow, that’s amazing. The 29 Palms base later went through a command change and I was out of communications. I got those surveys though. I keep seeing 50% like it.
Finally, I was at work one day at the Cazadero performing arts camp as the facility manager and a woman I know comes up to me and asked how the Temple Massager is moving along. I told her I was donating them and getting very interesting feedback. She asked me if she could have a Temple Massager to try a test that she was not going to tell me what it was. I said sure and got her one. That was August. In Nov 2012, she emails me.
"Hi Joe, just wanted to let you know that my 14 year old student with autism has had the temple massager you gave me for a month now. He uses is regularly and it calms him quite a bit. He has vocal stims, that means he verbalized frequently and this has helped him calm himself. The stims are less prominent.
Thanks so much for giving me your product. You might want to consider marketing it to companies that specialize in products for people with sensory issues like autism.
Best regards, Lisa Chattler"
I could not believe this.
So to conclude this lengthy blog we had surveys, comments, and emails from veterans, Dr's, service members and civilians saying the Temple Massager is helping with calming. The Autism feedback was a total surprise. It makes sense that the “relaxation response” would occur in folks that were not soldiers. Autism calming, PTSD calming. Keep driving and committing for those who serve in honor of Curtis and Mike. I still to this day cannot get anyone from the Autism community to listen to me. Maybe one day.
I thank my creator for the strength to continue on. We are……