BiLateral Alternating Stimulation Tactile

A technology used in wearable tech, bilateral stimulation is stimuli (visual, auditory or tactile) which occur in a rhythmic left-right pattern.

For example, visual bilateral stimulation could involve watching a hand or moving light alternating from left to right and back again. Auditory bilateral stimulation could involve listening to tones that alternate between the left and right sides of the head.

According to the Journal of Biotechnology and Biomedical Science, the application of bilateral alternating stimulation in tactile (BLAST) form technology, a non-invasive, somatosensory-based method, has been shown to modulate the electrical activity of brain networks that mediate the stress response, resulting in a stress-reducing effect in individuals with high reported levels of anxiety, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It’s an abbreviation used in texting, online chat, instant messaging, email, blogs, newsgroups and social media postings.

Historical perspective: It was discovered accidentally by Francine Shapiro Ph.D. as she was walking in a park in the late 1980’s. She noticed that some distressing feelings she was having about a particular situation suddenly ceased. When she reflected back on what happened, she remembered that she had experienced some spontaneous saccadic eye movements (a kind of rapid blinking). This led her to experiment further and the discovery that when a person deliberately focuses on a distressing memory, and then concentrates on bilateral stimulation, their distress is reduced. Moreover, the distressing memory seems to become less distressing in a long-term way. This discovery led to the development of EMDR.

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