Dr. Nicholas Hool started playing golf at eight years old and was already winning tournaments by nine. He was on track to go pro with the skills and poise needed in one of the world’s most precision-based and stressful sports. But at 16, things changed. He had trouble sleeping the night before tournaments and experienced what he now calls “nerves beyond control.”
His anxiety started to impact his play on the course, and everything that he tried to control it, breath work, meditation, and even medication, didn’t work. As an Arizona State University student, he focused his attention on the physical side of anxiety and how the brain and body react to it. “Instead of golf,” he says, “I went to school.”
In 2018, during his Ph.D. program at Arizona State, Dr. Hool invented a handheld device that directly stimulates the vagus and auricular nerve located on the side of your neck, just under your ear. When held in place for 60 seconds, this tiny device disrupts the fight or flight response in the brain and turns it into a calm, mindful sensation that can last for hours.
His inspiration for the device came while studying under Dr. Jamie Tyler, creator of the Thync (now FeelZing) rapid-relaxation device line. Dr. Hool found the Thync device to be an interesting concept, but it required a setup with sticky contact pads on your forehead and a Bluetooth connection that Hool personally found to be confusing and odd-looking; it wasn’t something he could use quickly or feel comfortable using in public.
So Dr. Hool and his team, under the guidance of Dr. Tyler, created the first prototype of VeRelief, a small, portable device that could be applied directly to the neck. The device’s design was so revolutionary and refreshingly user-friendly that his team won a $100,000 award, beating out ideas from MIT and Stanford and putting his then-new Hoolest Performance Technologies squarely on the map.
In 2023, the VeRelief (pronounced vera-leaf) device has become one of the best ways to stop stress or anxiety in its tracks, improve sleep quality, and boost performance under pressure. Dr. Hool uses the device himself, and whether he’s in the lab or on the golf course, he consistently feels that “This is the fastest I’ve felt calm.” Thousands of high-stress professionals agree because it works so quickly, and it’s the only rapid-relaxation tool that does not need a Bluetooth connection or corresponding smartphone app, making it perfect for older people or those who avoid internet-based technology.
VeRelief is also a drug-free alternative and, unlike medication, has zero side effects. Of course, no pill or meditation technique works in 60 seconds, but VeRelief does, and it’s so easy to use that the devices seamlessly integrate into an active lifestyle.
Those who experience air travel anxiety or want to rest better on a flight use VeRelief as a safe and easy way to calm down on airplanes, and Dr. Hool says professional baseball players, who sometimes travel six days a week, are huge fans of VeRelief because it helps them sleep on planes and mentally prepare for upcoming games.
VeRelief has a home with holistic health professionals, too, because while it conveniently bypasses the prescription medication route, it also works to balance the nervous system. Chiropractors and acupuncturists use VeRelief technology to calm their patients before their respective treatments because calm patients are more receptive and significantly easier to treat.
While he designed VeRelief to help high-stress individuals live a less anxious existence and sleep more soundly, he’s constantly surprised by the unexpected benefits people say they experience. He says the wife of a military veteran who has PTSD credited VeRelief with helping him cut down on his anti-anxiety medicine.
Others say they began using it for anxiety, but it also enabled them to overcome vaping cravings, much like a vaping pen, it’s a handheld device that delivers a zen-like hit that’s similar to a nicotine buzz. Dr. Hool says stories like these fuel his team’s motivation to keep innovating and collect data from testimonials. “We’re having a pretty big impact,” he says.
Could it have an even bigger impact at retail? Certainly, but Dr. Hool says demand is strong, and their direct-to-consumer e-commerce site has skyrocketed in the last two years. Considering how quickly they take effect, the relatively high price is easily justified by the dozens of hours it can save you every year.
The devices are priced at $399.99 for the VeRelief Prime, which offers five modes for recovery and sleep, and $199.99 for the VeRelief Mini, a lighter, on-the-go solution for a quick calm. Both can only be purchased at www.hoolest.com and due to tight margins, production isn’t at mass-market levels yet. The Hoolest team is working on more efficient options and hopes to offer future versions of VeRelief on the shelves at Target or CVS in the next two years. “We want to make an even more affordable, comfortable device for everyone,” he says.
Looking forward, Dr. Hool says they’re partnering with organizations that align with their company’s vision, like functional neurologists from the Carrick Institute. They’re collaborating on ultra-calming headphones that synchronize soft music with vagal nerve and magnetic stimulation for in-office patients.
The new headphones and magnetic stimulation systems are already in use at some holistic doctors’ offices and will be available in greater quantities as soon as January 2024.
But there’s no wait for the VeRelief Mini and Prime; both items are in stock and available to ship at www.hoolest.com. You can read more about how people use the devices to stop panic attacks before they start, lower their heart rates in stressful situations, and put their calmest, most confident foot forward in their professional lives. Use code CBJ20 to get 20% off your first order, now through December 24th!
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