Nobody really likes getting needles stuck into them, unless you're talking about acupuncture. Vaccinations and blood-draws aren't much fun, and some kids and adults have serious phobia issues surrounding them. The Buzzy Mini from MMJ Labs is a friendly little gadget that uses a combination of cold and vibrations to distract your body and brain from the injection site. Suddenly, needles aren't so scary anymore.
Buzzy creator Dr. Amy Baxter came up with the idea in 2004 as a way to help her young needle-phobic son get his shots. She scraped together a prototype from cell phone parts, and it worked like a champ. Fast-forward to CES 2014 and Buzzy, which originally landed in hospitals and doctors' offices, is now available in a form for consumers to buy.
The Buzzy Mini costs $39.95 and comes with a small ice pack and a handheld device available in plain black, or with a bee or ladybug design. For a regular vaccination, you hold the ice pack and Buzzy on your skin for about 30 seconds. Remove the ice pack, relocate the Buzzy just above the injection site, and get your injection without the pinching pain. Baxter says reactions range from not feeling anything to a "dull, toothpick kind of sensation" if you're concentrating on the shot.
While Buzzy was created to soothe the shot process, users also have adopted it to distract themselves from the itching of eczema or the pain from conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. The idea is to place it above the location of the pain. So you would apply the Buzzy Mini to your forearm if your wrist is hurting. "It has to be between the brain and the pain to work," Baxter said.
I tried out the Buzzy Mini for myself, minus the ice pack. It created a pleasant sensation across my skin. I'm already thinking ahead to my next flu shot. I'm not afraid of needles, but I sure don't like them. I may put on a brave face, but anything that would prevent the pain of the poke seems like a winning idea. For kids or adults who have to deal with regular injections, it would be even more of a friend.