Blog Post

Cranial Electrical Stimulation Shows Promise

JP asks: "Could you tell me if Cranial Electrical Stimulation is new age? I don't believe it is but I've been deceived before and do not want to get back into anything that is new age."

Cranial Electric Stimulation (CES) is not New Age and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of some conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

According to Brain Blogger, an award winning health and science blog, CES is a form of treatment that sends a low intensity micro-current to the brain. This treatment is delivered non-invasively through a device that delivers current to the brain via a hand-held machine through electrodes that are attached on or behind the ears.

"A wide body of research suggests that the technique effectively treats insomnia, depression and anxiety (the only FDA approved uses). Scientific data also shows promise for other conditions such as pain, tension/migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, and ADHD," Brain Blogger reports.

"CES might also provide benefits for chemical dependencies (such as street and prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco); that is, it might help the insomnia, anxiety and depression that often manifest during withdrawal."

The devices, which are designed for home use and sold by prescription in the U.S., do require ongoing medical follow-up. Although patient protocols vary, a person suffering from anxiety might typically use the device for 20-60 minutes a day for two to three weeks, gradually decreasing use after this time. Patients can use the device while reading or watching television, but are cautioned not to drive or operate machinery during, or for 30 minutes after, using the machine. Most patients begin to fell better after just one or two treatments.

"Researchers don’t fully understand the mechanisms involved, but theorize that CES electrical current helps reestablish optimal brain chemistry and improves efficiency of neural connections," Brain Blogger reports.

While this treatment has been subjected to peer-reviewed study, testing has not yet been sufficient to determine how practical and cost-effective it is to treat these conditions with CES.

However, it does have an excellent safety record, few side-effects and is said to work well for all ages.

" . . . CES users sometimes have temporary headaches, lightheadedness, skin irritation from electrodes and rare paradoxical reactions (such as excitement, anxiety, sleep problems, or increases in pre-existing depression)," Brain Blogger reports. "Pregnant or lactating women, people with implanted bioelectrical devices, or those taking supplements or medications affecting the brain or vascular system should first consult with a physician. Of 17 follow-up studies conducted up to two years after treatment, none showed negative effects. Very few major short or long-term problems have therefore been found, and several of the devices carry FDA approval."

Click here to read more about CES.