Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation / CES Therapy
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)
FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY. NOT INTENDED TO TREAT OR CURE
I am a researcher of alternative medicine and not a medical professional. Due to
U.S. FDA regulations and various State laws, I cannot make any medical claims
for experimenting with electro-therapies. All information on this website
referring to healing treatment therapies must be considered theoretical and
unproven and for experimental research only.
Disclaimer: I, Shirley Emmons,
the sole author of
Take full responsibility for anything written about the
SOTA instruments on this website, which is my sole opinion;
Want it to be known that the manufacturer of the SOTA
instruments has not written or endorsed any of the information on this site
about cancer or any other modality including any protocols that have been
written for use with the SOTA Silver Pulser, Magnetic Pulser or Water Ozonator
Want it to be known that (a) The manufacturers of the SOTA
instruments sell electronic test equipment and do not make any medical claims
for their devices and (b) I have not been granted license, permission or
authority by the manufacturer of the SOTA instruments to make any medical claims
for that company.
On this Page:
What is CES?
How does CES work?
CES has Few recorded Side Effects
Applications of CES
How Long and How Often is CES Treatment Needed?
CES Units are Easy to Us
Studies on CES Indicate its Effectiveness
Therapeutic PEMFs Handle Stress Symptoms
For Those who Would like more Technical Details on CES
Bio-Tuner ("Brain Tuner")
What is CES?
CES stimulates the brain with specific frequency patterns, which have
been successfully used to resolve depression, insomnia, stress, poor memory and
drug addictions – a
safe, effective alternative to drugs, CES is an FDA-approved treatment for both
situational and chronic anxiety, depression and insomnia. Over 100 human and 20
animal studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of CES in treating these and
other disorders, including substance abuse and pain
Lichtbroun, Raicer & Smith, 2001; Kirsch & Smith, 2000; Thuile & Kirsch, 2000
CES leaves the user in what psychologists call an
alpha state –
alpha-wave activity in the brain may also be achieved through such as
meditation, relaxation, chanting, and hypnotherapy. After CES, people report
that their bodies feel lighter, while their thinking is clearer and more
CES is NOT "Shock therapy", it is the application to the head area (using a
frequency generator, such as the
Bio-Tuner ("Brain Tuner")
a very weak pulsed electrical current for medical and/or psychological purposes
The electrical current used in CES is
typically less than 1 mA (11,000
times less than the current needed to power a light bulb). The electromagnetic
fields produced by the current used in CES are very similar to the electrical
fields naturally present in the body.
No negative effects or major contraindications -
have been found from the use of CES to date,
either in the U.S. or other parts of the world.
CES has been an international treatment modality for more than 50 years
CES for treatment of anxiety began in the Soviet Union during the
1950's, its primary focus being the treatment of sleep disorders, hence its
initial designation as "Electrosleep."
CES is presently an under-utilized therapy -
because we have been conditioned to
believe that for every symptom or disease there is a solution in a pill. When it
comes to treating anxiety, depression and insomnia, conventional medicine
focuses on chemically manipulating neurotransmitter activity in the
brain. However, the brain and body
are also electrical in nature. Electro-medicine (including CES) is
designed primarily to impact the
electrical nature of the body.
How does CES work?
The exact physiological mechanism by which CES
works is not fully understood and is still the subject of research study
cells in your body constantly draw energy from the brain and the Earth's
electromagnetic field in an effort to achieve what is called "magnetic
resonance." Magnetic resonance occurs when the magnetic frequency in your
brain matches a harmonic of the frequencies of the other organs and body
tissues. This normally occurs for only brief periods during sleep. During
these periods, your body's ability to heal and repair itself, create enzymes,
and boost immunity is enhanced”.
Dr. David Williams, Alternatives, March 2004
It appears that CES
influences areas of the brain called the thalamus, hypothalamus and the
reticular activating system
(the part of the brain believed to be the center of arousal and motivation).
Brotman, 1989; Gibson & O’Hair, 1987; Madden & Kirsch, 1987.
Specific electronic frequencies appear to
stimulate the brain to manufacture and rebalance certain brain neurotransmitter
chemicals, such as endorphins,
etc. - that may be involved in many stress
related conditions. This can affect ones moods and emotions as well as ones
Shealy et al, “Cerebrospinal fluid
and plasma neurochemicals:response to CES”, J. of Neurological and Orthopedic
Medicine and Surgery, 1998
CES substantially reduces muscle tension
as shown by EMG recordings. There are reports of changes in heart, blood
pressure, galvanic skin responses and increased peripheral temperature,
consistent with positive autonomic effects, which maintain homeostasis in the
Heffernan M., “The effect of a single
cranial electrotherapy stimulation on multiple stress measures”, The Townsends
Letter for Doctors and Patients, 1995
CES seems to stimulate the vagus nerve - producing a state of parasympathetic nervous system dominance, a
system which has a
general calming effect on the body.
This is certainly consistent with the effects observed with CES.
CES normalizes the body’s electrical fields that
are disturbed with injury or pain -
been measured on EEG (brain wave tracing).
people with moderate to severe pain from
osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)
are found to have ABNORMAL
wave activity. After 5 minutes of CES treatment, brain waves were
virtually normal, and pain was reduced by more than 50%. It has been found that
individuals whose brain waves improved the most had the greatest pain relief.
Heffernan M, “The Effects of variable microcurrents on EEG spectrum ans pain
control”, Canadian J. of Clin. Medicine, 1997
It is postulated that CES restores normal
electromagnetic communication between cells -
This may have the effect of regulating cellular differentiation, tissue repair,
and immune system function.
For more detailed information on how CES
affects the body -
At the end of this article, see:
For Those who Would like more Technical Details on
CES is contraindicated in pregnancy and for
individuals with demand-type cardiac pacemakers (built pre-1998)
Care needs to be taken with individuals
on anti–hypertensive medication - as CES
can lower blood pressure.
CES can be used in conjunction with medication,
psychotherapy, biofeedback and other therapies -
It often augments the effects of other treatments.
CES has Few recorded Side Effects
CES is relatively free of side effects
irritation or vertigo, occurred in less than 1% of subjects and were temporary
In contrast, side effects
and addiction of medicines are not uncommon -
Anti-anxiety drugs often leave the patient in a stupor.
With 50 years of use, hundreds of research experiments, and hundreds of
thousands of users, CES has been demonstrated to be 100% safe.
Applications of CES
Life adjustment problems often lead to some degree of anxiety,
which tends to affect the health of our body
Some of the resulting psychogenic illnesses –
abuse withdrawal syndrome - from alcohol,
street drugs, nicotine, prescription drugs;
Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic
Attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity ,
Migraine, tension headaches;
Pre-competitive and performance anxiety
(severe facial pain)
Stress induced asthma
GI disorders, ulcers or gastritis, irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS).
CES is not represented as a cure for these
illnesses, but its ability to
successfully address the anxiety, depression, and insomnia underlying these
disorders, plays a major role in the healing process.
Ability to Focus
Centering and Calmness
Better Sexual Performance
Deeper, more Restful Sleep
Reduced Nervous Energy
Improved Attention Span and Concentration
Increased Mental and Physical Energy
Reduced Negative Behavior Patterns
Short Term Memory Improvement
CES speeds time to fall
asleep, increases time spent in deepest
(stage 4 - delta) sleep and amount of
time in bed spent asleep.
CES does not necessarily put a person to sleep,
but accomplishes these sleep pattern changes for those with insomnia.
CES improves both state
and trait anxiety. State anxiety is situational; for example, stress from undergoing a
Trait anxiety is more engrained in the
personality. Drugs only work as long as they are taken but CES
has demonstrated excellent long-term effects on trait anxiety.
CES helps prevent rebound depression in patients being weaned off
While medication may be effective in treating
symptoms of anxiety or depression, it interferes with the re-establishment
of hormonal homeostasis in the brain. In contrast, CES restores balance to the
Pain relief -
CES is very effective
for pain relief.
A few documented, responsive chronic pain states
Fibromyalgia patients with severe chronic
headaches, who had failed to respond to biofeedback, low tyramine diet, physical
therapy and local injections, were treated with CES.
About half of the 75 subjects had a significant reduction in the
frequency and intensity of headaches. This study also found an overall decrease
in the sensitivity of six main tender points on various body parts
Lower back pain
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
Migraine - CES
reduce frequency, intensity and duration
of migraine headaches.
Cancer Pain -
In every case there was a positive effect in
decreasing pain applying CES
treatments to severe intractable cancer pain that failed to achieve relief with
heavy medication and surgery (studies conducted by the Division of
Otolaryngology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the
Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio)
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation -
CES helps to get through the
psychologically and physically demanding period of withdrawal
by reducing the common withdrawal symptoms of extreme anxiety, depression,
and insomnia, regardless of the involved substance. CES has been studied with
from addictions to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, morphine and
barbiturates. CES studies have found that recovering addicts
anxiety, hostility, depression and confusion;
Improved planning, self
esteem, assertiveness, decision-making skills, expression of feelings, energy
levels, IQ and capacity for intimate contact;
These beneficial effects bring a 50%
reduction in recidivism for substance abusers (over two years of study). It
seems that when a person turns to drugs, the brain gives up making its own
pain-killers (endorphins), but putting a weak electromagnetic signal into the
body, especially the head area, stimulates the brain into producing endorphins
again. Amazingly, the craving for the
drug disappears in 3 to 10 days and without withdrawal symptoms.
The only drug that can not be kicked so
quickly is tobacco, considered by many to be the most addictive substance
known to man.
Closed head injuries
Excess acid secretion by the stomach
Bulimia and anorexia nervosa
Double blind, placebo controlled studies have found CES to reduce anxiety and
the requirement for anesthesia during dental procedures;
Neurological Diseases -
Research points to the conclusion
that many neurological diseases share similar electro-physiologic anomalies,
which can be found in brain waves of the following neurological disease states:
Cluster and other headache syndromes
Severe PMS/Menstrual related symptoms
Insomnia / Sleeping disorders
Undiagnosed muscle twitch
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
CES is Not Just for the Sick
You don't have to be "sick" or "losing it" to realize the benefits of CES -
in stressful situations, perhaps for as little as 10 minutes, can help curb
anxiety and serve as a reminder that one needs to be oneself in a different way.
quiets the mind.
especially helpful in preparing for examinations or as an accelerated learning
tool - such as when memorizing blocks of material.
For the athlete
readying for competition -
it helps create a state of relaxed
awareness helping them prepare for maximum performance.
CES to assist in their creative work
How Long and How Often is CES Treatment Needed?
Response to CES treatment is very individual - Treatment effects tend to be
When brain neurotransmitters are back in
balance no further improvement will be noticed.
People often feel relaxed
and alert from a CES treatment -
This state may last for 12 to 72 hours after the
first few treatments. Initially, treatments are more frequent, then as results
are seen, the frequency of treatments can be tapered off to an "as needed"
Results in treating
anxiety are usually long lasting, provided 4 to 6 treatments have been given -
Typically, anxiety is reduced during the initial treatment (Some cases - up to a
day after treatment);
Mild depression and
mild chronic pain conditions generally remit after 10 days of treatment;
endogenous depression may require 3 or more weeks of daily treatment
once daily tapering to 3 treatments per week after two weeks. Optimal treatment
time is within 3 hours before sleep (e.g. 4-7 p.m. if bedtime is10:00 p.m.).
Primary treatment affect is in Stage 4 (delta) sleep;
treatments of 20-minute sessions are sometimes needed 2 to 3 times per week
CES Units are Easy to Use
Most CES units, such as the
are user-friendly and painless - After clipping the electrodes to your ear lobes
and inserting the lead wire into the
jack, it's very simple. The SOTA "SOTA
“Bio-Tuner" features an on-off knob that also controls the amplitude
(turning it to the right increases the amount of current). Start with a low
current and gradually increase it.
Bio-Tuner ("Brain Tuner")
Studies on CES Indicate its
Effects of CES on anxiety and depression -
Dr. Ray Smith, a leading researcher in CES, shared some amazing
statistics after measuring the effects of CES on anxiety and depression in
hundreds of patients. He has used daily 1-hour treatments, 5 days per week.
7 treatments - 96% of anxiety patients are free of anxiety.
10 to 13 treatments - 94% of patients have resolution of depression.
Long Lasting Effects -
Dr. Smith has seen these results maintained for 12 months after treatment in
111 patients. 33 patients were followed
for 13 to 20 months after treatment and were still cured.
CES has consistently demonstrated reductions in
in studies that have used 27 different
psychometric (pencil and paper) tests including the Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory and the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory.
Slowing of brain waves and respiration rate, as
well as reduction in blood pressure -
are physical signs of stress reduction that have been documented with CES
treatment in studies that have measured the physiological manifestations of
anxiety before and after CES treatment.
Chronic Stress Symptoms -
One placebo-controlled study evaluated the effects of CES treatment in 20
individuals with chronic stress symptoms of at least a year’s duration. All of
them had failed to respond to medication. Muscle tension, heart rate and finger
temperature were measured BEFORE, IMMEDIATELY AFTER, and 1 WEEK
single 20 minute CES treatment:
Immediately after treatment
Muscle tension and heart rate decreased
and finger temperature increased in those
receiving active CES treatment but not in the placebo (sham CES) group.
One week after treatment -
those who had received active CES
treatment still had significantly reduced muscle tension and heart rate!
This is one of the many advantages of CES over medications. Medications only
work as long as they are taken, whereas the
effects of CES are cumulative and lasting.
The long-term benefits of CES were demonstrated
in another study - which examined the effects of CES on
individuals with stress related attention deficit disorder (8 out of 23
subjects had a primary diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder). CES treatments
of 45 minutes duration were given daily for 3 weeks. The treatments resulted in
reductions in anxiety and depression and improvement in IQ. 18 to 20 months
after treatment, CES benefits were still retained, as demonstrated by
maintenance or improvement of IQ scores!
Drug Addictions -
Effectiveness of using CES was established by a Chinese acupuncturist, Dr. Wen,
in Hong Kong in the 1970s. By using
CES on hundreds of patients at a clinic, most of whom were on drugs of one kind
or another, alcohol, nicotine, heroin, etc, consciously or unconsciously trying
to relieve stress, Dr. Wen helped them "kick" their drug habits.
Therapeutic PEMFs Handle Stress Symptoms
PEMFs using known beneficial frequencies prevent
and manage stress reactions in the body -
Not only do they
activate the parasympathetic "relaxation response" nervous system,
but they increase blood flow and oxygen
levels at a cellular level. A daily PEMF routine will reduce the
physiologic response to stress such as irritability, headaches, hypertension,
gastritis, arrhythmias, depression, fatigue, immune deficiencies, etc.
Excerpts from “Effects of
Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs) on STRESS” - By William Pawluk, MD, MSc.:
Research, on humans and animals, has shown
generally decrease the excitability of the nervous system and corrects emotional
reactions accompanying stress - PEMFs produce a number of anti-stress changes in
the body, both to:
Ward off stress (create stress resistance)
Decrease the hormonal, immune,
neurologic, soft tissue, cardiac, vascular, low pH and low-oxygen damage caused
From this perspective, very low-level PEMFs used regularly should be
able to prevent or reverse many of the effects of stress that all of us
PEMFs alter stress response by acting directly on
the nervous system, glands, cells, tissues and organs:
EFFECT OF PEMFs
(SAS) is activated
activation of the SAS.
Prevent decreases in nonspecific stress resistance
Warding off stress)
Increased sympathetic nervous system arousal increases
such as ADRENALIN and NORADRENALIN
catecholamines ADRENALIN and NORADRENALIN DECREASE -
PEMFs do this by
acting on the hypothalamus and
excretion of ADRENALIN.
quickly and significantly decreases the white blood cell count
(even stress caused by lack of sleep and travel)
- and thus compromises the
System Mechanisms Improve: Neutrophils increase gradually. Neutrophil metabolism and superoxide
production are increased significantly.
Stress can cause blood CORTISOL to
double or even triple
(amount of CORTISOL l in the
blood indicates the degree of stress present).
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
plays a key role in the body’s adaptation to stress
cause Ascorbic acid and
SEROTONIN concentration levels to nearly double at one month
of exposure - By the third month, ascorbic acid concentration
returns to the pre-exposure level, while serotonin remains
significantly increased. Thus, by enhancing ascorbic acid function,
PEMFs may also be useful in acute stress situations.
Zotochkina, E. G.; Bylinkina, T. I. ASCORBIC ACID, SEROTONIN AND
HISTAMINE AS INDICATORS OF THE TYPE OF ADAPTIVE RESPONSE TO
ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD EXPOSURE IN RATS. Gig Sanit (4):43-44, 1993
For Those who Would like more Technical Details on CES
The following is a Chapter Reprint
MANAGEMENT: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR CLINICIANS
Kirsch, Ph.D., D.A.A.P.M.
Textbook of the American Academy of Pain Management
Boca Raton, Florida, 2001 Revision.
copyright 2001 by D. L. Kirsch, Mineral Wells, Texas.
high-lighting has been added
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation
(CES) is the application of low-level, pulsed electrical currents (usually not
exceeding one milliampere), applied to the head for medical and/or psychological
purposes. It is primarily used to treat both state (situational) and trait
(chronic) anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress related and drug addiction
disorders, but it is also proving indispensable for treating pain patients
(Lichtbroun, Raicer & Smith, 2001; Kirsch & Smith, 2000; Thuile & Kirsch, 2000).
Drs. Leduc and Rouxeau of France were first to experiment with low
intensity electrical stimulation of the brain in 1902. Initially, this method
was called electrosleep as it was thought to be able to induce sleep. Since
then, it has been referred to by many other names, the most popular being
transcranial electrotherapy (TCET) and neuroelectric therapy (NET). Research on
using what is now referred to as cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) began
in the Soviet Union during the 1950’s.
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation is a simple treatment that can
easily be administered at any time. The current is applied by easy-to-use clip
electrodes that attach on the ear lobes, or by stethoscope-type electrodes
placed behind the ears. In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, electrodes were placed
directly on the eyes because it was thought that the low level of current used
in CES could not otherwise penetrate the cranium. This electrode placement was
abandoned over 20 years ago. Recent research has shown that from 1 mA of
current, about 5 µA/cm2 of CES reaches the thalamic area at a radius of 13.30 mm
which is sufficient to affect the manufacture and release of neurotransmitters
Anxiety reduction is usually experienced during a treatment, but may be
seen hours later, or as late as one day after treatment. Although in some people
it may require a series of five to ten daily treatments to be effective. Severe
depression often takes up to three weeks to establish a therapeutic effect.
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation leaves the user alert while inducing
a relaxed state. Psychologists call this an alpha state. The effect differs from
pharmaceutical treatment in that people usually report feeling that their bodies
are more relaxed, while their minds are more alert. Most people experience a
feeling that their bodies are lighter, while thinking is clearer and more
creative. A mild tingling sensation at the electrode sites may also be
experienced during treatment. The current should never be raised to a level that
is uncomfortable. One 20-minute session is often all that is needed to
effectively control anxiety for at least a day, and the effects are usually
cumulative. If the patient can only tolerate a small amount of current (<200
µA), due to vertigo or nausea, more time is required. Cranial electrotherapy
stimulation may also be used as an adjunct to anxiolytic or anti-depressive
medication, but the dosage of medication should then be reduced by approximately
one-third. It is also proven to be an effective complimentary treatment along
with psychotherapy, biofeedback training, and surgical anesthesia (Kirsch,
1999). For people who have difficulty falling asleep, CES should be used in the
morning to avoid the possibility of increased alertness that may interfere with
Most people can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.
Some people may experience an euphoric feeling, or a state of deep relaxation
that may temporarily impair their mental and/or physical abilities for the
performance of potentially hazardous tasks, such as operating a motor vehicle or
heavy machinery, for up to several hours after treatment.
At present, there are over 100 research studies on CES in humans and 20
experimental animal studies (Kirsch, 1999). No significant lasting side effects
have ever been reported. Occasional self-limiting headache (1 out of 450),
discomfort or skin irritation under the electrodes (1 out of 811), or
lightheadedness may occur. A rare patient with a history of vertigo may
experience dizziness for hours or days after treatment.
Most cranial electrotherapy stimulators are limited to 600 µA. To put
this into perspective, it takes one-half of an ampere to light an ordinary 60
watt light bulb. To truly compare the work done per second by these two
different currents, we must multiply the currents by the respective voltages
that drive them. The product of current x voltage is a measure of the rate of
generation of energy, and is referred to as the power output. By definition,
when a device outputs one ampere of current with a one volt driving force, the
power output of the device is one watt. Therefore a device producing a maximum
output of 600 µA is limited to about 11,000 times less power than the light
bulb: (600/1,000,000)amperes x 9 volts = 0.0054 watts. Some people do not even
feel this amount of current.
As in many areas of biology and
therapy, the evidence of CES effectiveness is empirical. It is generally
believed that the
effects are primarily mediated through a direct
action on the brain at the limbic system, the hypothalamus and/or reticular
activating system (Brotman, 1989; Gibson & O’Hair, 1987; Madden &
Kirsch, 1987). The primary role of the reticular activating system is the
regulation of electrocortical activity. These are primitive brain stem
structures. The functions of these areas and their influence on our emotional
states were mapped using electrical stimulation. Electrical stimulation of the
periaqueductal gray matter has been shown to activate descending inhibitory
pathways from the medial brainstem to the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, in a
manner similar to ß-endorphins (Salar, 1981; Pert, 1981; Ng, 1975). Cortical
inhibition is a factor in the Melzack-Wall Gate Control theory (Melzack, 1975).
Toriyama (1975) suggested it is possible that CES may produce its effects
through parasympathetic autonomic nervous system dominance via stimulation of
the vagus nerve (CN X). Taylor (1991) added
other cranial nerves such as the trigeminal (CN V), facial (CN VII), and
glossopharyngeal (CN IX). Fields (1975) showed that electrocortical activity
produced by stimulation of the trigeminal nerve is implicated in the function of
the limbic region of the midbrain affecting emotions. Substance P and enkephalin
have been found in the trigeminal nucleus, and are postulated to be involved in
limbic emotional brain structures (Hokfelt, 1977). The auditory-vertigo nerve
(CN VIII) must also be effected by CES, accounting for the dizziness one
experiences when the current is too high. Ideally, CES electrodes are placed on
the ear lobes because that is a convenient way to direct current through the
midbrain and brain stem structures.
From studies of CES in monkeys,
Jarzembski (1970) measured 42% to 46% of the current entering the brain, with
the highest concentration in the limbic region. Rat studies by Krupisky (1991)
showed as much as a threefold increase in ß-endorphin concentration after just
one CES treatment. Pozos (1971) conducted mongrel dog research that suggests CES
releases dopamine in the basal ganglia, and that the overall physiological
effects appear to be anticholinergic and catecholamine-like in action. Richter
(1972) found the size, location, and distribution of synaptic vesicles were all
within normal limits after a series of ten, one-hour treatments in Rhesus
monkeys. Several studies in stump-tailed macaques and humans revealed a
temporary reduction in gastric hypersecretion (Reigel, 1970; Reigel, 1971;
Wilson, 1970; Kotter, 1975).
A recent review by Kirsch (1999) of
106 human studies involving 5,439 subjects (4,058 receiving cranial
electrotherapy stimulation, while the remainder served as sham-treated or
placebo controls) revealed significant changes associated with anxiolytic
relaxation responses, such as lowered reading on electromyograms (Gibson, 1987;
Forster, 1963; Heffernan, 1995; Overcash, 1989; Voris, 1995), slowing on
electroencephalograms (Braverman, 1990; Cox, 1975; Heffernan, 1996; Heffernan,
1997; Krupitsky, 1991; McKenzie, 1971; Singh, 1971), increased peripheral
temperature, an indicator of vasodilatation (Brotman, 1989; Heffernan, 1995),
reductions in gastric acid output (Kotter, 1975), and in blood pressure, pulse,
respiration, and heart rate (Heffernan, 1995; Taylor, 1991).
The efficacy of CES has also been
clinically confirmed through the use of 27 different psychometric tests. The
significance of CES research for treating anxiety has been reconfirmed through
meta-analyses conducted at the University of Tulsa
by O’Connor (1991), and by Klawansky (1995) at the Department of Health Policy
and Management, Harvard School of Public Health.
Seventeen studies conducted follow-up
investigations from one week to two years after treatment (Brotman, 1989;
Brovar, 1984; Cartwright, 1975; Flemenbaum, 1974; Forster, 1963; Hearst, 1974;
Heffernan, 1995; Hochman, 1988; Koegler, 1971; Magora, 1967; Matteson, 1986;
Moore, 1975; Overcash, 1999; Patterson, 1988; Smith, 1999; Turaeva, 1967; Weiss,
1973). Sixteen of 16 (100%) reported that at least some of the subjects had a
continued improvement after a single CES treatment, or a series of CES
treatments. The other follow-up report only commented on safety (Forster, 1963).
None of the
17 studies revealed any long term harmful effects.
When restricted to anxiety
populations or studies that measured for physiological and/or psychological
changes in anxiety, there are 40 scientific studies of CES, involving 1,835
patients. Thirty-four of the 40 (85%) studies reported efficacious results in
the treatment of anxiety. Five of the studies on CES (all using the Alpha-Stim)
support the effectiveness for managing anxiety during or after a single
treatment (Gibson, 1987; Heffernan, 1995; Smith, 1999; Voris, 1995; Winick,
None of the 6 of 40 (15%) anxiety
studies categorized by the authors as having negative or indeterminate results
were recent, five were done in the 1970’s, and one in 1980. Three showed both
actual treatment and sham groups to improve significantly, most likely because
both groups were also taking medications (Levitt, 1975; Passini, 1976; Von
Richtofen, 1980). One was a depression study in which the author noted that
acute anxiety was not relieved and again, the study did not control for
medications (Hearst, 1974). One reported no significant change on anxiety or
depression scales, but subjective insomnia improved (P<.05) during active
treatment (Moore, 1975). Only one study
conducted on a population of insomniacs, with an average duration of symptoms
for almost 20 years, did not show any significant change at all in any
parameters (Frankel, 1973). [Perhaps the device used in Frankel’s study was
stimulation has been well researched and clearly proven to be the most
effective, and safest method of treatment for anxiety, and anxiety-related
disorders. It is also
highly effective for depression and
insomnia, muscle tension, fibromyalgia and headaches. As an
increasing number of patients seek alternatives to the side effects and
potential addiction to mood-altering pharmaceuticals and controlled substances,
CES offers a viable solution. It is easy enough to offer CES in a
psychologist’s, dentist’s or physician’s office, clinic, or hospital, and
chronically stressed patients will find it cost-effective over time to own their
own CES device.
In addition to the primary claims for
anxiety, depression insomnia, and pain, CES has been researched with significant
results for many other conditions. Smith and Shiromoto (1992) showed it to be
effective in blocking fear perception in phobic patients. Favorable results have
also been reported for labor, epilepsy, hypertension, surgery, spinal cord
injuries, chronic pain, arthritis, cerebral atherosclerosis, eczema, dental
pain, asthma, ischemic heart disease, stroke, motion sickness, digestive
disorders as well as various addictive disorders including cocaine, marijuana,
heroin and alcohol abuse (Wharton, McCoy, & Cofer, 1982; Schmitt,
Capo, et al., 1984; Smith, 1975; Smith, 1982; Patterson, 1983; Daulouede, 1980;
Gomez & Mikhail, 1978; Brovar, 1984; Feighner, Brown, & Olivier, 1973; Overcash
& Siebenthall, 1989).
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) are
two significant pain diagnoses from primary central and autonomic nervous system
etiologies that respond best to CES (Alpher & Kirsch, 1998; Lichtbroun et al.,
1999). Adding somatic treatment with MET to these two conditions does not seem
to improve the outcomes.
Besides specific pathological disorders, there are a growing number of
studies being conducted that show increases in cognitive functions. Michael
Hutchison (1986) discussed several mind enhancement techniques in his book
Megabrain, devoting chapter 9 to CES as a tool for attaining higher levels of
consciousness. Sparked by Hutchison, Madden and Kirsch (1987) completed a study
that demonstrated CES to be a useful tool for improving psychomotor abilities.
Smith (1999) demonstrated that CES
significantly improved stress related cognitive
dysfunction, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), after only three weeks of
treatment, and maintained the effect through an 18-month follow-up assessment.
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation
devices are generally similar in size and appearance to TENS units, but produce
very different waveforms. Standard milliampere-current TENS devices must never
be applied transcranially. CES electrodes can be placed bitemporally, forehead
to posterior neck, bilaterally in the hollow just anterior to the mastoid
processes, or through electrodes clipped to the earlobes. The ear clip method,
developed by the author, is the easiest and possibly most effective electrode
The electrodes must first be wet with
an appropriate conducting solution. When using ear clip electrodes, apply them
to the superior aspect of the ear lobes, as close to the jaw as possible. Start
with a low current and gradually increase it. If the current is too high the
patient may experience a painful stinging sensation at the electrodes,
dizziness, or nausea. If any of these three symptoms arise, immediately reduce
the current and the symptoms will subside in a few moments. After a minute or
two, try increasing the current again, but keep it at a comfortable level. It is
okay for the patient to feel the current as long as it is not uncomfortable.
The ideal treatment time is 20 to 60
minutes, but some patients may achieve the full benefits of a CES treatment
within 10 minutes. Many dentists use it instead of nitrous oxide gas to help
relax patients during dental procedures (Winick, 1999). Sometimes these dental
procedures last for hours with the patient undergoing CES treatment the entire
Although CES treatment is indicated
for insomnia, because of the increased alertness some patients find it difficult
to fall asleep immediately after a treatment. Accordingly, it is recommended
that CES be used at least three hours before going to bed. Also, in most cases
after daily treatments for the first week or two, treating every other day is
usually more effective than daily treatment.
The CES Experience
During the treatment, most patients
will experience a subjective change in their body weight. They may feel heavier
at first and then lighter, or they may feel lighter initially. The patient may
feel worse during the heavy cycle and this feeling can last for hours or even
days in rare cases unless extra treatment time is given. Therefore it is
important to continue the treatment if the patient feels heavier at the end of
the allotted time, even if it has already been 20 minutes or more.
Continue for at least two to five minutes after the
patient feels lighter. Not all patients will be aware of these
Following CES, most people feel better, less distressed, and more
focused on mental tasks. They generally sleep better and report improved
concentration, increased learning abilities, enhanced recall, and a heightened
state of well-being
Psychologists first described these general feelings during the 1970's
as an alpha state of consciousness. Meditation, biofeedback training, relaxation
instructions, chanting, hypnotherapy, and certain religious rituals also produce
such states. This is not the same as the alpha brain wave frequency of 8 to 13
Hz. Often, practitioners are confused by device representatives who claim that
their particular device will output and entrain a brain to the alpha frequency.
There is no evidence to support that CES devices work on an entrainment
There have not been any significant
lasting harmful side effects reported in any of the research literature from
either MET or CES. As with all electrical devices, caution is
advised during pregnancy, and with patients using an older model (pre-1998)
demand-type pacemaker. In addition, it is recommended that patients
do not operate complex machinery or drive automobiles during and shortly after a
Microcurrent electrical therapy and
cranial electrotherapy stimulation are electromedical modalities that use low
level currents that usually do not exceed one milliampere. Beneficial effects
have been reported for a wide variety of pain, psychological distress, and
Pain is a complex process
encompassing the entire nervous system. To achieve optimal results through
electromedical intervention, the peripheral and central nervous systems should
both be treated. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation induces a relaxed, alert
state. It is a primary modality effective for controlling anxiety, depression,
insomnia and generalized stress ubiquitous in pain patients. In addition, there
is mounting evidence that CES can enhance cognitive functions. Because of its
safety and effectiveness, the combination of MET and CES used with the protocols
described here are highly recommended for a broad range of pain and