What is cranial electrotherapy stimulation? To the uninitiated “cranial electrotherapy stimulation” might sound painful, but in fact electrotherapy stimulation is actually a recognized type of treatment for depression, headaches, insomnia, and even drug addiction. It can also be used to treat chronic pain, including the symptoms of fibromyalgia and spinal cord injuries.
As you might deduce, cranial electrotherapy stimulation involves the use of electrical current for therapeutic purposes, but unlike the electric shock treatments used to treat psychiatric patients in Victorian times, cranial electrotherapy stimulation uses extremely low currents of electricity to change the electrical activity in the brain.
The treatment was first used in US in the 1960s. It originated in Russia and Eastern Europe and was referred to as electrosleep treatment before being renamed as cranial electrotherapy stimulation by the FDA in the 1070s.
What is cranial electrotherapy stimulation?
Low levels of electrical current are believed to be beneficial because they stimulate the brain into producing more serotonin and beta-endorphins as well as lowering the levels of tryptophan and cortisol. Clinical tests on patients receiving this treatment have indicated that endorphins and serotonin levels rise dramatically after only a short amount of time, so even a quick twenty minute session can have a positive effect.
The cranial electrical stimulation also increases alpha rhythms in the brain, which causes feelings of euphoria and serenity. Increased alpha rhythms are associated with relaxation and can help to counteract stress and anxiety. And as alpha rhythms increase, delta rhythms decrease and jangling thought patterns cease.
How is cranial electrotherapy stimulation carried out?
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation is a non invasive treatment. Small electrodes are placed on both sides of the head near the ears and micro currents are passed across the skull. Low levels of electricity are perfectly safe—unlike the type of electricity you would be exposed to if you stuck your finger in an electricity outlet! The current used is very low and is almost the same as that found in the body naturally, so it is considered to be a very safe type of therapy.
Is cranial electrotherapy stimulation painful?
Because very low levels of electricity are used in the treatment, there is no possibility of cellular damage to the brain, so unlike the days of violent electric shock treatments performed on unwilling patients, you will not feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment.
How effective is cranial electrotherapy stimulation?
Advocates of cranial electrotherapy stimulation say the treatment is very effective and many patients can expect to feel the benefits after only one session. However, not all patients will see such a fast result and some may not react to the cranial electrotherapy stimulation for several weeks, so it is not a quick-fix solution for depression or other illnesses.
Are there any side effects of cranial electrotherapy stimulation?
Millions of people have tried cranial electrotherapy stimulation as a way of treating the symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders, persistent headaches and a multitude of other health problems, and to date there have been no reports of any significant long term health problems as a result of the treatment.