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Brain Stimulation with Small Amounts of Electricity

Sep 1, 2008
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is a treatment for brain disorders that has actually been around for quite some time. This is a non-invasive method of altering brain functioning by using small amounts of electricity. The general idea behind this technology is that you attach a clip to each of your earlobes and then allow a 80 to 600 microAmpere current to pass through. This is a very tiny amount of electricity and the only thing a person feels is a slight tingling feeling in their ears. This can be performed on a person while they are fully awake and has few side effects in comparison to the more drastic electroshock. This treatment has been shown to improve several different brain based disorders such as depression, insomnia and anxiety.

Researchers are not totally clear on how this device works, but it appears to have an overall stimulating effect on the brain. It may alter various mood regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. It may also release endorphins, the brain's feel good chemical. Recently researchers have tested CES on patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by chronic worry and apprehension, often for no apparent reason. The researchers found that CES showed promising results and there was a significant decrease in anxiety scores in those who were getting the real treatment as opposed to the sham treatment.

Scientists have also tested this device in those with spinal cord injury. They found that CES was able to significantly reduce pain in those with this type of injury. So CES may be able to help those who currently have unmanigable pain. They have also tested it in patients with fibromyalgia and found that patients reduced the amount of pain they felt and increased their well being with this treatment.

The best evidence for CES as a treatment is for depression and insomnia. When compared to antidepressants, CES has a greater mood altering boost than almost any currently marketed antidepressant. The improvement above and beyond the placebo response is a little over 60 percent, while for antidepressants it is usually under 30 percent. So CES may be a powerful mood booster when compared to most other drugs. It is also a cheaper alternative than drugs and costs less over the course of a year than antidepressants. This treatment has also helped those with insomnia sleep better than those treated with sham CES.

So overall, cranial electrotherapy stimulation is an effective way to alleviate many brain based disorders. It has a proven efficacy for depression, insomnia and anxiety. It may also have other beneficial properties such as reducing pain.
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Check out my blog for more information on cranial electrotherapy stimulation and brain diagram and also diagram of brain for more info.
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