Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) apply small pulses of electric current, usually 1mA and below, across the head of the user. FDA approved CES as a treatment for depression, anxiety and insomnia. CES is not new. It has been used in clinics in Europe and USA since 1953, with thousands of patients treated both in clinics and at home.

Cranial Electro Stimulation CES technology

Comparing to Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

Technically speaking, CES is very similar to TENS, as both are using two electro pads or contact point to apply small electric current with a range of pulsing pattern to the body. The key difference will be the amount of electrical current. With TENS, the objective is to apply slightly stronger electrical current with the aim to relieve pain. Find out more about the application of TENS. CES, on the other hand, is to stimulate …

Clinical Studies

Thre are numerous studies done on the topic of Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) over the years. In a meta-analyses studies conducted by Dr Ray B. Smith, published in his book Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation – its First Fifty Years, Plus Three: A Monograph“, studies were done on the treatment of Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, Drug Abstinence, and Cognitive Dysfunction, an average of 44 – 62% improvement was observed across the categories.

Syndrome StudiedNo. of StudiesNo. of SubjectsAvg. Improvement
Drug Abstinence1553560%
Cognitive Dysfunction1364844%
Summary Table from CES – It’s first 50 years, Plus 3 by Dr. Ray B. Smith. Pg. 17. 2007

CES for Insomnia, Anxiety and Depression

Insomnia, anxiety and depression are three of the most common conditions users acquired for home use, as CES device usually is uncomplicated and safe to use at home, and requires very minimal supervision.

CES treatment for Depression
Diagram Extracted from CES Article by Dave Siever, MindAlive

CES Working Principle

There were many theories on the mechanism of how CES works. The most widely accepted explanation is the direct action of the alternating current acted on the brain, by inducing polarisation of the nervous cellular state through alternating current. Our cells during resting is in a resting stage with cellular membrane potential of around -70mV. In an abnormal cellular state, the cellular membrane potential may drop below the desired state, and result in reduced functionality and causing abnormality in neurochemical release and interaction. The polarisation stimulation causing redistribution of ions between the internal and external cellular membrane and can result in restoring the cellular potential needed for healthy function. To learn more about nerve cell membrane electrical potential, refer to Neuroscience, 2nd edition.

CES Devices

Cranio-Electro Stimulation (CES) is a subset of transcutaneous Electro-Neural Stimulation (TENS) technology. The key difference is in the intensity (i.e. ampere). Unlike TENS, CES current intensity is usually set a much lower at 1 mA or below. Most of the time the contact point will just feel a slight tingling, instead of the effect of muscle contraction felt in TENS. To a certain aspect, TENS device can also be used as CES, if they have lower intensity setting, and replacing the electro pad with ear clip that you can apply across the cranium.

However specialised CES device is much recommended, especially when these devices comes with additional brainwave entrainment technologies that can improve the overall effect of treatment. Check out MindAlive Audio-Visual Brainwave Entrainment system with integrated CES technology