What is CES (Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation) treatment?


Cranial electrotherapy stimulation is the application of a small electric current to the brain via electrodes. This treatment is typically used for sleep disorders, depression and anxiety. The process of applying the electrical currents in cranial electrotherapy stimulation has been shown to have positive effects on mood, concentration levels, and feelings of overall well-being. Cranial electrotherapy can be administered at home or in a professional setting with supervision from healthcare professionals who are trained in its use.

cranial electrotherapy stimulation
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation @sleepbiohacker

CES (Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation) treatment is one of the last treatment methods developed within the scope of electro medicine.

CES Stimulation treatment aims to apply the specially produced micro current applied with electrodes placed in the ear to the target brain regions.

How was CES Stimulation Therapy found?

It is a program developed by Dr. Daniel Kirsh, director of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York (USA). Dr. Kirsh, who has been working in the Center for Pain and Stress-Related Diseases, has been interested in this issue since 1972.

Based on the brief history of Electrical Medicine, the FDA (US Pharmaceuticals, Food and Therapy approval agency) adopted the CES definition in 1978. Reliability and effectiveness studies have been carried out so far in 160 human and animal studies (Safety and Effectiveness).

It was used as a physical therapy technique in soft tissue pain in the 1970s with the name of TENS (Transcutaneal Electrical Neural Stimulation). This technique could not be used widely due to its counter-irritant properties and the pain came back in a short time. Later, microcurrent devices were produced. These devices were altering pain messages in tissues.

Dr. D. Kirsch completed his studies in Chronic Pain and Stress. He submitted CES (KET WARNING) treatment to the FDA for Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia and MET (MET WARNING) (Microcurrent Electrical Therapy) treatment for Chronic pain and got its approval. It can now be used with a doctor’s prescription.

The current used in both systems is a special current. It is the combined waveform that activates the bio electric current that the body naturally produces.

what is ces (cranial electrotherapy stimulation) treatment? 1
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation @doctor.mom.entrepreneur

What is MET Therapy?

It is the form of microstimulation therapy used for pain. It is known as “Microcurrent Electrobiological Treatment”. It is applied to the painful areas deemed necessary by the physician with pen-shaped electrodes.

The characteristic of the current is the same as the waveform in CES treatment. It is approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic pain.

It is predicted to normalize the body’s optimal electromagnetic internal balance (Homeostasis) by altering nerve cell transmissions.

How does CES effect?

During CES therapy, the current moves in the hypothalamus region of the brain. There are findings indicating that chemical transmitters such as endorphin, serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine are increased in the brain, and cortisol hormone is decreased. CES treatment is effective; It is understood by the feeling that the person is awake, alert and relaxed at the same time. This feature is characteristic of the increase in alpha brain wave. Some users stated that their anxiety decreased during the treatment and some users stated that their joy increased. Some users report a feeling of burning inside and / or a sense of mind-opening. If no results are obtained in 5-10 sessions, it is considered that the treatment is not successful.

CES – Properties of MET Stimulation devices

• It is a portable device with a size of 15-20 cm that works with a nine volt battery. It consists of two parts.

• Part 1: Used in CES (Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation) Stimulation Therapy. Micro current is sent to the brain with the help of an apparatus attached to the earlobes. It is used with doctor’s recommendation in Anxiety, Depression and Sleep Disorder. Addiction, Attention Deficit, Mental Difficulty, Psychological Based Pain can also be included in the treatment protocol.

• Part 2: MET (Microcurrent Electrobiological Treatment) apparatus; It is produced as special probes in the form of a pencil. With the help of these probes, current can be given to the painful areas. It has a cumulative (cumulative) effect. It is used in chronic pain. It is known to increase the release of endorphins.

CES – Effects of MET treatments on brain and body biochemistry

According to Norman Sheady’s research, serotonin from neurochemicals increases by -40% in blood and 50-200% in cerebrospinal fluid during stimulation. The pain relief hormone beta endorphin increases 98% in the blood (Plasma) and 219% in the cerebrospinal fluid.

EEG changes caused by CES – MET treatments

It is known to increase the brain wave amplitude (P 300 amplitude) and sleep spindles and increase alpha wave production. It is seen that it reduces the Delta and Theta waves.

CES – Some research into MET treatments

Jarzembski from the University of Wisconsin and his research group found in animal experiments that the current is channeled through the Limbic system. As is known in the limbic system, psychophysiological basic brain areas.

Ferdjallah from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin showed that 1 amp of current reaches the thalamic region of the brain. These findings are proof that 1 ampere current is sufficient to affect the production and release of neurotransmitter (chemical carrier) (1,3).

Microcurrent treatments; It stimulates the HPA (Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal) axis, which controls the brain regions responsible for pain messages, neurotransmitter (chemical carrier) formation, and the production and control of important hormones.

They are FDA approved treatments. Articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Its scientific value has been proven by uncontrolled, controlled single-blind, placebo-controlled double-blind, shame-controlled studies and open clinical studies.

There are many studies indicating that the use of microcurrent treatments at the same time with drug treatments decreases by one-third (4-10). Dog subjects were examined in 5 different study series at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Drugs that disrupt the chemical balance in the brains of dogs and cause Parkinson-like symptoms were used. The animals needed 4-7 days to return to normal behavior after the drugs were stopped. In contrast, it was observed that the neurochemical balance was formed within 3-7 hours in dogs treated with CES.

At the end of these studies, the authors concluded that CES treatment “induces the passage of chemical transmitters in the presynaptic membrane into the synaptic space and increases the production of replacement neurotransmitter substances.” In simpler terms, it can be said that it increases nerve cell membrane permeability and increases intracellular chemical deposits (1,3)

It is now known that small electrical impulses regenerate and repair brain nerve cells. In areas such as cognitive dysfunction (mental slowing), Fibromyalgia, Addiction, Attention Deficit, positive scientific developments and study results are increasing day by day.

EMG results have also been in the direction of understanding muscle tension.

CES – MET treatments side effects

In 126 human studies involving 6007 people, 9 headaches (0.20%) and 5 skin irritations were reported at 0.11%.

It has been reported that these symptoms may increase in the first days in cases with a history of dizziness, nausea and severe headache.

Blood pressure lowering effects are also reported.

The biggest problem to be considered in CES stimulation treatments is mild disorientation. If the time and place orientation deteriorates and a feeling of confusion occurs, the treatment is discontinued.

No addictive use has been reported.

CES – Results of MET treatments

In the book “The Science Behind Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation by Daniel L. Kirsh”, it is stated that 47 physicians studied 500 patients with 22 different diagnoses. Studies involving 2500 patients were published in the American Journal of Pain Management 2001. The results are similar.

60% of the patients had relief at the improvement level, 25% of the patients had partial relief, and some of them had no response to treatment. In pain studies, the recovery rate varies between 50-74%. There are significant results in three-month treatments for tension headache and migraine.

It is also recommended to use the patient’s focus on pre-psychotherapy as a factor that facilitates relaxation before “Biofeedback”.

In the 2004 edition of “Bioelectromagnetic Medicine”, it was seen that 57% improvement was achieved in 1075 patients in the treatment of depression, 62% improvement in 500 cases of anxiety disorder, and 62% improvement in 940 insomnia cases.

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About Author

I was born in Sweden but came to America to study. I'm doing my master's degree on Emdr here. I love to explore different psychotherapy methods and share this information. For your questions, you can contact me at my e-mail address.

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Comments (1)

  1. 4 months ago

    Hello William, great article and an area of research for me.
    I couldn’t find your email, I’d like to read up on some of the references used for the CES article.
    Could you provide a list of the most recent ones you used? Thank you!

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