How it works?
How does Alpha-Stim® cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) technology work? The exact mechanism by which Alpha-Stim® technology produces effects is not fully known.
However, based on previous and ongoing studies, it appears that the Alpha-Stim® microcurrent waveform activates particular groups of nerve cells that are located at the brainstem. These groups of nerve cells produce the chemicals serotonin and acetylcholine which can affect the chemical activity of nerve cells that are both nearby and at more distant sites in the nervous system. In fact, these cells are situated to control the activity of nerve pathways that run up into the brain and that course down into the spinal cord. By changing the electrical and chemical activity of certain nerve cells in the brainstem, Alpha-Stim® technology appears to amplify activity in some neurological systems, and diminish activity in others.
This neurological ‘fine tuning’ is called modulation, and occurs either as a result of, or together with the production of a certain type of electrical activity pattern in the brain known as an alpha state which can be measured on brain wave recordings (called electro-encephalograms, abbreviated EEG). Such alpha rhythms are accompanied by feelings of calmness, relaxation and increased mental focus. The neurological mechanisms that are occurring during the alpha state appear to decrease stress-effects, reduce agitation and stabilize mood, and regulate both sensations and perceptions of particular types of pain.
These effects can be produced after a single treatment, and repeated treatments have been shown to increase the relative strength and duration of these effects. In some cases, effects have been stable and permanent, suggesting that the electrical and chemical changes evoked by Alpha-Stim® technology have led to a durable re-tuning back to normal function. Electromedical Products International, Inc. is dedicated to continued research into the mechanisms and effects through which Alpha-Stim® technology can be beneficial to patients with pain, anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.
Alpha-Stim® CES engages the serotonergic (5-HT) raphe nuclei of the brainstem. 5-HT inhibits brainstem cholinergic (ACh) and noradrenergic (NE) systems that project supratentorially. This suppresses thalamo-cortical activity, arousal, agitation, alters sensory processing and induces EEG alpha rhythm. As well, 5-HT can act directly to modulate pain sensation in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, and alter pain perception, cognition and emotionality within the limbic forebrain.
James Giordano, Ph.D. is a UNESCO Fellow and Scholar in Residence at the Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC. Dr. Giordano is also Visiting Scholar at the Center for Ethics, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH, and Invited Lecturer at the Roundtable in Arts and Sciences, Oxford University, UK.