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Alpha-Stim® Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) to relieve pain, self-injurious behaviour, improve sleep and anxiety

Posted by: | Posted on: November 27th, 2013 | 1 Comments


Call for participants

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) is a non-invasive electromedical treatment shown to decrease anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain. This form of therapy has been used in research and clinical settings since 1979 with adults and children suffering from these conditions. There is no contraindication other than pregnancy and only minor and temporary side effects may be experienced, such as vertigo, tingling at electrode sites and headaches. CES is FDA approved. A list of research and clinical trial studies can be found here.

A weak electric current (0.1mA) is applied to the brain via two electrodes placed on the ear lobes for 60 min. The current is delivered by a device the size of a small calculator. It is a parent-directed home intervention. The device stimulates a number of brain areas involved in emotions such as the reticular activating system, thalamus, hypothalamus and limbic system and leads to significant changes in EEG (Electro Encephalogramme), increasing the alpha waves (8-12Hz) and decreasing the delta (0-3.5Hz) and beta (12.5-30 Hz) frequencies. Alpha waves are associated with increased relaxation and improved mental alertness and clarity. A reduction of delta waves is associated with a reduction in fatigue whilst a decreased in beta waves is associated with decreased anxiety, ruminative thoughts and OCD-like behaviours.

These changes are molecularly associated with increased beta-endorphins levels (decreases pain), increased adrenocorticotrophic hormone (promotes homeostasis), increased serotonin level (improves mood, increases pain tolerance and decreases insomnia), increased melatonin (improves facility to fall asleep), increased norepinephrine (increases pleasure and increased arousal), reduced cortisol level (decreases stress), increased cholinesterase (increases relaxation), increases GABA (reduces spasticity), and increased dehydroepiandrosterone (improved immune function).

Autism is a condition increasingly prevalent in EU and in the US which is now affecting 1-2% of the children. Autistic children are not solely affected in their social communication and behaviour, they also present with health issues affecting their metabolism, autonomic, digestive and immune functions. Commonly the children present with sleep disturbances, challenging behaviour including aggression to others and property as well as SIB, and anxiety issues. A number of studies have shown deregulated adrenal and autonomic function and low serotonin levels in people with autism.


Children and adults with autism presenting with challenging behaviours (CB), including pain, self-injurious behaviour (SIB), sleep disturbances and anxiety.


Outcomes will be assessed by comparing post (at 1 and 2 months) and pre-treatment levels of sleep (hours of sleep), CB and SIB (number of events, total duration of SIB/CB), pain-related behaviours (Non-Communicative Children’s Pain Check List), social responsiveness (SRS-2), sensory profile (Sensory Processing Measure) and ATEC scores (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist).

If you are interested to learn more about this study, please contact us.


A list of research and clinical trial studies can be found here.
Anxiety Research
Insomnia Research
Depression Research
Pain Research
These are copies of the Media Articles from the UK
More about how CES works
Expected results 

Comments (1)

  1. ANDREA GOLBEY - Reply
    November 28, 2013

    I am interested in this study. I have a 7 year old son with ASD

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