View Full Version : Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation

Paregoric Kid
07-25-2007, 04:25 AM
there is a very safe medical device called a Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator which has been shown to be effective to some extent at treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, neuropathic pain, and even drug addiction in some people. it increases endorphins and also raises levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. it works by placing electrodes behind the ears and delivering up to 800 microamperes (very small amount of electricity) to the brain. in some people it can have a euphoric effect that may last up to a few hours and also may produce the sensation of your body feeling lighter or heavier. if you want to build your own go here: http://www.redcircuits.com/Page19.htm here are some interesting notes on CES that have to do with its possible use as a potentiator, a euphoriant, a painkiller, and a withdrawal aid.
"The main property of TCES is to potentiate some drug effects, especially opiates and neuroleptics, during anesthetic clinical procedures. This potentiation effect permits drastic reduction of pharmacological anesthetic agent and reduces post-operative complications." -Transcutaneous cranial electrical stimulation (TCES): a review 1998.
"Indications and Usage: In carefully conducted randomized controlled trials CES has repeatedly shown efficacy in treating mild to moderate primary or secondary anxiety and depressive conditions, normalization of central hemodynamics (systolic and diastolic blood pressure but not peripheral vascular tension) in Stage I hypertension, relieving headache pain (85%) and other types of pain conditions including pain resulting from dental surgery and cancer (35%), and especially in potentiating through centrally-mediated action the effect of analgesic drugs (fentanyl 176%-306%, morphine 174%-306%, alfentanil I 60%-2 15% and dextromoramide 267%-392%), or replacing them altogether and increasing the depth of anesthesia (In one study fentanyl use decreased by 31%.). and increasing attention and the ability to learn new tasks. To a lesser degree CES has been shown effective in relieving primary insomnia (particularly sleep-onset insomnia), mild depression, post-axonic spasticity, minimal brain dysfunction and mood changes subsequent to closed head injury (with corresponding decrease in the need to neuroleptic drugs). Efficacy of CES has been researched in regards to substance abuse recovery (including nicotine and opiate addiction) with mixed results." -CES for neurotransmitter balancing, mood control, IQ gains, sleep, exploration of altered states, peak performance, and much more.

16. Gold, M.S., Pottash, A.L.C., Sternbach, H., Barbaban, J., and Annitto, W. Antiwithdrawal effects of alpha methyl dopa and cranial electrotherapy. Paper presented at Society for Neuroscience. 12th Annual Meeting, October, 1982.

Device not specified.

Chronic opiate user inpatients were randomized for this double-blind study and given either alpha methyl dopa (Aldomet) or placebo Aldomet 48 hours after abruptly removing methadone, or CES or placebo CES. Aldomet and CES were both effective in controlling the effects of acute withdrawal. CES was also effective in controlling the effects of protracted withdrawal. No placebo condition was effective. The authors theorized that CES was effective by stimulating -endorphin, which inhibited the noradrenaline activity at the locus ceruleus. No side effects were reported.

17. Gomez, Evaristo and Mikhail, Adib R. Treatment of methadone withdrawal with cerebral electrotherapy (electrosleep). British Journal of Psychiatry (London). 134:111113, 1979. Also in Gomez, Evaristo and Mikhail, Adib R. Treatment of methadone withdrawal with cerebral electrotherapy (electrosleep). Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Detroit, 1974.

Device: 100 Hz, 2 mS, 0.4 - 1.3 mA, electrodes from the forehead to mastoids

For this single blind study, 28 male heroin addicts, between 18 and 60 years old, undergoing methadone detoxification were selected on the basis of having severe anxiety as measured by the Hamilton Anxiety Scale and Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, difficulties in sleeping, willingness to participate in the study for at least 2 weeks in a locked ward, and agreement not to take any tranquilizers or hypnotics while in the study. This was a self medicated withdrawal study in which methadone was given as requested by the patients as needed to control their withdrawal symptoms. The pts were then randomly divided into a CES treatment group (N = 14) who were taking 20 - 60 mg of methadone/day, a placebo group (N = 7) taking 30 to 40 mg/day, and a waiting in line control group (N = 7) taking 25 - 40 mg/day. CES or sham CES was given for 10 days, Monday through Friday, 30 minutes per day. After 6 - 8 CES treatments, methadone intake was 0 in 9 pts, with another 1 at 0 after 10 treatments. 3 were taking 10 - 15 mg after the 10 treatments. The other active pt dropped out of the study after the first treatment. The pts reported feeling restful and having a general feeling of well-being, their sleep was good and undisturbed after 3 treatments. The Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale scores also came down significantly in the CES group with 7 pts dropping from a mean of 31 before CES to 20 after 10 days (normal is 8 - 18), while the others showed a 25 - 50% reduction. Sham CES pts showed an insignificant change in the mean TMAS scores from 29 to 27. The methadone intake did not change in 4 sham CES pts, and only dropped 5 - 10 mg in the other 3. These pts were anxious and depressed, and complained of difficulty sleeping and somatic problems. The 7 controls also did not do well, TMAS scores increased in 2 cases, was the same in 1, and only decreased 1 - 2 points after 10 days in the remainder. The methadone intake was the same in 3 controls, and decreased in the other 4 after 10 days. These pts were anxious, had difficulty sleeping. HAS scores were also diminished in the CES group but not the placebo or controls. It was noted that with a higher current, the pt felt uncomfortable, but there were no skin burns.

Opiate Abuse

16. Gold, M.S., Pottash, A.L.C., Sternbach, H., Barbaban, J., and Annitto, W. Antiwithdrawal effects of alpha methyl dopa and cranial electrotherapy. Paper presented at Society for Neuroscience. 12th Annual Meeting, October, 1982.

Device not specified.

Chronic opiate user inpatients were randomized for this double-blind study and given either alpha methyl dopa (Aldomet) or placebo Aldomet 48 hours after abruptly removing methadone, or CES or placebo CES. Aldomet and CES were both effective in controlling the effects of acute withdrawal. CES was also effective in controlling the effects of protracted withdrawal. No placebo condition was effective. The authors theorized that CES was effective by stimulating -endorphin, which inhibited the noradrenaline activity at the locus ceruleus. No side effects were reported.

31. Magora, F., Beller, A., Assael, M.I., Askenazi, A. Some aspects of electrical sleep and its therapeutic value. In Wageneder, F.M. and St. Schuy (Eds). Electrotherapeutic Sleep and Electroanaesthesia. Excerpta Medica Foundation, International Congress Series No. 136. Amsterdam, Pages 129-135, 1967.

Device: 30 - 40 Hz, 2 mS, 2 mA, forehead to occipital fossa electrodes

20 hospitalized pts suffering from long-lasting insomnia with anxiety, obsessive and compulsive reactions, morphine and barbiturate addiction and involutional depression were given 2 - 4 CES treatments weekly for 2 - 3 hours a day for a total of 10 - 20 treatments. 5 of the 20 showed no improvement, 11 had sedative effects, and 4 had hypnotic effects. The 15 responders all had normal restoration of their sleep rhythm as measured by EEG. Parallel with the return to a normal sleep pattern, all the other psychiatric signs: anxiety, depression, agitation, delusions, abstinence syndrome, improved so that all these pts were able to leave the hospital. Follow-up has continued for 8 - 12 months after treatment and has revealed no relapse.

Also 9 children (aged 5 - 15 years) suffering from severe, long-lasting bronchial asthma, resistant to conventional treatment, including steroids, were given 3 - 24 (Av. 15) CES treatments once a week for 1 - 2 hours. The asthmatic attacks stopped completely in 3 children and 4 months later the children felt well without taking any drugs. 2 children showed objective improvement, no wheezes were found on examination and, the frequency and severity of wheezing spells were diminished. 1 child showed slight improvement, 2 did not respond at all. None suffered an asthmatic attack for 24 hours following CES. Placebo conditions did not cause any improvement. The authors concluded that it appears that CES may be an adjunct to the treatment of asthma in children. Because of the selection for trial of the most severe cases available to us, resistant to any other known treatment, even slight results are encouraging. It was also noted that no ill-effects were noted on prolonged and repeated observations in dogs and in humans.

07-25-2007, 06:55 AM
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This is what I want for Christmas ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

07-25-2007, 07:28 AM
Great article PG. Sounds similar at least in theory to ECT. Which I have extensive personal and professional experience with.. Gonna do some more research into this and see if it's actually being done, methods, studies and results.

Def worth looking into. Although from the link it seems as if this is still in the experimental stage. Not something I would try at home. ;)

07-25-2007, 07:31 AM
Umm,looks like an updating of TENS(black box) treatment.I have a TENS and have tried it and I'm still here.Draw your own conclusions.

07-25-2007, 07:36 AM
Nick you put a tens unit on your temples? LOL:D

Paregoric Kid
07-25-2007, 08:09 AM
completely different from TENS units and ECT, they are only similar in that they deliver electricity to the body, but that is about it. a TENS unit is not to be used on the head and it uses way more electricity than CES. the device I linked delivers a maximum of 600 microamperes (.6 milliamperes) whereas TENS units work in milliamperes, I believe the average TENS unit can deliver up to 80 milliamperes (or 80,000 microamperes!). CES has a proven safety record. this is not similar to ECT, it seems ECT has given electronic medical devices a bad name. it does deliver electricity to the brain but ECT uses very high amounts of electricity and causes convulsions and does a lot of nasty things to the brain.
there are many studies on CES but it's use in medicine is not very widespread, probably because there are no pharm. companies pushing it. I guess why sell something that someone can make for a couple bucks when you can sell drugs that cost hundreds of dollars. I referenced the titles of some studies in my post but here is a link with a lot of good studies on CES and addiction http://www.eegbiofeedback.cz/e-stim/cesky/studie/08_Addiction.htm
this week I'm going to make one, I've set it up on a breadboard for now. I became interested in using CES from learning about TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, ie the persinger helmet, uses electromagnetic induction to excite neurons) and thinking about how to reproduce the effects of drugs (like dopamine release, etc.) without drugs, aside from nanotechnology and some very invasive methods CES and TMS are very interesting technologies that may or may not be useful to us. wetware hacking, class III wetware hacking is stuff like binaural beats, brainwave synchronization, biofeedback, and the dreammachine (btw you can make an electronic version of the dream machine, basically a pair of glasses with blinking LEDs), class II is stuff like CES, TMS, and EEG, and class I would be like RTMS or even wireheading, things that have longer lasting effects and/or are invasive.

07-25-2007, 08:12 AM
Sure,if memory serves,my TENS attached to the finger and this is different,but they both use the same principle and I'm far from convinced.Hell,I'm a cynic..so pay no attention to me Kid.

Let us know how you get on.

Have you tried the modern version of Gysin's dream machine?

Paregoric Kid
07-25-2007, 08:28 AM
yeah I've built a set of LED blinker glasses that works with brainwave generator www.bwgen.com (http://www.bwgen.com) . I would like to build a real dream machine sometime. Gysin's plans are available online and you can make one with a record player. I've found the glasses and even the computer program version to be effective at producing visuals and other effects. speaking of that CES leaves the user's brainwaves in an alpha state, relaxed but alert. I am skeptical to what degree CES works, though the studies I have read are promising and I believe it probably does work for some people with certain problems, but to what degree it would work on the average junky I can't say for sure. it is so cheap and easy to make you can build it for a few bucks it really can't hurt to try.

07-25-2007, 08:34 AM
Yeah,re the dream machine.I've tried a version and was disappointed.I was told that opiate users got subtle effects ony.I don't know if this is true.If you have any info on dream machines being used by addicts,I'd love to hear.

Paregoric Kid
07-25-2007, 08:36 AM
there was a preset for bwgen that was supposed to make morphine withdrawals easier and work as a pain killer. I think it was called reduce medical morphine to zero, some people found it helpful but I was never impressed with it.

07-25-2007, 04:10 PM
I did ECT and it fucked my brain up
4 years ago and still have problems with my cognative abililty
not to mention the memory problems
Is it legal for a patient in a mental hospital to sign a paper giving consent to have this shit done cause that is what happened to me,
but this new ces sounds pretty promising, nice find

08-09-2007, 01:02 PM
of course it's legal. Depending on why you're there, anyway. It depends on how they're keeping you there (if it was just a 72 hour hold, then yeah, you could, but if it was a judges order, then no, but you legal guardian could).

ECT is a very effective procedure. People have all these barbaric notions about it, but for the majority of refractory depression patients, it will have positive effects.

The memory loss is the major side effect though. I know I'd hate to forget my wedding.

Paregoric Kid
08-09-2007, 10:55 PM
why would you consent to ECT treatment? it is said to be effective in severe depression, mania, and some acute psychotic states but there is no evidence to suggest it can treat dysthymia, anxiety, and personality disorders. also it doesn't prevent suicide, look at Hemingway he blew his brains out after getting ECT at the mayo clinic. I've read that 64% of ECT patients relapse into depression after treatments and that it is only effective as a very short term treatment.
anyways I just need to find a 1.5 megaohm 1/4 watt resistor and I can try my CES device out. I've been reading that Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards have used CES devices to treat drug addiction.

Miraculous, in this instance, may be an understatement, for the cure Townshend underwent seems to have reversed two years of dissipation. in ten days. The secret behind his startling rebound, he divulged, is NeuroElectric Therapy (NET) -- a novel method of detoxification that is currently awaiting clinical approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This unusual treatment involves a Walkmanlike device that transmits a tiny electrical signal to the brain via electrodes taped behind either ear. Townshend wore this portable gadget -- or the "black box," as he nicknamed it -- day and night during the initial phases of treatment. He claims that it rapidly cleansed his body of drugs without the painful withdrawal symptoms that usually make going "cold turkey" such an unbearable ordeal.
The black box is the brainchild of a middle-aged Scottish surgeon, Dr. Meg Patterson. Her explanation of its scientific rationale provides insight into the experience of her celebrity patient. According to Patterson, who is something of a celebrity herself among the higher echelons of rock management, the black box quickly redresses chemical imbalances in the addict's brain. She believes the weak current stimulates the production of various neurotransmitters, notably the brain's own opiatelike painkillers, the endorphins (for "morphine within"). Because the frequency of the electrical current appears to determine which chemical reactions will occur, Patterson has to fine-tune the signal for each type of addiction. With Townshend, who suffered from multiple addictions, she applied several different frequencies over the course of treatment.
Her remedy appears to have worked, for the disheartened musician experienced what can only be described as a rebirth. And his case is by no means unique. Townshend himself first learned of NET through blues guitarist Eric Clapton, whom Patterson weaned from heroin in 1974. Since then, she has successfully reformed over a dozen top recording stars, including such notorious drug abusers as Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Townshend felt compelled to speak out about Patterson's work both to repay a personal debt and to draw attention to her enormous behind-the-scenes contribution to the music industry as a whole.
NeuroElectric Therapy (NET) is another name for CES treatment. check out this story from the BBC back in June 2006: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/5084126.stm

Electric therapy trial for heroin
A drug addict who was on heroin for five years has claimed he has been cured by a revolutionary treatment.
Barry Philips, 24, from Kilmarnock, said Neuro-Electric Therapy, which sends electric pulses through the brain, had made him drug-free.

He said the treatment enabled him to come off heroin in only five days.
The Scottish Executive is now backing further research into NET which was being discussed at a conference in Kirkcaldy on Friday.
Ken Barrie, director of Alcohol and Drug Studies at Paisley University, said the treatment could be used as a first step.
However, drugs expert, Dr Laurence Gruer, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, urged caution, saying NET appeared to treat withdrawal symptoms rather than the addiction itself.
During Neuro-Electric Therapy (NET), self-adhesive electrodes are applied behind the ear.
A pocket-sized stimulator is used continuously for six to 10 days and pulses an electric current through the brain to help stabilise its natural balance.
NET is said to reduce cravings of drug users within one or two weeks.
Mr Philips said he had tried four times without success to come off heroin, using both methadone and cold turkey.
He said his withdrawal symptoms lasted for a much shorter period when he used NET and he had remained clean since the treatment in February.
Wider sample
"It was a lot faster than any other 'rattle' I've ever done," he said.
"Within four days I was sleeping - a full night's sleep, which was really surprising.
"Within five days I was really starting to get better and on the sixth day I never even needed the box - that was when I was feeling totally fine again.
"I've not even thought about drugs - not just heroin, anything at all."
Independent drugs expert Professor Neil McKeganey, of the drugs misuse research centre at Glasgow University, said NET was worth a proper study.
He said: "One of the reasons it's terribly difficult for addicts to get off these drugs is the cravings are very strong.
"One of the benefits of NET, at least as it has been claimed, is that it allows addicts to cope with those feelings of cravings."
However, Prof McKeganey warned that it was not a long-term cure and addicts needed continuous support to ensure they remained clean.
He also said fundamental questions needed to be asked before making NET more widely available.
Drug charity The Third Step carried out the trial with Mr Philips.
Dr Gruer said the treatment was a first step but appeared to only deal with withdrawal symptoms.
"I think this is in the same ball park as acupuncture which produces some stimuli which stops the brain from feeling so raw and bad," he told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme.
"We have to be rather cautious about being too optimistic about this particular approach.
"It may help one or two people but whether it helps a large number is another matter."
'Early stage'
Mr Barrie told the programme: "It is worth pursuing anything that's going to assist people to make changes. This is clearly an early stage in the process.
"We would also need to look further on into the processes, the social support, the psychological support, which people need in the longer term to cure their addiction."
The executive is giving support and advice to set up a clinical research project in an effort to see if the treatment is valid for a much wider sample of addicts.
Mr Philips said he was positive about his own future.
"I just hope it continues to be like this, back to feeling amazing again, waking up with a smile on my face," he said.
Mr Philips was describing his experiences at a conference at St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy, on Friday.
Other speakers included Prof McKeganey and George Patterson, the widower of the surgeon whose work in the 1970s helped develop NET.
A Scottish Executive spokesperson said: "The first minister noted the anecdotal evidence of benefit of the therapy.
"However, any decision on the way forward would have to be based on clear, scientific evidence of the treatment¿s biological effects.
"The next step is that they should prepare a research proposal, which will then be considered by independent scientists.
"If they are convinced by the research proposal, then consideration may be given to a pilot."

Paregoric Kid
08-21-2007, 02:09 AM
I think this has a lot of potential as a potentiator, check out:

"The main property of TCES is to potentiate some drug effects (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10073891&dopt=Abstract), especially opiates and neuroleptics, ..." -Transcutaneous cranial electrical stimulation (TCES): A review 1998

CES increased nitrous oxide potency by approximately 37 percent [19] and reduced the required analgesic dose of fentanyl by approximately 33 percent in patients undergoing urologic surgery [20]. -Transcutaneous cranial electrical stimulation decreases narcotic requirements during neurolept anesthesia and operation in man. and Using cranial electrotherapy stimulation to treat pain associated with spinal cord injury

In carefully conducted randomized controlled trials CES has repeatedly shown efficacy in ... potentiating through centrally-mediated action the effect of analgesic drugs (fentanyl 176%-306%, morphine 174%-306%, alfentanil I 60%-2 15% and dextromoramide 267%-392%), or replacing them altogether and increasing the depth of anesthesia (In one study fentanyl use decreased by 31%.). and increasing attention and the ability to learn new tasks. -CES for neurotransmitter balancing, mood control, IQ gains, sleep, exploration of altered states, peak performance, and much more.

08-21-2007, 08:31 AM
This reminds me of the drug class I took my junior year in college. It was basically about the major classes of drugs (including psych drugs), with a focus on pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, etc. I mean, they didn't get in-depth about anything in particular. To be honest, I think it was open to everyone because the college felt it was beneficial for students to see the downside. I just loved that class because I got to learn about one of my favorite subjects, pharmacology, without being a bio or chem major (everyone else in there were bio and chem majors, while I was classics and history, and I knew more about opiates / coke / and the other major drugs than they did...all they wanted to talk about was alcohol because that was a big problem on our campus). But anyway, the class was taught by Dr. White, who was older and had apparently been heavy into acid in the 60's. He was a psychonaut or whatever those people were called. But, he's a psychology professor there.

Anyway, in one of the classes on neurotransmitters, he showed this clip from the 70's and this woman had actual electrodes implanted into her brain, and every few seconds she would keep pressing the button referring to it as a "sexy button." I found that hysterically funny. I know it wasn't ECT, but I guess it could have been a TENS device. Although it sounds more like this, albeit this isn't actually implanted into your brain.

08-21-2007, 08:36 AM
Interesting article, however I'll leave the electrical impulses and stimulation of said impulses up to my brain, and my brain alone...I think imposing an electrical charge to mimic or produce certain effects is playing with fire.

08-21-2007, 01:04 PM
that's how I always felt about playing with neurotransmitters. I think in the long run, neurotransmitters might take longer to repair themselves.

Paregoric Kid
08-21-2007, 03:01 PM
implanting electrodes INTO the brain is called wireheading, wish I could play with that kind of direct stimulation.
CES has been used for over 50 years without ANY reports of ANY negative effects, go and find me one case where a long term or even really a short term negative effect was caused by CES. we are playing with small amounts of electricity here this is a lot different from TENS and way different from ECT, people seem to be ignorant of this. using electric stimulation or electromagnetic stimulation is no different than using drugs they are both means to achieve the same ends. using electricity and electromagnetism to create changes in the brain is no more playing with fire than taking drugs is playing with fire. wetware hackers of the world unite.
"Anything that can be done chemically can be done by other means." -William S. Burroughs
check out this video: Psychotropic Drugs and the Nature of Consciousness, it is a lecture by Dr. Michael Persinger who does extensive work with TMS http://video.google.com/url?docid=-5011230863803398434&esrc=sr1&ev=v&q=michael%2Bpersinger&srcurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.com%2Fvideoplay%3 Fdocid%3D-5011230863803398434&vidurl=%2Fvideoplay%3Fdocid%3D-5011230863803398434%26q%3Dmichael%2Bpersinger%26to tal%3D18%26start%3D0%26num%3D10%26so%3D0%26type%3D search%26plindex%3D0&usg=AL29H20YZNacePJld9YeNIDQwuxmQKMI5Q

08-21-2007, 04:06 PM
I've always thought that this was probably the safer way to go. I don't think it has nearly the potential for long term damage that chemical consumption does.

I'm a believer in the use of ECT for treatment refractory depression, but I recognize it has substantial side effects. This still involves greatly reduced amperage and voltage (or one or the other, I forget) and since it's not causing seizures, doesn't pose the same risks

08-26-2007, 07:28 PM
First, as others have already pointed out, CES is very different from TENS and ECT (apart from the fact that all three involve sending electricity into the body). ECT is a medical procedure, generally done under anesthetic (the days of strapping people down and zapping them are long gone, at least in any country about which I have immediate knowledge), but it's usually a last or second to last resort (with surgeries being last resort )option for patients that have no or very little response to all therapy and drug options out there -- and it's usually for extremely severe depression, sometimes bipolar disorder, and a few other mental disorders. You don't experience anything while it's happening -- you're highly sedated or fully anesthetised. However, as again mentioned above, memory loss is probably the common side-effect, which in and of itself makes ECT a last-ditch effort, because you can't perfectly predict how much memory will be lost, and if said loss will be permanent.

TENS is specifically for conditions such as chronic inflammation, soft-tissue injuries (including muscle tears, sprains, and the like), and sometimes joint pain. Unfortunately, most TENS studies have indicated that the patient can eventually become accustomed to the procedure (which is done at home -- you usually have the unit at your own disposal), not unlike the manner in which most prescription drugs for such ailments eventually become tolerated. If your TENS unit allows a large range of personally adjustable electricity options (such as frequency, strength, and regularity of the electrical pulses), you can put off said tolerance point for a while...but again, it's not a perfect solution. Alternating between drug, physical therapy, and TENS can be a good option for people in a lot of pain but who are not quite at the point where surgery is the best option. TENS can also be excellent for sports medicine -- athletic injuries, repetitive-motion inflammation and joint degredation, and even recovery from broken bones can be aided by TENS, and as such injuries often are temporary, TENS is an excellent solution. There's still a lot of debate in regards to how much of the pain-relief and healing properties are a result of muscle contraction (which facilitates both warming the muscles and assisting the fluids that carry your body's natural healing & defense systems), and how much is simply a matter of the electrical jolts causing an endorphin release. Who knows...could be both, could be neither. Oh, it's also decent for Restless Leg Syndrome -- put the TENS electrode patches on various spots on your legs, start the unit, and it can often reduce the RLS misery long enough for you to fall asleep.

As for CES, I'm a big fan. I use the Bio-Tuner BT-7 and the Alpha-Stim SCS (Alpha Stim also makes a well-received TENS unit). I'm not 100% decided on the quality of the Alpha-Stim SCS, but the BT-7 is great for sleep, relaxation, improving exhaustion, and improving mood. It's also a real beauty for withdrawl, because those jolts if nothing else keep your mind off of your suffering, and may well assist in jump-starting your endorphin production. You can get CES units for fairly cheap -- $100 to about $300...the BT-7, if I remember right, is a bit under $150, and is well worth it for mood disorders and withdrawl assistance. There may be a lot more out there, so do some googling, but the science is valid (even if the specific mechanisms of action are not fully understood...but hell we don't really know why SSRI's work...we have models, theories, but no absolute factual comprehension).

So...don't turn down the idea too soon. Try one out, buy one used -- sometimes you can even find medical TENS units with CES attachments & settings which can be rented from medical supply stores. Some CES units come with a 30 day or more money-back program, and 30 days is about what you need to determine if the unit works for you.