Research on using Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) for treatment of anxiety began in the former Soviet Union during the 1950's. Its primary focus for development was for the treatment of sleep disorders, hence its initial designation as "electro sleep." Treatment of insomnia was soon overshadowed by psychiatric application for depression and anxiety. Since then, it has been referred to by many other names such as transcranial electrotherapy (TCET) and neuroelectric therapy (NET).
CES quickly caught on in East European nations and its use has slowly spread worldwide. CES has been used internationally now for more than 50 years. Thousands of people worldwide continue to benefit from it. The most extensive work on CES continues in Russia at the Pavlov Institute in St. Petersburg. Current estimates are that there are between 50,000-100,000 units in use worldwide. No negative effects or major contraindications have been found from the use of CES.
CES uses an electrical current with 0.5 Hz square-wave which is bipolar asymmetric (reverses polarity with every wave). Maximum current is generally 1000 microamps or less. This output is readily generated with a "frequency generator", a common piece of test-equipment found in any electronics lab.
How it's Used
It's quite simple. Current is directed through dermal contact to travel transversely through the cranium. In other words, you attach the ear-clips or contact pads to your earlobes or to the skin on the base of the skull right behind your ears. Apply the correct current as outlined in the previous section, and slowly turn up the amperage to a comfortable level. A session is usually between 20-40 minutes and the results often last between 12-48 hours.
How it Feels
It feels a lot like being drunk while you're using it. It throws your balance a bit and makes you feel a little spaced out. Once you've finished a session a feeling of calm relaxation comes over you. It can be just a little euphoric, but really more relaxing, centering, and putting you at peace with the world. These after-effects usually last for at least several hours if not several days. The after-effects are not impairing at all.
So why does it do this? This particular configuration of electrical current, when applied through the cranium, actually causes neurotransmitter activity to re-balance itself. Stress causes our neuro-transmitter levels to become unbalanced, CES causes them to re-balance, so as a result CES can be used to treat and/or cure many stress-related illnesses. If you want a more scientific answer than that please feel welcome to hit the search engines and read the myriad of medical research available.
One other effect, which is really a side effect due to the proximity of the region of stimulation to the optic nerves, is that while you are using it you will see bursts of light in your peripheral vision. These light bursts (phosphenes) pulse along with the 0.5 Hz frequency of the CES signal. I speculate that this is simply a result of the electrical current causing excitation of the retina or optic nerves, which in turn causes the phosphenes. No big deal. There is no harm being done and they are actually quite interesting in their own right. The higher the amperage of the current the more visible the phosphenes are.
We've also noticed that it doesn't seem to work on females. We can only speculate as to why this may be. But it is a fact that women's brains are wired very differently than men's (gray matter versus white matter). So that may be a contributing factor. Who knows? However, studies state that CES is effective on about 95% of people who have used it. So I guess it must still have the same neurotransmitter balancing effect on women, just without any of the other fun side effects.
And finally it should be noted that the effects tend to be cumulative. The more times you use it, the more you will notice that your brain tends to keep itself at a relaxed and non-stressed state.
The list of treatable maladies is very extensive, and new ones are being discovered all the time. I will list a few of the most well known ones here and will otherwise leave it to the reader to do their own research if they are inclined. Entering "Cranial Electro-Stimulation" into any search engine yields a tremendous amount of links to further data and scientific studies on the subject.
- Addictions (alcohol, street drugs, nicotine, prescription drugs)
- Migraine and tension headaches
- Chronic pain
- Improve memory & concentration
- Chronic fatigue syndrome including fybromyalgia
- Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
- TMJ dysfunction
- Performance anxiety
- Panic disorders
- Tic dolereaux
- Stress induced asthma
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Ulcers or gastritis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
There simply are no real contraindications resulting from the use of CES. Persons using pacemakers or other embedded bioelectrical devices should consult a physician before using CES. With 50 years of use, hundreds of research experiments, and hundreds of thousands of users, CES has been demonstrated to be 100% safe.
CES has proven to be an effective cure for many of today's most common ailments. Stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, "ADD/ADHD", and narcotic addiction can all be inexpensively treated and cured with CES. Why isn't everyone using it?! To answer that, one must first ask, "Who stands to benefit by holding back this technology?" The answer should be immediately obvious... the major pharmaceutical manufacturers of course. The peddlers of Ritalin, Paxil, Celexa, Prozac, Methadone, Xanax, Valium, Zoloft... and the list goes on and on and on. There are literally hundreds of varieties of these drugs being taken by millions of people daily. That's a lot of money. Billions of dollars per year in fact. If you were running a racket like that would you want some cheap and effective solution to millions of peoples pain getting in the way of your profits? Would you care that many of your "treatments" often do more harm than good? Would you be more interested in getting people hooked on your drugs forever rather than trying to cure them? Would you be evil and gluttonous enough to put money before people's health and well-being? Judging by the actions of the companies responsible for this booming industry the answer to all of these questions is a resounding 'YES'.
There is a mountain of evidence indicating that the US government is the biggest drug pusher on the planet. Many people suggest that the entire US economy is being propped up by the US government's importation and sale of heroine and cocaine to their own people. The details and evidence to prove this are far beyond the scope of this article. If you are so inclined though, you should be able to find plenty of proof on your own. Suffice it to say; I have seen enough evidence that I firmly believe this to be the truth.
There is over 50 years of research and hundreds of published medical studies that have proven conclusively that CES is both safe and effective. So why are people still being force-fed expensive and ineffective pharmaceuticals to treat these common ailments? Conspiracy? What other explanation is there?
Where to Get it
At the time of this writing the original Voodoo Magick Box is no longer in production. There are other commercially available CES units on the market, but depending on your countries laws, you may or may not be able to procure one without the consent of a physician. Furthermore, current commercially available CES units are rather expensive costing hundreds of dollars.
There is one other option besides building your own. Many of the currently popular electronic muscle stimulators (TENS units) have a setting to output the needed 0.5 Hz square wave and work very well as CES units. The self-adhesive pads tend to work pretty well in place of the more traditional ear-clips. In fact, this is what the Voodoo Magick Box Model II was (second revision of the 2 person model) before Voodoo Machine closed up shop. These TENS units can usually be purchased for $100 or less and can be found at a variety of places including drug stores and "everything you've seen on TV" stores.
At Hack Canada we have done extensive research and testing of CES technology. It works. We know many people whose lives have been drastically changed for the better through the use of this technology. And finally, it's just a fun, safe, and beneficial way to hack your own brain.
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