No Proof At-Home ‘Cranial Stimulation’ Eases Depression

No Proof At-Home ‘Cranial Stimulation’ Eases Depression

Treatments that claim to have medical benefits, but actually don’t, are no new thing. The problem with these has always been sorting out which might have some benefit, even if it’s not obvious, and which were entirely without any merit. Some patients who are dealing with depression or other mental or physical disorders have been using cranial electrical stimulation devices as a possible treatment.

Typically a CES device is small enough to be easily held, and will produce low voltage current that is targeted via electrodes the patient positions. It sounds extreme, but used correctly isn’t necessarily dangerous. The question remains though; does such a CES device actually have therapeutic value?

A recent medical review of existing clinical studies looked at CES devices. The results are mixed. There is some vague support that they might possibly offer small benefits, but only for patients experiencing anxiety or depression. However, a patient who is depressed without corresponding anxiety might not receive any benefit at all. And other conditions CES devices are often marketed as targeting were found to have no medical benefit at all. These include pain in the joints, chronic headaches, and problems sleeping such as with insomnia.

Basically, a CES device might be an option for someone who’s exhausted all other avenues, but only in very specific circumstances. And it’s unlikely to be a panacea of relief.

Key Points:

  • 1Recently, “Cranial Stimulation” has been touted by some device manufacturers as an at-home way to lessen depression symptoms.
  • 2This method uses electrical pulses to stimulate the head and brain through electrode attachment points.
  • 3However, a recent comprehensive review of studies on the therapy found only low-level, inconclusive evidence as to its efficacy.


More recently, research has shown it might temporarily change the “connectivity” among certain brain cells, according to Shekelle’s team.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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