Monthly Archives: March 2017

CES as an aid in learning

“Microamperage Electrical Stimulation as an Adjunct in Neurotherapy” by Paul G. Swingle, Ph.D., R. Psych. (Private Practice)

We discovered that CES helps with retention of learned material quite by accident.  In our Practice many clients receive CES units to help with depression, sleep problems, anxiety and addictions.  We started to hear from clients that they felt that they were able to remember things they had read more readily when treating themselves with the CES unit.  They assumption that we made was that the improved retention was a secondary effect of the CES because of the person being more relaxed.  Since the clients who received the CES units would be those who had Theta deficiencies in the back of the brain we thought that anxious clients would be those who benefited from using CES while studying.  However, we also started getting reports from clients that the CES treatments had an invigorating effect and when used mid-afternoon would minimize the typical afternoon slump in attention that many people experience.  I treated myself with the CES after lunch time and did feel that I was more alert and attentive.

We decided to test the effects of CES on learning with a non-clinical population.    The first study (Swingle and Swingle, 200x) looked at vocabulary learning with a young woman who was learning a second language.  The CES was .5 Hz delivered on the earlobe during study sessions.  All sessions were 35 minutes in length and the task was to memorize words from a list.  The client was asked to list all the words she recalled two days after the memorization session.  Without the CES the young woman was able to list 26% of the words whereas with the CES she was able to list 41% which seemed to be a huge benefit to learning the material.


The second study (Swingle and Swingle, 2XXX) looked at the effects of CES on learning vocabulary with a group of ESL (English as a Second Language) students.  Three different conditions were studied:  First a group of students who had a standard three hour classroom study (Group 1); second, a group of students who had 1.5 hours of individual study with CES on the earlobes (Group 2); third, a group of students who had 1.5 hours of individual study with CES presented at location P6 (Group 3).  The stimulation frequency was 100Hz and was continuous during the study period.  The amount learned was measured in two ways.  First, the students were asked to define the word (i.e., give the word meaning) and second, they were asked to use the word in a sentence.  The percentage of correct definitions was 31.5%, 78.3%, and 81.0% for Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3, respectively.  The percentage of words used correctly in a sentence was 35.7%, 75.0%, and 83.3% for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively.  Thus, the data indicate that CES is a very effective aid to learning and further that the stimulation is at least as effective when applied to the acupuncture point Pericardium 6 as when presented at the more conventional earlobe site.

CES Research: Post-traumatic Amnesia

Clinical reports
One published clinical study reported on the effectiveness of CES in a case of post-traumatic amnesia, in which a 21 year old male who was comatose for weeks following a motorcycle accident recovered much of his tested memory recall functions following three weeks of one hour daily CES treatments. 

Another patient, reported in the same article, was a 58 year old orthopedic surgeon who suffered a closed head injury in a motor vehicle accident.  He was diagnosed with diencephalic amnesia secondary to trauma.  He had difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and experienced overwhelming anxiety during periods of disorientation.  His amnesia improved 28% on immediate recall and 39% on delayed recall after only one week of daily CES treatments.  These changes were accompanied by several other behavioral improvements, such as better acceptance and compliance with his treatment program, longer periods of lucidity, and more interaction with other patients and staff on the ward .

CES for headaches in your life

CES would intuitively be useful in the treatment of headache, not only because it is stress reducing, a commonly accepted cause for many headaches, but because it stimulates across the theoretical pain message centers in the cortex of the brain.

In the 1970s, a student completed his graduate thesis by studying 18 patients with migraine headaches. The study involved a treatment group, a sham treatment group and a placebo control group.  CES treatment was given 45 minutes a day for 15 days, Monday through Friday, and while the results were highly variable, a significant reduction in intensity and duration of headaches was found among the treated group.  There was no placebo effect from the treatment.

Solomon and his group studied 112 patients with tension headaches.  To be in the study, patients had to have at least four headaches a week for a year, and these had to be so severe they required treatment with prescription medications.  The patients were asked to use CES for 20 minutes each time they had a headache, and if the pain did not go away, to use it for a second 20 minutes.  The study lasted for 10 weeks and the treated patients reported an average pain reduction of 35%, while the sham treated patients reported an 18% improvement.      

Another study of migraine patients compared the effects of CES alone, biofeedback alone, or the two together.  The treatment lasted eight days and the patients were followed monthly for three months, in which they were asked to rate the number and intensity of headaches.  Both biofeedback and CES groups improved significantly more than the controls, and both groups continued to improve at each 30 day follow-up period, but it was found that CES potentiated the biofeedback gain by more than 70% by the third, 90 day period.

Romano studied the ability of CES to reduce headaches in 100 fibromyalgia patients who were asked to use a CES device for four, 20 minute treatment periods each day for up to two months.  In this open clinical study the patients rated their improvement at 50% or greater in terms of reduced headache frequency and intensity.

Forty-seven physicians who treated 151 headache patients with CES rated the treatment gain in 90% of them to be 25% or better.

Patient warranty cards indicate that 118 patients who suffer from migraine headaches improved an average of 61%, while 112 who suffer from tension headaches improved 56%.  That improvement is somewhat lower than in the migraine group, possibly due to neuromuscular involvement in neck or shoulder muscles that did not receive stimulation from CES