Category Archives: Inflammation

Clinical Trial of Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation in Adolescent Patient with Major Depression

Vignette # 2: Melinda, a sixteen year old Caucasian female, had a long term history of depression and had been in counseling without much noticeable success. Melinda reported that she had experienced feelings of sadness for “….as long as I can remember” and when initially evaluated by the psychologist displayed a very flat affect with almost no emotion and a monotone voice. The psychologist was extremely concerned that she might be suicidal because she had reported thoughts of self harm. On a measure of depression she scored at the 77th percentile, while on a measure of anxiety she scored at the 73rd percentile with present moment (state) anxiety and at the 96th percentile with general proneness (trait) anxiety.

On the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) Full Scale intellectual functioning was in the Average range (Full Scale IQ = 107) with verbal area functioning in the High Average range (Verbal IQ = 111) and performance area functioning in the Average range (Performance IQ = 107).

After thirty days daily usage of at least forty-five minutes with the CES device she was again administered a psychological evaluation. The psychologist observed a much brighter affect with much smiling and talking as well as her initiating conversation during the session appearing almost as a different person. On the same measure of depression Melinda scored at the 1st percentile, while on the same measure of anxiety she scored at the 2nd percentile with present moment (state) anxiety and at the 9th percentile with general proneness (trait) anxiety.

CES is a Non-Pharmacological Gentle Approach to the Treatment of Stress and Stress-Related Disorders

Cranial Electrotheapy Stimulation is a unique and viable bio-electric approach which enhances the homeostasis of the biological central nervous system—the tendency for intrinsic balance within a system. User-friendly, it employs mild battery-powered electrical stimulation through clip-on electrodes attached to the earlobes or pre-gelled electrodes placed behind the ears. Current flow is limited so that the most the patient experiences during the process is nothing more than a slight tingling sensation. There are virtually no negative side effects. Gently adding energy back to all parts of the brain, CES helps return the user to the optimum state in effect before stressors were activated.


CES impacts most directly by reducing anxiety. This is often experienced in the course of treatment; for others, hours, or several days after. CES leaves the patient feeling both relaxed and alert. The effect differs from pharmaceutical treatments in that people report their body as feeling lighter and more relaxed and their mind, more alert and clear. Results are cumulative and lasting. For those suffering from depression and anxiety, CES means relief with none of the unpleasant side effects of prescription drugs. For those seeking nothing more than a good night’s sleep, it is an alternative to habit-forming tranquilizers. For a public increasingly concerned with the effects of stress on physical health and emotional well being, CES provides a way of addressing that stress in a safe and effective manner. CES is not only for those with a diagnosed condition but those simply coping with the stresses of an everyday existence. Whether one is a student under pressure in preparing for an exam, an athlete dealing with pre-competition anxiety, a businessman dealing with the stresses accompanying his work, or a housewife juggling her many responsibilities, CES can help them lead a more balanced and productive life.

CES should not be confused with electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) or aversion therapy. By generating battery-powered micro-amperage through electrodes placed just below the mastoids or conductive rubber ear-clips on each ear lobe, CES induces a pleasant and comforting experience. Individuals may use the unit, which is about the size of a pack of cigarettes, at home or at work without interrupting their normal flow of daily activity. CES has no known negative effects and can be effectively used therapeutically without drugs.

It is hypothesized that CES acts by direct stimulation of the brain in the hypothalamic area with specific electronic frequencies. Such stimulation causes the brain to manufacture its own neurochemicals, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and acteycholine up to levels of pre-stress homeostasis. Research findings compiled from several human subject studies, involving rapid rises in beta endorphin levels in cerebral spinal fluid following CES therapy support the hypothesis that a mild effect is produced at the hypothalamic area of the brain. CES stimulated endorphins inhibit the increased levels of norepinephrine from unduly stimulating neuroreceptors on the locus ceruleus so that anxiety and associated panic states are effectively blocked. Recent findings also indicate that CES stimulated acetycholine production in the memory channels of the hypocampal gyrus improves cognitive functioning, increasing both short term memory and the ability to retain new information over time.

Historically, variations of CES therapy have been in use in Europe under such labels as Electrosleep, Neuro-Electric therapy, Transcranial electrotherapy, and Transcranial electrostimulation. Serious research with CES was initiated in the United States in the mid 1960s. …based upon the findings, CES had definite therapeutic value as a non-drug, non-invasive treatment for stress and anxiety related illness.

CES helps anxiety and sleep disorder

Vignette #4

The patient is a fifty-two year old married female whose psychological problems took the form of depressive and anxious symptomology with an accompanying hyperkinetic element consisting of excessive energy that would not allow her sit still and experience moodiness and difficulty in positively focusing her energies. This was reflected in her overconcern in a self-employment situation she had recently started with her husband. She reported making the transition from an employee was extremely difficult for her due to changes in employment related responsibilities and loss of the “employee” structure. She reports a somewhat troubled childhood especially with difficulties in her relationship with her mother.


She could not mobilize and focus her energy for more than three hours at a time during the day, was always tired, never standing when she could sit, and never walking when she could ride. In any case, she needed to nap every three hours for ten to twenty minutes in order to make it through a school day. This she did by putting three chairs together in the library stacks and seeping on them. Yet she had good learning and memory skills during the few calm moments of her day. She also studied better at night after the family was in bed.

Various treatments were tried with this patient, including visits to other physicians, chiropractors, educational kinesiologists, and holistic therapists. She was given enzymes, thyroid tests, massage for “tight intestines”, brain entrainment audio tapes, vitamin B shots, and work with an “alpha pacer”. The vitamin B helped her energy level when it sagged, the entrainment tapes and “alpha pacer” helped temporarily. Light and sound stimulators were not effective.

The patient was introduced to cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) which made significant improvements early on. She used it 45 minutes per day at first, then began wearing it also during college examinations. Presently she wears the device twice a day for an hour and a half.

Her hyper-irritability has subsided, her energy level has balanced out, she no longer carries a box of tissues everywhere
she goes, and most significantly she is able to concentrate and learn with greater ease. She now gets up in the morning without encouragement, functions well in early morning classes, no longer needs to frequently nap during the day, and is competing her studies with less effort and worry. Her digestive system is functioning normally even as she continues to eat junk food.

She observed early on with the CES and that when the device was in use “it numbed my anger” so on one occasion when she desired to feel anger, act it out, and cry as in the past she refused to wear the CES device until she had finished “having my fit”.
The Following Vignettes (#5 – #8) Involve CES Clinical Trial of Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation in Patients with Learning Disability

(Kindly Provided by Ruth Jones)

Cranial Electrotherapy to help a child with a learning disability

Vignette # 6


The patient is a nine year old female who is in the third grade and diagnosed as learning disabled. She reportedly experienced developmental delays physically and mentally. At age six her physical symptoms revolved around a lack of coordination. She could not find her mouth with her hand when eating , had a noticeable lack of balance, could not complete cross crawling exercises, and complained she could not do cartwheels like other children her age. Also, she constantly bumped and knocked things as well as missing her glass at the table when reaching for it.

She constantly moved with restlessness (excessive body movement) when answering questions appearing unable to sit still when attempting to think which severely affected her ability to learn. She was unable to learn phonics or spelling and had virtually no reading comprehension. There was difficulty even copying the letters of the alphabet with her pencil both inability to form shapes or remain on the writing line.

She appeared psychologically unmotivated and easily giving up on challenges with an “Oh well” final attitude. She appeared unconcerned with her lack of basic academic skills as if she did not want to make waves, and when criticized she seemed to give in just to keep peace.
She worked with an educational therapist for two years with little progress until CES intervention was employed as part of the process. CES usage began with daily forty-five minute periods when going to bed with noticeable changes after changes after the third week of intervention. She has continued to use the device for almost a year.

From her mother’s perspective the most notable change is her ability to now perform cartwheels while from her teacher’s perspective the more prominent changes are her much improved ability to sit still while thinking and verbalizing, with handwriting described as 100% better although further room for improvement is also reported. A sixth grade reading level is reported and by self report she perceives herself as more intelligent. She is also reported to now express opinions and emotions including an anger which has been an adjustment for her family. Teachers report increased motivation and perseverance even with difficult tasks, increased reading ability, and significantly decreased excessive body movement. Although she has continued difficulties with copying from book to paper (i.e. math problems) and using her fingers for addition and subtraction, she has memorized grade level time tables and has ease of with retrieval with this information.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Reduces Inflammation and the Symptoms of Arthritis

Vagus Nerve Stimulator Usage: Gelled Electrode, Surgically Implanted, Ear-Clip Placement
Vagus Nerve Stimulator Usage: Gelled Electrode (left), Surgically Implanted Stimulator (center), Ear-Clip Placement (right)

Note: The CES Ultra does not make claims as to alleviation of pain. However this article shows how inflammation and symptoms of arthritis may be reduced by Vagus nerve stimulation. The CES Ultra targets the Vagus nerve.

Inflammatory responses play a central role in the development and persistence of many diseases and can lead to debilitating chronic pain. In many cases, inflammation is your body’s response to stress. Therefore, reducing fight-or-flight responses in the nervous system and lowering biological markers for stress can also reduce inflammation.

Typically, doctors prescribe medications to combat inflammation. However, there is continual growing evidence showing that another way to combat inflammation is by engaging the Vagus nerve and improving vagal tone. This can be achieved through daily habits such as yoga and meditation — or in more extreme cases of inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) — by using an implanted device for Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

The Vagus nerve is known as the wandering nerve because it has multiple branches that diverge from two thick stems rooted in the cerebellum and brainstem that wander to the lowest viscera of your abdomen touching your heart and most major organs along the way. Vagus means wandering in Latin. The words vagabond, vague, and vagrant are all derived from the same Latin root.

In 1921, a German physiologist named Otto Loewi discovered that stimulating the Vagus nerve caused a reduction in heart rate by triggering the release of a substance he coined Vagusstoff (German for Vagus Substance). The Vagus substance was later identified as acetylcholine and became the first neurotransmitter ever identified by scientists.

Vagusstoff (acetylcholine) is like a tranquilizer that you can self-administer simply by taking a few deep breaths with long exhales. Consciously tapping into the power of your Vagus nerve can create a state of inner-calm while taming your inflammation reflex.

The Vagus nerve is the prime component of the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates the rest-and-digest or tend-and-befriend responses. On the flip side, to maintain homeostasis, the sympathetic nervous system drives the fight-or-flight response.

Healthy Vagal Tone Is Part of a Feedback Loop Linked to Positive Emotions

Healthy vagal tone is indicated by a slight increase of heart rate when you inhale, and a decrease of heart rate when you exhale. Deep diaphragmatic breathing—with a long, slow exhale—is key to stimulating the Vagus nerve and slowing heart rate and blood pressure, especially in times of performance anxiety.

A higher vagal tone index is linked to physical and psychological well-being. Conversely, a low vagal tone index is associated with inflammation, depression, negative moods, loneliness, heart attacks, and stroke.

Discover the benefits of Vagus nerve stimulation. They describe a costly and intrusive procedure involving an implant. Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), specifically the CES Ultra device, can achieve the same result at fraction of the cost and in a noninvasive manner.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Recently, an international team of researchers from Amsterdam and the United States conducted a clinical trial which demonstrates that stimulating the Vagus nerve with a small implanted device significantly reduced inflammation and improved outcomes for patients with rheumatoid arthritis by inhibiting cytokine production.

RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects approximately 1.3 million people in the United States and costs tens of billions of dollars to treat each year, according to researchers.

Firing Vagus Nerve Cells Illustration
Firing Vagus Nerve Cells Illustration

The neuroscientists and immunology experts involved in this study used state-of-the-art technology to map the neural circuitry that regulates inflammation. In one circuit—termed the inflammatory reflex—action potentials transmitted in the Vagus nerve inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

This was the first human study designed to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by stimulating the Vagus nerve with a small implanted device which triggered a chain reaction that reduced cytokine levels and inflammation. Although this study focused on rheumatoid arthritis, the trial’s results may have implications for patients suffering from other inflammatory diseases, including Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, and Alzheimer’s.

These findings suggest a new approach to fighting diseases that are currently treated with relatively expensive drugs that have a host of side effects. VNS gives healthcare providers a potentially more effective way to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases.

Conclusion: Vagus Nerve Stimulation Is a Potent Drug-Free Alternative for Treating Inflammation

Co-author Kevin J. Tracey, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the person who discovered the inflammatory reflex, said, – This is a real breakthrough in our ability to help people suffering from inflammatory diseases. While we’ve previously studied animal models of inflammation, until now we had no proof that electrical stimulation of the Vagus nerve can indeed inhibit cytokine production and reduce disease severity in humans. I believe this study will change the way we see modern medicine, helping us understand that our nerves can, with a little help, make the drugs that we need to help our body heal itself.

CES has been engaging Vagus nerve stimulation for decades, through the use of ear clips to stimulate the nerve endings in the ears. Positive results may be gained by applying low amplitude, extremely low frequency (ELF) electric currents, through the Vagus nerve system. The CES Ultra cranial electrotherapy stimulator device incorporates the use of ELF applied by ear clip attachments or gelled electrodes, to stimulate the Vagus nerve.

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Last Modified: March 3, 2020