When a new medical treatment comes on line, there is pressure to explain how it works. While CES has been in medical use for more than 60 years (it came into being as “electrosleep” in Europe in 1953), there has been no definitive, settled explanation of its mechanism of action. Some of the theories that are more or less active at present are as follows:
The Nervous System
The major present concept is that the body functions via a more or less hard wired nervous system. In this theoretical system, the body is neuronally wired to receive incoming stimuli via its afferent neurons, send them to the central nervous system, which then sends out response stimuli via its efferent neurons. One touches a finger accidentally to a hot surface and the finger is immediately jerked away from the hot stove, for example.
Since the neurons don’t ordinarily physically touch, the neural wiring functions via synaptic endings on the neurons in which the pre synaptic membrane discharges neurochemicals from stored vesicles into the synapse between the neurons and these stimulate receptors on the post synaptic membrane (the receiving membrane of the neuron next in line to fire) and that neuron fires the next neuron or the sensitive membrane on a muscle receptor, and so forth.
To work as efficiently as it was designed to work, all the neurons must be intact, and all the neurochemicals that are involved in the neurological firing patterns have to be in balance with all the others. If one neurochemical is out of balance, either it over fires or under fires the system for which it is responsible, in which case physical or emotional symptoms of one kind or another arise. For example, if there is not enough dopamine, Parkinson like symptoms develop. If there is not enough serotonin, depression results, etc.
Energy is known to flow through the collagen connective tissues of the body, and some areas of the body are more sensitive to energy incoming to that system than others. These sensitive areas are known as acupuncture points, and CES may well supply energy to that system, though not necessarily by stimulating those points directly.
CES electrodes are placed at various places on the head so that the stimulating current is allowed to pass through the head. CES current has been shown to spread around the head and scalp while also going through the entire brain, though canalizing alongthe limbic, or “emotion” brain.
As anyone knows who has placed CES electrodes on the mastoid processes behind the ears and turned the current up, one tends to get an involuntary grin when the current spreads to the facial muscles, and similarly, there can be light flashes keeping time with the CES pulse as the energy passes through the ocular apparatus in the eyes. For this reason, it is very likely that any acupuncture points on or about the head would receive sufficient stimulation, wherever they are located, to respond to CES stimulation. For example,in some therapeutic strategies, several of those points on the face are said to be dramatically activated by merely softlytapping on them with the finger tips.
Read more – Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, A Monograph By Dr. Ray B. Smith, Ph.D.