Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, which has been in use around the world since the early 1950s is an FDA recognized treatment of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Many patients and their physicians have also discovered that it is a very effective treatment for pain.
It has been theorized that CES is effective in pain treatment because it is known to relieve stress, and stress is known to be a strong correlate of the perception of pain in pain patients.
Recently it has been shown that pain is also a frequent accompaniment of depression, which CES is known to treat very effectively. In one study more than 75% of patients being treated for depression reported experiencing chronic, or recurring pain, and 30% to 60% of pain patients studied, also reported significant depression.
Finally, noting that CES is apparently an effective treatment for pain, several studies have been done to assess its potential to potentiate the effects of analgesics. One anesthetist gave 90 urological patients and 30 abdominal surgery patients N2O (nitrous oxide) in concentrations of 75%, 62.5%, or 50% alone, or in combination with CES during surgery. After 20 minutes patients were given a painful stimulation with Kocker clamps on their inner thigh for one minute. It was found that CES increased the potency of all three levels of N2O by 37%.
In a more elaborate study, 50 patients underwent urological operations with anesthesia induced with doperidol, diazepan, and pancuronium. Half the patients also were given CES treatment during the surgery. Anesthesia was maintained as necessary throughout the surgery by an IV fentanyl drip. Those patients receiving CES required an average of 33% less fentanyl to maintain anesthesia than did those who were not receiving CES.
It was found in both of the above two studies, that analgesia was maintained for a longer period following surgery among those patients receiving CES, than among those who did not.