Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation: New Hope for Fibromyalgia Sufferers

Deakin University Fibromyalgia Study

There is new hope for an effective treatment for people with fibromyalgia, with a research study about to begin at Deakin University Integrated research unit in Victoria. Fibromyalgia has been estimated to affect 2 to 4 percent of the population and represents a significant burden on the healthcare system. Whilst the exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known and there is no ‘cure’ available as yet, there are a number of treatment options which show promise. This study involves using Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), a therapy which has been clinically proven to be effective in managing anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain in the US. In the two years that it has been available in Australia it has shown great promise with results similar to those seen in the US. This therapy involves a mild stimulation of the brain by passing a minute current of electricity into the brain via electrodes clipped to the earlobes. Patients will use the Alpha-Stim SCS device for 1 hour per day over 6 weeks, and the levels of pain, anxiety, depression and quality of sleep will be measured during this time. This treatment is a non-invasive intervention with minimal side effects. Results are expected out towards the end of the year.

The Lewis Institute (via Dr Daniel Lewis) and Deakin University (via Dr Greg Tooley) are conducting a 6 week study of a potential pain treatment. We are looking for people who suffer from fibromyalgia who are willing to trial a cranial electrotherapy stimulation device once a day in your own home for 20 minutes to an hour over the six week period. Over this period of time, participants would also be required to attend 3 laboratory sessions of approximately 2 hours each at the Deakin University Burwood Campus for interviews/assessment.

If you are interested in being involved in this project, please call 9244 6489 or email and we will provide you with further information. Alternatively, you can register online by clicking this link.


Previous entry on FM News (2007)

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2007 Jul;4(4):489-95.

Cranial electrotherapy stimulation and fibromyalgia.

Gilula MF.
President and Director, Life Energies Research Institute, 2510 Inagua Avenue, Miami, FL 33133, USA.

Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is a well-documented neuroelectrical modality that has been proven effective in some good studies of fibromyalgia (FM) patients. CES is no panacea but, for some FM patients, the modality can be valuable. This article discusses aspects of both CES and FM and how they relate to the individual with the condition. FM frequently has many comorbidities such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and a great variety of different rheumatologic and neurological symptoms that often resemble multiple sclerosis, dysautonomias, chronic fatigue syndrome and others. However, despite long-standing criteria from the American College of Rheumatology for FM, some physicians believe there is probably no single homogeneous condition that can be labeled as FM. Whether it is a disease, a syndrome or something else, sufferers feel like they are living one disaster after another. Active self-involvement in care usually enhances the therapeutic results of various treatments and also improves the patient's sense of being in control of the condition. D-ribose supplementation may prove to significantly enhance energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain control and well-being in FM patients. A form of evoked potential biofeedback, the EPFX, is a powerful stress reduction technique which assesses the chief stressors and risk factors for illness that can impede the FM patient's built-in healing abilities. Future healthcare will likely expand the diagnostic criteria of FM and/or illuminate a group of related conditions and the ways in which the conditions relate to each other. Future medicine for FM and related conditions may increasingly involve multimodality treatment that features CES as one significant part of the therapeutic regimen. Future medicine may also include CES as an invaluable, cost-effective add-on to many facets of clinical pharmacology and medical therapeutics.

PMID: 17605684 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]