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Taking control of a drug or alcohol addiction is difficult and often includes the use of many different types of therapies.
One highly effective form of therapy is Alpha-Stim treatment. This kind of therapy helps individuals overcome their addictions by addressing depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and chronic pain without the use of medication.
What is Alpha-Stim Treatment?
Alpha-Stim is a small electronic medical device that transmits minute electrical impulses to the brain that are measured in micro-amps. The microcurrent has a very low intensity, measuring under one milliampere. This small amount of current is delivered through the use of two tiny ear clips attached to the earlobes or behind the ears. When the Alpha-Stim device is used to treat pain, two attachable electrodes, or wands, are placed at the direct site of the pain.
Alpha-Stim treatments work on the body at its electron level. As the imperceptible, tiny microcurrent passes through the body, it carries a very wide range of frequencies. These frequencies affect the body by changing the chemical and electrical activity of a group of specific nerve cells located in the brainstem.
Alpha-Stim therapy is also known by several other names including:
- Cranio-Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)
- Transcranial Electrotherapy
- Waveform technology
How Does it Work?
In an article by Eileen Jones for Brain Blogger, she explains that researchers believe that the Alpha-Stim treatment helps to “re-establish optimal brain chemistry and improves the efficiency of neural connections.” The targeted cells in the brain are stimulated when Alpha-Stim therapy is used, resulting in the production of the chemicals serotonin and acetylcholine.
According to the research of Dr. James Giordano, a neuroscientist, the chemical serotonin is linked to relaxation, while the chemical acetylcholine is linked to processes of the human body that are not under the person’s conscious control while at rest. These chemicals increase relaxation and inhibit feelings of agitation and arousal. This allows the body’s nervous system to regain balance and create patterns in the brain called alpha rhythms. Once an alpha state is attained, the individual experiences mental focus and relaxation.
The Benefits of Using Alpha-Stim Treatment in Addiction Recovery
For individuals suffering with addiction, Alpha-Stim therapy provides a treatment tool that aids in their recovery by helping to control their feelings of depression and anxiety. It also helps with treating their insomnia and physical pain. These symptoms of addiction are controlled by the body’s central nervous system, which is comprised of billions of cells. These cells, which react to every feeling and sensation, are responsible for carrying the electrochemical signals between the brain and the body.
When Alpha-Stim treatments take place and the specific cells in the brainstem are changed through the chemical and electrical activity, the cells are returned to their normal functioning state. Once this alpha state is achieved, the brain is in balance, its equilibrium is restored, and a slight boost of energy is felt. When the brain is in this healthy state the individual feels a reduction in stress and the effects of stress.
Additional effects of Alpha-Stim treatments that aid in addiction recovery include:
- A reduction in feelings of anxiety and agitation
- Mood stabilization
- Feelings of relaxation and well-being
- Reduction of pain and discomfort
The slight energy boost that Alpha-Stim treatments provide to the body’s central nervous system helps it to work better at processing and regulating feelings and pain at an unconscious level. According to James G. Friesen, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, in his work Processing Feelings Using the Alpha-Stim Stress Control System, the word “unconscious” as referred to in this way means non-verbal processing of feelings. Dr. Friesen explains that a person “will probably not be able to talk about what is happening to their feelings as they begin to emerge during Alpha-Stim treatment.” It could be a few minutes before the person may be able to put words to the emerging feelings; once the person can talk about what they’re feeling, they can process those emotions in a healthy way.
A Brief History of Alpha-Stim Therapy
In the 1970s, neurobiologist Dr. Daniel L. Kirsch began researching and developing the forerunner of today’s Alpha-Stim device. Along with his colleague, Dr. Edmund Chen, Dr. Kirsch studied the neuroendocrine interactions of electroacupuncture and acupuncture. Dr. Kirsch discovered that the chemical reactions that take place in the body are controlled by physics. This discovery “pushed his thinking beyond traditional Western medicine, which controls disease using a chemical/mechanical paradigm.” In his work he bypassed chemistry, believing that most of the functions of the body could be normalized by the use of low current electricity. According to History of the Waveform – The Clinical History of the Alpha-Stim Waveform Technology, Dr. Kirsch based his belief on “what the body actually is: a complex series of electrical impulses controlling all physiological functions.”
In 1981, the years of research and development done by Dr. Kirsch paid off. He had perfected his waveform technology and that year unveiled his first Alpha-Stim device. Since then, Alpha-Stim devices have continued to be improved upon as microtechnology and medical research continue to make advances.