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Find quick answers to the most frequently asked questions about Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET), Product Information, and more.

Allevia Health FAQ

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)

Alpha-Stim® works for about 80-90% of patients. In other words, 8 to 9 out of 10 patients will achieve clinically significant results if the device is used correctly daily for at least 3 weeks. Please see Alpha-Stim clinical surveys for detailed results. The percent improvement (also known as the effect size) is quite large especially compared to many medications.
Usually during the first treatment, with additional, cumulative benefits in the initial 3 to 8 weeks of daily treatment.
The response time for insomnia varies. If your insomnia is caused by anxiety or stress it typically responds quickly, often after a single treatment or within days, otherwise it can take 3 to 8 weeks or daily treatments.
Depression typically responds in 3 weeks of daily treatments, but for some people it can take up to 8 weeks.
Yes. Significant effects for state (situational) anxiety will typically be experienced within 15-30 minutes. Control of trait (chronic) anxiety may require daily applications for 3 weeks, thereafter 2-3 times a week but in some cases, for example when treating generalized anxiety (GAD), the process may take up to six weeks or longer.
Some patients who have recovered from anxiety or depression through use of the Alpha-Stim® find it best to treat with Alpha-Stim® two or three times a week for 20-60 minutes (after the initial three week period of daily treatments) to prevent another episode. Others will only need the treatment from time to time when life’s circumstances suggest that the depression might come back. If you cut back on your frequency of Alpha-Stim® treatments and your symptoms return, that will give you an indication of how often you need to treat. Please talk to healthcare practitioner who can recommend the best treatment plan for you.
Most people find that an Alpha-Stim® earclip treatment (CES) at or near bedtime is helpful in falling asleep. They may use it before going to bed. However, for a small percentage of people, Alpha-Stim® may interfere with the onset of sleep if used near bedtime. If this is the case for you, then it is best to treat in the morning or early afternoon and refrain from using Alpha-Stim at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Yes, Alpha-Stim® can be helpful for this type of insomnia. If you have this problem routinely we suggest you treat with Alpha-Stim® just as one would for sleep onset difficulties. Use it in the morning or afternoon, daily for the first two weeks; treating just before bed is fine if it does not interfere with your ability to fall asleep. It may take 3 to 8 weeks for the full benefit to be realized, or you may sleep through the night after your first treatment. If you do wake in the night, you may do another Alpha-Stim® treatment to help with getting back to sleep. Most people find it relaxes their mind and helps with returning to sleep. Once the problem is resolved you may be able to stop treating or you may find you need periodic or regular ongoing treatments to continue sleeping well. For most people, after the initial 3 weeks of treatment it is best to cut back to treating 2-3 times per week for best results.
Since the Alpha-Stim® works at a level of electricity similar to the body’s own bioelectricity, generally no harm can come from its overuse. However, prolonged ear clip treatment at higher than necessary current intensity may cause dizziness or nausea. For most patients, the greatest risk of “overuse” is that it may lead to less dramatic results. Most people find that after the first two to three weeks, the Alpha-Stim® is actually more effective for chronic conditions when used less often, just 2-3 times per week.
Some patients assume they will get better results if they set the intensity to the highest setting. This is simply not the case, and there is no need to “work up” to a higher setting over time. The important thing is to treat for 60 minutes if you prefer the intensity at 1 or 2, and treat for 20 minutes if you prefer the intensity at 3 or higher. The sensation should be pleasant. If you feel uncomfortably lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous during your treatment, or if you get a headache, then you have set the intensity too high.
If you feel lightheaded or dizzy please turn down the current setting. You should not feel that, and no, it is not necessary to feel that in order to benefit from the treatment.
Turn the current down just below the point that the sensation is bothersome and continue to treat at that current level. The current should be at a comfortable level. If you are sensitive to the current please keep the intensity at 1 and treat for 60 minutes. If you are sensitive to the current even at 1, as is common in some chronic pain patients in particular, please call us for support (800-684-9343).
The manufacturer encourages patients to keep the current at a comfortable setting. In fact, most research with Alpha-Stim® has been conducted with the current intensity set at low, subsensory levels to conceal the sensation of the current to allow for placebo-controlled protocols. If the current feels comfortable at a higher setting then you may increase it, otherwise it is fine to continue treating at 1 for an hour.
No, this is not recommended. It is important to do a complete treatment in each sitting. Please treat 20 minutes continuously at 3 or higher on the intensity scale, or otherwise 60 minutes continuously at 1 or 2 on the intensity scale. If you have reason to want to do a second treatment later the same day, then it should be a complete treatment again.
For the typical patient the manufacturer recommends treating once daily initially, over time cutting back to 2-3 times per week. However, patients suffering from severe anxiety, such as that experienced during initial recovery from chemical dependence, may benefit from multiple treatments throughout the day. There are some other conditions as well that generate extreme anxiety and these clients might opt to treat more than once per day. The manufacturer indicates it is fine for patients to use it that much if that is how they attain optimal results. Over time, as your brother continues to improve, he may find he can use it less often for optimal functioning, such as for one hour a couple times a week.
While it is true that most people get an immediate benefit for anxiety when using the ear clips for cranial electrotherapy stimulation, and many get immediate pain relief when using probes or electrodes, in some cases patients have a delayed effect. Typically a person who has a delayed effect from Alpha-Stim treatment also has a delayed effect from anesthetics. They may also need to use it longer.
Some hiatus between treatments often leads to better results. That is why for the standard protocol the manufacturer recommends using it 2-3 times per week on a maintenance basis, after the initial 2-3 weeks of daily treatment.
Treatment of primary insomnia, depression, and chronic pain may take several weeks, as long as eight weeks for some patients, so it may be that you have not used the device long enough. Additional weeks of treatment or altered protocols allow some initially unresponsive patients to get relief. There are testimonials of patients on the manufacturer’s website who needed more than 1 or 2 months of treatment to see good results with the Alpha-Stim. Patients should be well hydrated for optimal results, as hydration is necessary for conductivity and may also reduce the occurrence of a headache following a treatment. If you have any reason to be concerned that your device itself is not working properly, then please call us at 800-684-9343 for troubleshooting. Your device should alert you with beeps if the battery is low or if the current is not reaching the earclips, unless you have muted this feature.
Following treatment of pain with probes or electrodes, the manufacturer recommends that patients treat with earclips. The registered indications for the Alpha-Stim earclip treatment (CES) are anxiety, insomnia and depression. These conditions often accompany chronic pain syndromes, and resolving these conditions may help a patient with chronic pain. Also, while the cause of pain may originally be in an extremity, all pain is perceived in the brain, and treating with earclips may lessen the patient’s perception of pain. Clinical experience suggests that the pain relief from the probe or electrode treatment will last longer if the patient uses the earclips afterwards.
The manufacturer recommends treating with earclips after treating areas of pain directly with the probes or AS-Trodes. The earclip treatment may reduce or eliminate the pain prior to completion of the pain protocol. This could make it difficult to ascertain whether you are treating the correct area. If you are time-limited and want to use only the earclips on a particular day then certainly you may do so.

Allevia Health FAQ

Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET)

Alpha-Stim® works for about 80-90% of patients. In other words, 8 to 9 out of 10 patients will achieve clinically significant results if the device is used correctly daily for at least 3 weeks. Please see Alpha-Stim clinical surveys for detailed results. The percent improvement (also known as the effect size) is quite large especially compared to many medications. If you are not getting benefit from Alpha-Stim® we recommend that you check your device to make sure the unit is working properly and that the current is reaching the electrodes, probes, and/or earclip electrodes. Also, given there is a learning curve in using the Alpha-Stim®, please call us if you are not achieving results. Additional weeks of treatment or altered protocols allow some initially unresponsive patients to get relief. Patients should be sure they are well hydrated for optimal results, as hydration is necessary for conductivity.

Usually during the first treatment some or complete pain relief is achieved, for most causes of pain. The Alpha-Stim® treatment is cumulative, meaning that a series of treatments over the initial 1-3 weeks build upon one another to create better and longer lasting results. If you have fibromyalgia, CRPS, or migraines please call us for tips on how to get the best results. These conditions tend to take several weeks to respond so it is important to persist.
The Alpha-Stim® M is a combination unit, broadly classified by the FDA as a TENS for pain (510K K896948) and as a Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator (CES 510K K903014.) for anxiety, depression, insomnia and related disorders. However, Alpha-Stim® technology is nothing like a typical TENS. Just like the chemical ingredients that make up drugs differentiate one from another, it is the Alpha-Stim®’s patented waveform that makes Alpha-Stim® technology so unique and effective. A typical TENS has limited effectiveness, and just like eyeglasses, it has no residual effect — it only works while in use. But the biggest problem with ordinary TENS is tolerance; similar to drugs, a typical TENS becomes ineffective at safe levels over time as the body develops tolerance. With Alpha-Stim® technology the results are long-lasting and cumulative, and patients do not develop tolerance. A typical TENS device uses the sheer power or force of electricity to block pain by creating a counterirritation. The Alpha-Stim® treats by a different mechanism, using mild currents (much like those naturally found in the body) to augment the body’s bioelectrical control systems for much longer lasting, more effective pain management. A typical TENS cannot be used on the head (it is contraindicated), whereas the Alpha-Stim® may safely be used on the head as a CES device.
Once there is no additional improvement in pain control after 3-4 treatment sets, you should stop. After the initial three weeks of daily treatments, it is typically best to treat with probes every other day or less, as most people get better results this way.
Yes. Dentists use Alpha-Stim® technology routinely, not only to treat dental anxiety, but also to control orofacial, temporomandibular and postoperative pain using probes or electrodes on the head. People can also use probes in treating a migraine. It is often best to keep the intensity turned down when treating on the head. It is not recommended to treat near the eyes. Using probes on the head may result in seeing the current in the form of flashing lights as the optic nerve converts the signal into light. Also treating around the mouth may cause a metallic taste.
Close proximity to the nerves governing the optic nerve can stimulate these nerves, causing a stroboscopic effect. This is not cause for concern. The flashing lights will go away when the stimulation is discontinued.
Close proximity to the nerves governing taste can stimulate these nerves, causing a metallic taste. This is not cause for concern. If the metallic taste persists, rinse your mouth out with water and it will go away.
The current density differs. Ten seconds with the probes equals about 10 minutes with the AS-Trodes™. Most patients prefer treating pain with the AS-Trodes™ because it is easier to apply AS-Trodes™ than treat themselves with the probes. Typically, treatment with probes may require help from a friend. However, the probes are faster to use and less expensive over time than treating with AS-Trodes™. Use of probes is also more practical if hair is present (reapply conducting solution frequently if hair is present). We suggest viewing the instructional DVD that comes with the Alpha-Stim M, the owner’s manual, and treatment protocols for more information.
For most patients it is sufficient to treat for an hour daily for the first 2-3 weeks, then 3 times weekly or as needed. After the initial period of daily treatments, most patients get better results by treating every other day at most. Some patients with acute pain do need to treat with AS-Trodes™ for up to several hours at a time, particularly initially or for post-surgical pain.
If possible, shave the hair in the area where AS-Trodes™ will be placed. Alternately, the probes may be used instead, and in that case it is not necessary to shave the area but use plenty of the Alpha Conducting fluid and reapply it often, as the hair will wick it away. Using AS-Trodes™ without shaving the hair will shorten the lifespan of the electrodes.
Stop treatment for that day. The stiffness will wear off soon.
You can but the manufacturer would generally advise to first treat the area of pain with AS-Trodes first and then do the earclip treatment. It is always best to evaluate the pain during each treatment with the probes or AS-Trodes™. Since CES can reduce or eliminate pain by itself, it may be impossible to determine if an adequate peripheral treatment has been completed if CES is done simultaneously or prior to using the probes or electrodes. With severe or acute pain, however, it is sometimes best to leave the AS-Trodes™ in place for an extended period, even 24/7, at a low intensity (1) and add CES once or twice a day.
The manufacturer recommends using the self-adhesive electrodes when treating post-surgical areas and associated pain. The protocol recommends mild treatments (1-2 on the intensity dial) at 0.5Hz for one to several hours daily.
This is perfectly normal. Some patients may not get relief until the following day post treatment. Patients who respond slowly to anesthesia usually fall into this category. Please ALWAYS remember to do several treatment sets, not just a single one, when using the probes. A common mistake is to stop after administering a single set of 10-second treatments, which depending on the protocol is typically 2-4 minutes. One has to continue with these sets, and evaluate pain relief (0-10 scale) between sets, until there is either (1) no pain left, (2) patient feels stiff in the treatment area, or (3) you are not getting more pain relief by adding more treatment sets. The better the relief you get from a treatment (i.e. the stronger the initial suppression of pain), the longer the benefits will last from the treatment.
The manufacturer indicates that hyperesthesia (pain), hypoesthesia (numbness) and parasthesia (altered sensation) can be treated equally well with Alpha-Stim® technology. The manufacturer suggests that you use the Alpha-Stim® to treat numbness the same way as you would treat areas of pain. As an example, if your hands or arms are tingling or numb, you may take one pair of self-adhesive electrodes and put one electrode on each hand. This will run the current up one arm and down the other, and back. As another example, if you have an isolated area that is numb, you may place the electrodes on either side of the area of numbness, so that the current is directed through the area of numbness. You may use two pairs of electrodes in order to run the current in two directions. Please see our treatment protocols to learn how to treat specific areas on the body.

Allevia Health FAQ

Product Information and Use

The Alpha-Stim M and AID use ear clips for 20 minutes to an hour, anywhere from daily to 2 times a week to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia. The Alpha-Stim® M also treats pain with self-adhesive electrodes or probes on an as-needed basis.
The Alpha-Stim® M treats physical pain of all types with application of a patented microcurrent electrical therapy through the affected area. It also treats anxiety, insomnia and depression utilizing patented cranial electrotherapy stimulation applied through earclips. The Alpha-Stim® AID treats anxiety, insomnia and depression. The AID is simpler to use; the M model is more versatile given it can treat aches and pains throughout the body using self-adhesive electrodes or probes. The M model also comes with three frequency options rather than just the 0.5Hz, and it has two channel outputs rather than one, which allows one to treat pain with 2 sets of self-adhesive electrodes, or allows two people to treat with earclips at once. Put another way, the Alpha-Stim® M treats the body and brain, and the Alpha-Stim® AID treats the brain.
For most people, and most conditions, the 0.5Hz frequency setting is best, resulting in longer residual pain relief that the other settings. If you are not achieving optimal results with the 0.5Hz setting please call us for tech support. The other frequency settings may lead to faster pain relief but typically the relief does not last as long. Always use 0.5Hz for earclip treatments.
In the USA, any practitioner who is licensed to diagnose and treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, or pain can order or dispense the Alpha-Stim®. This includes MDs, DOs, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, chiropractors, naturopaths, physical therapists, acupuncturists, psychologists, licensed social workers, and other licensed mental health professionals.
Remove the old felts after a treatment. Clean and dry the ends of the earclips. If there is glue residue or if you want to sterilize the surface, then you may use alcohol. Peel felts off the protective backing and attach them to the inside of each ear clip electrode, as originally packed. In a clinical setting, between patients clean the earclips thoroughly with alcohol prior to replacing the felts. The felts are intended for single use and cleaning the earclips and replacing felt pads after each use will help prevent discoloration of the metal on the earclips. If you prefer to reuse the same felts a number of times before replacing please be sure to apply conducting solution to felt pads prior to each treatment.
A discoloration that may occasionally develop on earclips is actually a form of stain, not rust. It is produced as a “byproduct” of a chemical reaction between the current, conducting solution and natural skin residues or oil. This staining, if present, does not affect the efficacy and/or safety of the treatment. The amount of staining reported by patients varies widely among different people, mostly reflecting the amount and type of skin residue and, perhaps, the amount of conducting solution used during treatment. One way to minimize the stain is to clean earclips and replace felt pads immediately after each use to keep the metal of the earclips dry and clean.
For most people, the current is subsensory when applied on the body with probes or AS-Trodes™. Thus it is normal to not feel it. Or you may feel a very slight sensation.
The AS-Trodes™ may last 2-4 weeks or longer, depending on how often a patient uses the electrodes, for how long, and how clean and dry their skin is when applied. The manufacturer has gone to great lengths to research and procure the best possible electrodes for use with the Alpha-Stim®. The primary concern is efficacy. The adhesive gel on the AS-Trodes™ is the conductive medium ensuring proper contact and distribution of the electrical signal with the body. There are many variables which cause this gel to lose its effectiveness including humidity, amount of hair, oil, or sweat on the skin, and cleanliness of the area where applied. To maximize the lifespan of AS-Trodes™, apply to clean, dry skin and sit or lie down during your treatment. When the gel begins to lose its ability to adhere properly to the skin, it is time to replace the electrodes, and you may order online at www.AlleviaHealth.com. It is more cost effective to order 10+ packs at a time if you continue using electrodes long term.
Please use high quality AA or AAA lithium batteries only for optimal performance.
Rechargeable batteries do not discharge evenly. The waveform produced by Alpha-Stim technology is very specific and an unstable power supply may alter it thus affecting the results. In addition, the Alpha-Stim requires a well charged battery. Lithium batteries start out with more charge than a rechargeable battery and thus last much longer.
No, that is not recommended. However, it would be beneficial to use CES before MRI, particularly if a patient often experiences procedural anxiety.
Alpha-Stim technology will not be affected by airport X-ray machines. Feel free to carry it on. If you are concerned security might ask questions about what it is, you may bring a brochure and receipt for the Alpha-Stim. We discourage checking your Alpha-Stim in your luggage to minimize the possibly of theft.

Allevia Health FAQ

Side Effects and Contraindications

Adverse effects are usually mild and self-limiting. Adverse effects from data on approximately 8,792 patients participating in 144 controlled studies, open clinical trials, and uncontrolled conditions, and by physician survey and reasonably associated with the use of CES are dizziness (6 cases, 0.07%), skin irritation/electrode burns (6 cases, 0.07%), and headaches (9 cases, 0.10%). Prolonged CES treatment at
currents higher than necessary may cause dizziness or nausea that can last for hours to days. Treatment immediately prior to going to sleep may cause difficulty sleeping. Paradoxical reactions such as increased anxiety, and sleep disturbances may occur, but are rare.
If the Alpha-Stim® does not begin to control your anxiety, insomnia, depression or pain within one month, consult your health care practitioner, authorized Alpha-Stim® distributor, or the manufacturer.

The Alpha-Stim M may affect the operation of implanted demand type cardiac pacemakers and implanted defibrillators. Do not stimulate directly on the eyes, or press the probes over the carotid sinus (on the neck near the larynx).

Allevia Health FAQ

Alpha-Stim® and Medication

The Alpha-Stim is safe and effective for use in the treatment of its registered indications, and it has been helpful for many patients to reduce their reliance on medications used to treat pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Please talk with your doctor regarding any possible changes to your medications. Some patients use the Alpha-Stim in addition to taking medications, and others reduce their reliance on medications over time as they are using the Alpha-Stim. Physicians typically have patients back off their medication a little at a time, reducing it incrementally each week, and using the Alpha-Stim daily during that process. With many medications it is safest to cut back slowly/incrementally, not suddenly. Please always talk to your doctor about changing medication dosage. Please note that our staff does not advise patients on medication use.

Allevia Health FAQ

Regulatory Status

Alpha-Stim has never been considered investigational by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Our technology is FDA-cleared for the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain. Alpha-Stim is sold throughout most of the world without prescription. Please visit the manufacturer’s regulatory page to learn more.

The manufacturer of Alpha-Stim and its authorized distributors are smaller entities than large pharmaceutical companies lacking the  marketing budgets of the pharmaceutical industry. 

Your physician may visit our web site at www.AlleviaHealth.com and/or contact us for more information. 

Allevia Health FAQ

Ordering Procedures

Allevia Health, Inc. is the leading U.S. Authorized Distributor of the Alpha-Stim® serving Oregon and Washington State. We are committed to providing the very best service available to the patients and practitioners we serve.

  • We offer insurance filing and a rent-to-own plan (with no added fees) to make the Alpha-Stim® affordable for you.
  • We provide technical support by phone and email.
  • We include a packet of detailed instructions with color photographs to make it easy to learn to use the Alpha-Stim®.
  • We are available by phone Monday through Friday 9A – 5P Pacific, Noon to 8PM Eastern to answer questions and take your order.
  • We ship the same day if we receive your order by noon Pacific Time (3P Eastern Time).
  • We offer free Priority Mail shipping for purchased Alpha-Stim devices. We ship supplies for free for orders over $100.
  • We offer seminars for practitioners that come with continuing education credit and CES and MET certification from the manufacturer. A webinar is also available.
  • Our web site offers comprehensive information about the Alpha-Stim® and resources to maximize your benefit from your Alpha-Stim®.
  • We specialize in the Alpha-Stim®. Our professional staff can answer your questions and also your physician’s questions. We have a PhD scientist on staff and we work closely with a number of licensed practitioners who are very familiar with the research and clinical applications of the Alpha-Stim®.
  • Allevia Health is a leader in the effort to make the Alpha-Stim® a mainstream modality for treatment of mood disorders and pain.

To purchase an Alpha-Stim, please fax your Statement of Medical Necessity (or Rx) to 888-684-8414 and place your order on our website or by calling us at 800-684-9343. If you prefer our rent-to-own plan, please visit our financing page.

If we receive it by noon Pacific Time (3P Eastern Time) on a weekday, we will ship it out the same day. Later that day you will receive the tracking number from UPS by email. We can also ship on Saturday (by US Priority Mail only) if we receive your forms anytime Friday.

The rent-to-own plan allows you to try the Alpha-Stim® out for a month or longer. You may return it at any time during the rent-to-own plan, with no further obligation. If you are happy with the results and you continue renting, then you will own it once your rental payments equal the purchase price. The cost of ownership through the rent-to-own plan is the same as if you purchased it outright. There are no additional charges other than the cost of shipping. If you return the unit during the rental period then you will receive refund of your damage deposit. Thus you can try the Alpha-Stim® for a month of treatments for $100.

Yes, you will receive a full credit for past payments on the AID model. You will need to fax or mail us the Rent-to-Own form and a Statement of Medical Necessity for the Alpha-Stim® M, making your request for the upgrade. Please contact us for more information on model exchanges.

We have a 30 day return policy. If returned within 30 days, you will receive a refund minus the original shipping charge and 10% restocking fee which covers the cost of supplies and accessories.

Please see our Shipping page for more information.

All new Alpha-Stim devices come with a five-year manufacturer warranty (pre-owned devices come with a 1-year warranty). This warranty covers the device itself. Accessories and supplies are considered consumables and they are not covered by the warranty. All repairs and replacements of Alpha-Stim devices are handled by the manufacturer. You can register the warranty of your device and learn more about about warranties here.

Please contact the manufacturer for more information on international orders.

Allevia Health, Inc.


We welcome any questions or inquires from healthcare practitioners interested in the applications of Alpha-Stim® technology in their clinical practice or research work. We also greatly value and encourage inquires by patients who are currently using Alpha-Stim® devices or those interested in learning more about this unique technology.


+1 800-684-9343


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