Pain Control Without Opioids


Clinical Studies

With more than a hundred published clinical studies, reviews, numerous case reports and post-marketing clinical surveys, Alpha-Stim® Technologycranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) and microcurrent electrical therapy (MET) have been firmly established as safe, effective and highly-cost effective non-pharmacological treatment modalities for anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain.

Please see below for examples of publications on CES and MET in different study-design categories.

Randomized Controlled Trials

Barclay, T. H. and R. D. Barclay (2014). A clinical trial of cranial electrotherapy stimulation for anxiety and comorbid depression. Journal of Affective Disorders 164:171–177

Taylor, A. G., J. G. Anderson, S. L. Riedel, J. E. Lewis, and C. Bourguignon (2013). A randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study of the effects of cranial electrical stimulation on activity in brain pain processing regions in individuals with fibromyalgia. Explore 9(1):32-40.

Lande, R. G., and C. Gragnani (2012). Efficacy of cranial electric stimulation for the treatment of insomnia: A randomized pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 21:8-13.

Taylor, A. G., J. G. Anderson, S. L. Riedel, J. E. Lewis, P. A. Kinser and C. Bourguignon (2011). Cranial electrical stimulation improves symptoms and functional status in individuals with fibromyalgia. Pain Management Nursing, epublished ahead of print, 2011.

Tan, G., D. H. Rintala, M. P. Jensen, J. S. Richards, S. A. Holmes, R. Parachuri, S. Lashgari-Saegh and L. R. Price (2011). Efficacy of cranial electrotherapy stimulation for neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury: a multi-site randomized controlled trial with a secondary 6-month open-label phase. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine 34(3):285-296.

Lyon, D. E., C. Schubert and A. G. Taylor (2010). Pilot study of cranial stimulation for symptom management in breast cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum 37(4):476-483.

Shultz, J. C. (2010). The effects of cranial electrotherapy stimulation on attention: A double-blinded, placebo-controlled investigation. Psy.D. Dissertation. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 106 pages.

Rintala, D. H., Tan, G., Willson, P., Bryant, M. S., and Lai, E. C. H. (2010). Feasibility of using cranial electrotherapy stimulation for pain in persons with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s Disease. 8 pages.

Strentzsch, J. A. (2009). An examination of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) on alpha-amylase levels, cortisol levels and state-trait anxiety scores in the chronically ill. Doctoral dissertation, Saint Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. 121 pages.

Mellen, R. R., and W. Mackey (2009). Reducing sheriff’s officers’ symptoms of depression using cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES): a control experimental study. The Correctional Psychologist 41(1):9-15.

Mellen, R. R., and W. Mackey (2008). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) and the reduction of stress symptoms in a sheriff’s jail security and patrol officer population. American Jails 22(5):32-38.

Kim, Hyun Jung, Kim, Woon Young, Lee, Yoon Sook, Chang, Moon Seok, Kim, Jae Hwan, and Park, Young Cheo (2008). The effect of cranial electrotherapy stimulation on preoperative anxiety and hemodynamic responses. Korean Journal of Anesthesiology 55(6)657- 661.

Tan, G., Rintala, D. H., Thornby, J., Yang, J., Wade, W., and C. Vasilev. (2006).Using cranial electrotherapy stimulation to treat pain associated with spinal cord injury. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 43:461-474.

Cork, R. C., P. Wood, N. Ming, C. Shepherd, J. Eddy, and L. Price (2004). The effect of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) on pain associated with fibromyalgia. The Internet Journal of Anesthesiology Volume 8(2).

Lichtbroun, A. S., M. C. Raicer, and R. B. Smith (2001). The treatment of fibromyalgia with cranial electrotherapy stimulation. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology 7(2):72-78.

Schroeder, M. J., and R. E. Barr (2001). Quantitative analysis of electroencephalogram during cranial electrotherapy stimulation. Clinical Neurophysiology 112:2075-2083.

Sizer P., S. Sawyer, J. Brismee, K. Jones, J. Bruce, and J. Slauterbeck (2000). Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center, Lubbock, Texas, USA. The effect of microcurrent stimulation on postoperative pain after patellar tendon-bone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Presented at the American Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference and Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana; June, 2000.

Tan, G., T. Monga, and J. Thornby (2000). Efficacy of microcurrent electrical stimulation on pain severity, psychological distress, and disability. American Journal of Pain Management 10(1):35-44.

Winick, R. L. (1999). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES): a safe and effective low cost means of anxiety control in a dental practice. General Dentistry 47(1):50-55.

Heffernan, M. (1997). The effect of variable microcurrents on EEG spectrum and pain control. Canadian Journal of Clinical Medicine 4(10):4-11.

Heffernan, M. (1996). Comparative effects of microcurrent stimulation on EEG spectrum and correlation dimension. Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science 31(3):202-209.

Voris, M. D., and S. Good (1996). Treating sexual offenders using cranial electrotherapy stimulation. Medical Scope Monthly 3(11):14-18.

Voris, M. D. (1995). An investigation of the effectiveness of cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the treatment of anxiety disorders among outpatient psychiatric patients, impulse control parolees and pedophiles. Delos Mind/Body Institute, Dallas and Corpus Christi, Texas, 1995.

Heffernan, M. (1995). The effect of a single cranial electrotherapy stimulation on multiple stress measures. The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients 147:60-64.

Overcash, S. J., and A. Siebenthall (1989). The effects of cranial electrotherapy stimulation and multisensory cognitive therapy on the personality and anxiety levels of substance abuse patients. American Journal of Electromedicine 6(2):105-111.

Zimmerman, S. I., and F. N. Lerner (1989). Biofeedback and electromedicine reduce the cycle of pain spasm pain in low back patients. Medical Electronics 117:108-120.

Brotman, P. (1989). Low-intensity transcranial electrostimulation improves the efficacy of thermal biofeedback and quieting reflex training in the treatment of classical migraine headache. American Journal of Electromedicine 6(5):120-123.

Gibson, T. H., and D. E. O’Hair (1987). Cranial application of low level transcranial electrotherapy vs. relaxation instruction in anxious patients. American Journal of Electromedicine 4(1):18-21.

Roth, P. M., and W. J. Thrash (1986). Effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for controlling pain associated with orthodontic tooth movement. American Journal of Orthodontics 90(2):132-138.

Open Label Clinical Trials

Liu Y. and Z. Guiqing (2011). qEEG Study on the Treatment of ADHD with CES. Chinese Journal of Clinicians (Electronic Edition) 5(8):2462-2463.

Tan, G., Dao, T. K., Smith, D. L., Robinson, A., and M. P. Jensen (2010). Incorporating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to expand psychological services to veterans suffering from chronic pain. Psychological Services 7(3):148–161.

Holubec, J. T. (2008). Cumulative response from cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) for chronic pain. Practical Pain Management 9(9):80-83.

Eidelman, W.S. (2009). Control of cigarette cravings with cranial electrotherapy stimulation. The Townsend Letter for Doctors 311(6):81-85.

Bystritsky, A., Kerwin L., and J. D. Feusner (2008). A pilot study of cranial electrotherapy stimulation for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, February 6, 2008:e1-e6.

Tae-Kyu L., L. Kwan-Sung, J. Shin-Soo, H. Young-Kil, P. Chun-Kun, and K. Moon-Chan (2004). The control of chronic pain using microcurrent electrical therapy and cranial electrotherapy stimulation. From the Department of Neurosurgery, Kangnam St. Mary’s Hospital, College Of Medicine, and The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. Presented at the Korea Society for Stereotactic & Functional Neurosurgery April 14, 2004.

Kulkarni, A. D. and R. B. Smith (2001). The use of microcurrent electrical therapy and cranial electrotherapy stimulation in pain control. Clinical Practice of Alternative Medicine 2(2):99-102.

Overcash, S. J. (1999). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation in patients suffering from acute anxiety disorders. American Journal of Electromedicine 16(1):49-51.

Smith, R. B, and F. N. Shiromoto (1992). The use of cranial electrotherapy stimulation to block fear perception in phobic patients. Journal of Current Therapeutic Research 51(2):249-253.

Case Series and Case Reports

Kirsch D.L., Price L.R., Nichols F., Marksberry J.A., and K.T. Platoni (2012). Efficacy of Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation for Anxiety, PTSD, Insomnia and Depression: US Military Service Members and Veterans Self Reports. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Chinese Society of Psychiatry; co-sponsored by the Chinese Medical Association, Psychiatry Branch of the Chinese Medical Association and the Nanjing Brain Hospital. October 18-21, 2012 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.

Bracciano et al. (2012). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: a pilot study of two military veterans. Journal of Neurotherapy 16: 60-69.

Annibali, J. (2010). Case of the Week: Jeff – Bipolar Disorder and More Published online at, April 22, 2010.

Mellen, R. R., and S. Mitchell (2008). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation: a case study. The Correctional Psychologist 4(4):4-8.

Childs, A., and L. Price (2007). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation reduces aggression in violent neuropsychiatric patients. Primary Psychiatry 14(3):50-56.

Childs, A. (2005). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation reduces aggression in a violent retarded population: a preliminary report. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 17(4): 548-551.

Overcash, S. (2005). The effect of ROSHI protocol and cranial electrotherapy stimulation on a 9-year-old anxious, dyslexic male with attention deficit disorder: A case study. Journal of Neurotherapy 9(2):63-77.

Plotnick, S. E. (2005). Finding hope: Alpha-Stim® 100 may help clinicians yield better fibromyalgia results. Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation p. 82.

Frick, A., and D. McCauley (2005). Microcurrent electrical therapy heals a recalcitrant wound in a horse. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 25(11): 418-422.

Smith, R. B. (2001). Is microcurrent stimulation effective in pain management? An additional perspective. American Journal of Pain Management 11(2):62-66.

Clark, N., D. Mills, and J. Marchant (2000). Evaluation of the potential efficacy of the Alpha-Stim® SCS in the horse. DeMontfort University Equestrian Centre and Field Station, Caythorpe, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. January, 2000.

Alpher, E. J., and D. L. Kirsch (1998). Traumatic brain injury and full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy patient treated with cranial electrotherapy stimulation. American Journal of Pain Management 8(4):124-128.

Bauer, W. (1983). Electrical treatment of severe head and neck cancer pain. Archives of Otolaryngology 109(6):382-383.

Meta-Analyses, Reviews and Commentaries

Novakovic, V., Sher, L., Lapidus, K.A.B., Mindes, J., Golier, J.A., and R. Yehuda (2011). Brain stimulation in posttraumatic stress disorder. European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2: 5609.

Kirsch, D., and J. A. Marksberry (2011). Advances in Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation. Practical Pain Management April 2011:77-81.

Holleran Steiker, L. K., P. Machemehl Helmly, T. Clements, and B. Earthman (2010) New and promising technologies in the field of addiction recovery: highlights of emerging expertise. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions 10:331-338.

Zaghi, S., Acar, M., Hultgren, B., Boggio, S. P., and F. Fregni (2010). Noninvasive brain stimulation with low-intensity electrical currents: putative mechanisms of action for direct current and alternating current stimulation. Neuroscientist 16(3):285-307.

Mellen, R. R. and J. Gillilan (2009). Inmate violence, officer protection and CES. Southern Concourse, Summer 2009:28.

Farina Woodbury, M. A. (2008). Efecto de la microcorriente sobre síntomas, de ansiedad, depresión, insomnio y dolor. Galanus 1(5):15-18.

Kirsch, D. (2008). CES for mild traumatic brain injury. Practical Pain Management July/August 2008:70-77.

Kirsch, D., and M. Gilula (2008). CES in the treatment of pain-related disorders. Practical Pain Management April 2008:12-25.

Kirsch, D., and M. Gilula (2007). CES in the treatment of insomnia: a review and meta-analysis. Practical Pain Management October 2007:28-39.

Tan, G., Craine, M. H. , Bair, M. J., Garcia, M. K., Giordano, J., Jensen, M. P., McDonald, S. M., Patterson, D., Sherman, R. A., Williams, W., and J. C. I. Tsao (2007). Efficacy of selected complementary and alternative medicine interventions for chronic pain. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 44(2):195-222.

Tan, G., and M. P. Jensen (2007). Integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into multidisciplinary chronic pain treatment. In Multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Management: a Guidebook for Program Development and Excellence of Treatment. Schatman and Campbell (editors), Taylor & Francis, Pp. 75-99.

Gilula, M. (2007). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation and fibromyalgia. Expert Review of Medical Devices 4(4):489-495.

Kirsch, D., and M. Gilula (2007). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the treatment of depression: a review of the results of meta-analysis conducted on CES studies – Part 2. Practical Pain Management June 2007:32-40.

Kirsch, D., and M. Gilula (2007). CES in the treatment of depression– Part 1. Practical Pain Management May 2007:33-41.

Kirsch, D., and M. Gilula (2007). CES in the treatment of anxiety disorders: statistical considerations in the meta-analysis of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) treatment of anxiety disorders – Part 2. Practical Pain Management April 2007:22-39.

Kirsch, D. L., and M. Gilula (2007). CES in the treatment of anxiety disorders: A review and meta-analysis of cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) in the treatment of anxiety disorders – Part 1. Practical Pain Management March 2007:40-47.

Tan, G., Alvarez, J. A., and M. P. Jensen. (2006). Complementary and alternative medicine approaches to pain management. Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session 62(11):1419-1431.

Kirsch, D. L. (2006). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Practical Pain Management 6(6):60-64.

Kirsch, D. L. (2006). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation for the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia and other conditions. Natural Medicine 23:118-120.

Kirsch, D. L. (2006). Why Electromedicine? Practical Pain Management 6(5):52-54.

Gilula, M. F., and D. L. Kirsch (2005). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation review: a safer alternative to psychopharmaceuticals in the treatment of depression. Journal of Neurotherapy 9(2):7-26.

Gilula, M. F. and P. R. Barach (2004). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation: a safe neuromedical treatment for anxiety, depression or insomnia. Southern Medical Journal 97(12):1269-1270.

Kirsch, D. L., and R. Smith (2004). Cranial electrotherapy stimulation for anxiety, depression, insomnia, cognitive dysfunction, and pain: a review and meta-analyses. In Bioelectromagnetic Medicine. Paul J. Rosch, Ed. Marcel Dekker, New York, Pp 727-740.

Kisch, D. L. (2002). The Science Behind Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (2nd Ed). Medical Scope Publishing Co., Edmonton, Canada, Pp. 224.

DeBock, P. (2000). European perspective: a comparison between MET and TENS. Physical Therapy Products Sept 2000:28-33 (1981).

Mercola, J. M. and D. L. Kirsch (1995). The basis for microcurrent electrical therapy in conventional medical practice. Journal of Advancement in Medicine 8(2):107-120.

Klawansky, S., A. Yeung, C. Berkey, N. Shah, H. Phan, and T. C. Chalmers (1995). Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of cranial electrostimulation: efficacy in treating selected psychological and physiological conditions. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 183:478-485.