Transcranial direct current stimulation is a form of neurostimulation that uses constant, low direct current delivered via electrodes on the head. It can be contrasted with cranial electrotherapy stimulation, which generally uses alternating current the same way.
There are 2 types of electrical currents: Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). The electricity that comes out of a normal wall plug for household use, is AC. Domestic use batteries for toys or torch lights are DC.
tDCS uses DC current.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), is a non-invasive, painless brain stimulation treatment that uses direct electrical currents to stimulate specific parts of the brain.
The therapy works by delivering a low intensity electrical current to part of the brain responsible for abnormal pain sensation. This constant, low intensity current is passed through two electrodes placed over the head which modulates neuronal activity.
The treatment is not surgical and drug free. For patients this means less complications and less risk. If you are suffering from Fibromyalgia or Migraine you may benefit from this new technology.
There are two types of stimulation with tDCS: anodal and cathodal stimulation. Anodal stimulation acts to excite neuronal activity while cathodal stimulation inhibits or reduces neuronal activity.
It is important to note very early on, that tDCS is nothing like Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT), more often known as “Electric Shock Treatment”. With tDCS the patient is fully conscious, there is no use of any sedatives or relaxants, and it does not induce any seizures.
Recent studies support a therapeutic potential of tDCS in patients with chronic neuropathic pain (e.g. Fibromyalgia), Parkinson, stroke recovery, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), traumatic spinal cord injury, depression and other illnesses.
Although tDCS is still an experimental form of brain stimulation, it potentially has several advantages over other brain stimulation techniques. It is cheap, non-invasive, painless and safe. It is also easy to administer and the equipment is easily portable.
Several studies suggest it may be a valuable tool for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain. Research has also demonstrated cognitive improvement in some patients undergoing tDCS.
In Australia, the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), which is the governing body for Psychiatrists, has issued a tDCS Position Statement on the use of tDCS. Currently, we only offer tDCS for the treatment of Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and depression, which is in alignment with current available evidence.
Studies have shown that tDCS is safe, if administered properly using reliable devices. The safety profile is superior to medications. The safety profile has been the emphasis of the position statements of both the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych).
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, depression