Brain Stimulation

Brain stimulation is a therapy that helps the brain rewire itself

Transcranial electric stimulation (tES) and transcanial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are safe and non-invasive approaches to influence brain activity. Stimulating the brain is useful to regulate brain activity and to facilitate learning and cognitive skills.

Both approaches are evidence based and have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the treatment of depression. Brain stimulation treatment for depression is available on the NHS, however access to the treatment is limited.

Treatment involves applying weak electrical currents through electrodes attached to the scalp. Some people experience a tingly and itchy feeling during stimulation and short lasting and mild headache following stimulation. 

Treatments are individually adjusted depending on treatment goals and individual sensitivity to stimulation in relation to the type of current applied (alternating or direct current), stimulation frequency, duration, strength, and electrode location. 

The treatment can be applied on its own or with cognitive training depending on treatment goal.

Brain stimulation works by influencing brain activity. The treatment can be used to increase or decrease activity, or target a specific brain rhythm depending on treatment goals. 

When brain stimulation is applied regularly over time it results in longer-term synaptic and plastic changes, therefore the effects of stimulation can be longer lasting.

See below for an illustration of the neuroplastic process following brain stimulation. 

Brain stimulation targeting areas associated with with impulse control working memory and attention

New cells are produced following stimulation

New cells migrate to the area stimulated

New cells integrate with the cells in the area stimulated.