Frequently Asked Questions
had depression for 20 years. Will I have to use the Alpha-Stim® every day for
the rest of my life?
Answer: No. When your neurotransmitters are balanced and the depression is
gone, you will only need to use it from time to time when your life's
circumstances suggest that the depression might come back. Some people who
have recovered from anxiety or depression find it best to use the Alpha-Stim®
two or three times a week for 20 minutes to prevent another episode. Others
put it on a shelf in the closet and only get it down when they feel out of
have a friend who wants to come off of his antidepressant drugs. Will the
Alpha-Stim® help with that?
Answer: The Alpha-Stim® will be a big help with that, but he should only come
off his medication under medical supervision. Some physicians who are
withdrawing hospitalized patients from such medications will withdraw them
very quickly, some even "cold turkey," while using the Alpha-Stim® an hour or
more each day. That would be dangerous for most persons who were not under
constant clinical supervision. Physicians usually encourage outpatients to
come off their medication a little at a time, reducing it by small amounts
every four or five days, and using the Alpha-Stim® daily during that process.
Withdrawal can take weeks or months, done this way, but it is much safer,
and the patients ultimately get there in the long run, which is what they
wanted to do in the first place.
3. Can I use the Alpha-Stim® too
much? If I use it too many hours a day, or use it turned up too high, will
it hurt me?
Answer: Since the Alpha-Stim® works at a level of electricity similar to the
body's own bioelectricity, no known harm can come from its overuse. On the
other hand, it is always best to use it according to the directions provided
by your licensed health care practitioner, or the directions for use that
come with the device. Most people find that it is actually more effective
for chronic conditions when used every other day; just two or three times
per week. However, in acute conditions it may be used more than once a day.
If for some reason you do not get a positive clinical response from it when
used following our protocols, contact your health care practitioner, or call
us at 1-888-E-STIMULATE. Or you can email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we can often devise other, more effective ways of using your Alpha-Stim®
for your specific needs.
4. I get the best results if I use my
Alpha-Stim® for one hour, three times a day, and at night when I go to bed.
Am I using it too much?
Answer: If that is how you get your best results, you have found the key
to how you should use the Alpha-Stim® for your condition. Keep in mind that
the procedure will likely change over time as you continue to improve, and
you may find yourself using it for only 10 or 20 minutes a couple of times a
week in order to stay at your peak level of functioning.
5. If I use
my Alpha-Stim® more than 20 minutes twice a week, my pain (or anxiety or
depression or insomnia) will not stay gone.
Answer: Good. You have found the best way to use the Alpha-Stim® for you.
Many people have found that some hiatus between treatments gets better
results. That is why we recommend using it every other day on a maintenance
I use the ear clips, I sometimes get light headed or even dizzy. I don't
like that feeling. Is it necessary to feel that in order to get benefit from
Answer: You do not have to feel unpleasant feelings in order to get the
benefits of Alpha-Stim® CES treatment. When you first put apply it, be
certain you have the current level set to "0", then gradually turn it up
until you just begin to feel slightly light headed or dizzy. At that point,
turn the current back down until the dizzy feeling goes away, and continue
to treat yourself at that level. If you feel dizzy again, turn it down
again, but never less than "1". With the Alpha-Stim® microcurrent technology,
more is not necessarily better. However, the lower the current the longer it
will take. Generally, if the current is set at less than "2", it will take
more than 20 minutes. Some people will need an hour or more, especially for
the first few treatments.
7. While I have heard about and seen
people get an immediate effect from treatment, I always feel better the next
day after I use the Alpha-Stim®, and I need to use it for several hours at a
time. I am not complaining, because it does work well for my anxiety, but
why don't I get an immediate effect?
Answer: While it is true that most people get an immediate effect, in some
rare cases people have a delayed effect like yours. In most of the cases
where people get a delayed effect, they also have trouble with prescription
drugs. In all these cases we have found one thing in common. The person who
has a delayed effect from Alpha-Stim® treatment also has a delayed effect
from anesthetics. Usually, when you receive anesthetic injections from your
dentist, you are sufficiently numb for the dentist to drill your tooth in a
few minutes. For some people, this can take one-half hour or more. Usually
the dentist will make a big deal about it because it is so rare. If you have
a delayed response to anesthetics, you'll probably also have a delayed
response to Alpha-Stim®. You will also need to use it longer.
8. It says in the instruction manual
not to use the Alpha-Stim® within three hours of going to bed. My friend uses
hers when she goes to bed at night. She says it helps her sleep better, and
she puts it on again if she wakes up too early in the morning and it helps
her get back to sleep.
Answer: The Alpha-Stim® relaxes your body and focuses your mind. If you are
going to bed thinking about a problem, the mental focus may actually keep
you awake. That is why we do not recommend using it just before going to
bed. However, some people can fall asleep with it on. It is like caffeine,
some people can drink coffee, tea, or soft drinks just before going to bed,
while others are doomed to staying awake all night if they have a sip of
caffeine after 12:00 noon. If the Alpha-Stim® does not keep you awake, it is
okay to use it before going to bed.
9. Should I take nutrition supplements and
vitamins when I use the Alpha-Stim®?
Answer: The Alpha-Stim®, when used on your body for pain cessation or
control, does this in large part by initiating the repair process in the
injured tissues. It does this by, among other things, increasing the amino
acid transport and protein synthesis in the area. It can not do this if the
necessary amino acids are not present in the blood stream when you use your
Alpha-Stim®. Similarly, when Alpha-Stim® CES is used, it will effect a
balancing of your neurotransmitters by stimulating the brain to make more of
those you do not have enough of, until their level has increased to the
extent they and the other neurotransmitters can mutually control each
other's production. The Alpha-Stim® can not help your brain make
neurotransmitters if the building blocks for them are not present in the
blood stream. So it is very important to eat a balanced diet while using the
Alpha-Stim®, and that includes the major amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and
other micronutrients. We think everyone should take dietary supplements. You
should also drink plenty of water as it is necessary for electrical
conductivity in your body.
10. What kind of food should I eat in
order to get all the things necessary for body or neurotransmitter repair?
Answer: Your health care practitioner is your best local source of
information regarding what is required and how best to find it. You can also
get helpful information from your local health food store. In general, you
should eat natural, preferably organic whole foods, at least 40 percent raw
fruits and vegetables. To optimize digestion, do not mix proteins and
carbohydrates, eat fruit alone one-half hour before, or two hours after
other foods, and avoid white sugar and white flour. You should also avoid
artificial sweeteners, especially if you suffer from headaches. You can
safely use Stevia or Xylitol for sweetening, available at your local health
11. Is it normal for my ears to turn
red after I have used the earclips?
Answer: Any electrical stimulation can cause skin irritation and it is
usually mild and self limiting. This is more prevalent in fair skinned
people or those with sensitive skin. If a problem persists, consult your
medical professional or try an alternative method of application such as
applying the AS-Trode� self-adhesive silver electrodes to the mastoid
process (the bony area behind the ears), or even the shoulders. The
stimulation can dilate the vascular system in the area which will turn the
12. Can the Alpha-Stim® be used along with
drugs my doctor has prescribed? Can it help reduce my need for
Answer: Although the Alpha-Stim® is safe and effective for use in the
treatment of its registered indications, caution should be exercised when
using CES with certain types of drugs, such as medication for high blood
pressure. As the CES relaxes you, it brings your blood pressure down. If a
drug then kicks in and lowers it even further, it can become too low. It is
easy to regulate use of the Alpha-Stim® but this is not so with drugs. Also,
if you are trying to get off of drugs you feel may be damaging to your
health, it is important that you do so under a doctor's supervision. Many
drugs cannot just be dropped but must be reduced gradually. The Alpha-Stim®
can help accomplish this and is a safe, effective method, but drugs are not,
so caution must be exercised and, again, involve your doctor in the process.
13. Will insurance pay for this?
Answer: Many plans that cover durable medical equipment will pay for the
Alpha-Stim®. However, many plan administrators and case managers are
unfamiliar with Alpha-Stim® technology and, since it is broadly classed along
with cheap TENS devices, they assume it is just another TENS. If a claim is
denied, it is important to work with your doctor and insurance company to
educate them on the benefits of this technology. Alpha-Stim® is supported by
more clinical studies than many drugs and is proven efficacious for its
registered indications. Some insurance carriers have mistakenly classed the
Alpha-Stim® as an investigational device. We can provide them with clearance
to market this technology by regulatory agencies in Europe (CE mark) the USA
(FDA), Canada, and other countries. As this technology may be new to your
insurance carrier, it is important not to take "no" for an answer. Your
doctor knows the validity of this technology or would not have prescribed
its use in your case. It is cleared to market and deserves proper
reimbursement. As a manufacturer, we have limited clout with the insurance
carriers. However, the more doctors and patients who request proper
reimbursement for this valuable technology, the more inclined they are to
listen. In the end, this technology will produce significant savings for the
insurer over drugs, surgery and secondary and tertiary problems caused by
other types of medical intervention.
14. Why doesn't my doctor know about this?
Answer: Doctors are educated in institutions largely funded by
pharmaceutical companies with multi-billion dollar budgets. These large
companies have the resources to continue to educate doctors after they
graduate, serve their internships and go into private or institutional
practices and have widespread marketing campaigns. Smaller, innovative
device companies such as EPI have had to build awareness through
word-of-mouth and participation in medical conferences not dominated by
pharmaceutical interests. It is not the doctor's fault that these new
technologies take longer to become known. It is the nature of healthcare in
the US and the nature of the medical profession which is necessarily
cautious in adopting new methods of medical intervention. The doctors
that subscribe to the Alpha-Stim® are sometimes shocked and surprised that
they had not heard of it sooner. It is worthy to note that electrical
stimulation has started to grab the attention of doctors of late with
devices such as vagus nerve stimulation and transcranial magnetic
15. I've heard of Vagus Nerve Stimulation.
Is this similar?
The vagus nerve stimulator is a surgically invasive procedure used to treat
treatment resistant depression. Vagus nerve stimulation, as the
name states, stimulates the vagus nerve, which in turn stimulates the limbic
system in the brain. While the type of stimulation differs, the Alpha-Stim®
has also shown to stimulate the limbic system as well as other parts of the
brain. In addition Alpha-Stim® has
given new life to many with treatment resistant depression (each response
depression treatment is between you and your doctor, Alpha-Stim® may be a
viable alternative to vagus nerve stimulation.
This material is reproduced with the permission of Electromedical Products International, Inc. © 2006