Transcranial current stimulation

There are a number of new studies on transcranial direct current stimulation and on transcranial magnetic stimulation. The newly discovered benefits of these therapies include pain relief, treatment for major depression, cognitive enhancement (including speeding up learning, creativity enhancement, and improving mathematical abilities, etc.).

Are these new transcranial therapies really novel? The treatment seems to be strikingly similar to scalp electroacupuncture, which has been used safely and effectively for decades.

We have numerous studies supporting scalp acupuncture for treatment of conditions such as

Acupuncture is much cheaper compared to transcranial therapies

  • US$300 is a cost of a typical transcranial magnetic stimulation session
  • NZ$70 (US$57) cost of a typical acupuncture session in New Zealand

As brain mapping techniques are becoming more accessible and we’re getting a better understanding of the human brain. This opens opportunities to design new treatments for numerous other conditions with electro-acupuncture, transcranial current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The image: mapping of the White Matter fibers

15 replies
  1. Dr Vitalis Acupuncture says:

    Hi, No. I’m not aware of anyone providing this. I looked into providing TMS + acupuncture, but after researching, decided to continue providing electro acupuncture. In my view, there is an added benefit of electro acupuncture plus TMS, but not sufficient to justify the cost.

    • cam 76 says:

      tDCS seems to be the target focus these days with Auckland university and others running trials. To be on the cusp of this one could be interesting. I envisage clinics where one on one or perhaps two on one can run a patient through the correct protocols and montage setups. As you probably know the tDCS units are already readily available online, yet few can probably administer the treatment correctly by themselves. I can understand the costs to clinic and patient wouldn’t easily justify the pursuit of TMS, although if approved – you would be the first. Thanks for your time.

  2. Leeesa says:

    Hi – I can only see part of this discussion so I’m not sure its on point but I’m looking for somewhere in NZ that provides TMS or something similar for treatment resistant depression? My partner is incredibly fit and healthy and does everything right in terms of looking after herself given her depression – you name it, she’s tried it! She relapsed again in January this year and at this stage our only option is perhaps ECT – but it’s questionable whether this even worked on her last time so we don’t want to go down this track. Getting desperate – do you think scalp electro accupuncture could help???

    • Cam76 says:

      Hi Leeesa, not sure if you will see this. I just noticed in the last few weeks that Dr Mendel at Healing Minds is now offering rTMS, the first in NZ. If you do happen to see this, the link is below. Looks like it would cost $4,400, incl initial consultation, to run the normal course of 20 treatments. Actually somewhat cheaper than I imagined. Any follow up treatments, after that, are $200 each.

  3. VeganCatLady says:

    Hi. I had a stroke in 2010. I worked really hard during rehab to regain my speech and movement, and had what the doctors called a ‘remarkable recovery’ so I left rehab feeling very hopeful that my life could go on as before. 6 weeks later I developed chronic post stroke central pain down the entire right side of my body. For the most part I soldier on but sometimes it really gets to me (nueropathic pain is noxious, to say the least). Is it possible that scalp electro acupuncture could help me?

    • Dr Vitalis Acupuncture says:

      Hi VeganCatLady, it must have been your hard work and drive that have led you to the remarkable recovery. Sorry to learn about the pain you’re continuing to suffer. Acupuncture could and should be helpful in your situation, but without seeing you it is hard to advice. Vitalis

  4. Christina says:

    I was wondering if you have to be over 18 years to get treatment from the acupuncture and the transcranial treatment?

    • Cam76 says:

      There is no TMS/rTMS (transcranial treatment) currently available in NZ. It is currently being trialled at one or two universities here but there are no clinics offering it as yet. The closest place for treatment currently is AU.

      • Vitalis says:

        Thanks, Cam76 :) Cranial electro acupuncture is essentially very similar to transcranial current stimulation, but it has good studies and safety record backing it up. And, Christina, yes you can have cranial electro acupuncture being under 18 years old. Your acupuncturist may need agreement of your parent or guardian.

        • Cam76 says:

          Hi Dr Vitalis, do you happen to recall the initial cost of the rTMS hardware you previously researched? I realise of course that there would be additional and on going expenses also. Do you remember the brand name? I am also unclear on whether there is anything medsafe approved for use in NZ yet, I know of a few that are FDA approved. Thank-you.

          • Cam76 says:

            Ok, no problem, I am looking in to it at the mo. I am awaiting a reply from a rep in AU who is on holiday till the 11th. I can keep in touch if you wish?

Comments are closed.