tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation) is a contemporary form of neurostimulation (or neuromodulation) that delivers a constant low current to specific areas of the brain.
How does it work exactly? By applying a positive or negative current through electrodes to one area to help with the depolarization or hyperpolarization of neurons, in other words, increasing or lowering neurons’ threshold to send electrical pulses.
Originally, tDCS was developed and refined to aid patients with brain injuries or with neurological disorders, however, several scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of tDCS in cognitive enhancement for the general population.
to Google Trends, Denmark, Iran, and Australia are the top three countries
using tDCS, today. Iran has admitted tDCS to public, private, and education
hospitals, Australia has promoted tDCS as a non-invasive treatment, and Denmark
has validated tDCS technology on a large scale.
In this cozy safe space of mine, I rank the best tDCS devices of 2019:
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator Starstim R32, The Brain Stimulator v3.0. and the ApeX Type A, based on their features, cost, delivery time, and effectiveness.
What does tDCS stand for?
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation – a now commercially available device that works with mild electrical currents in order to promote and enhance brain plasticity through faster synapse (the junction between neurons) firing. Although studies have shown huge variability in its effects amongst individuals, tDCS works to affect different parts of the brain to promote improvement of mental processes such as learning, working memory, and vigilance.
What is a tDCS device?
A tDCS device is a compact and portable battery-powered device, light enough to be carried around on your person, or placed on a table top. It is a non-invasive device that includes the use of electrodes that are placed on the scalp that deliver small and steady currents to excite or inhibit the neuronal activity on the areas where the electrodes are placed.
These devices still remain quite experimental in the U.S., but are more widespread in Europe where they are used to treat depression and pain. Individuals can now purchase their own tDCS device in order to help in the process of treating chronic pain, mood disorder, attention, and cognitive ability.
In recent years, an overwhelming number of devices have emerged on the market, making it difficult to pick and choose the best one.
Is tDCS safe?
So far, there is no evidence of long-term side-effects or injury caused by tCDS.
Information from controlled trials show that side-effects are minor and are
solely restricted to the location of the electrode on the scalp. These include
temporary itching, tingling, and redness of the skin.
There are also no formal safety guidelines for tDCS, indicating a very low risk when using the technology.
What does tDCS feel like?
on external and internal factors such as electrode placement, level of current,
and length of the tDCS session, feelings may differ between people. However,
commonly reported sensations include itching, warming, and tingling feelings at
the source of the electrodes, of which can be reduced through application of
saline solution. Despite these minor sensations, tDCS is generally a positive
experience that does not inflict any pain or feelings of discomfort.
How I rated the best tDCS devices
In order to effectively rate the best tDCS devices, I tested five leading brands in the tDCS industry and rated their best-selling device on user-friendliness, cost, estimated delivery time, attached accessories, and the effectiveness or end result.