Flow tDCS Headset

The Flow headset is marketed as “at-home depression treatment,” which demonstrates the device’s loyalty to treating depression specifically. It also boasts a therapy app and ultimate portability, and the fact that behavior therapy is done without needing to communicate with another person, through modern devices. So far, the device is available in the UK and Sweden and is CE certified.

Cost: 3/5
Ease-of-use: 5/5
Features/Accessories Provided: 5/5
Delivery/Customer Service: 5/5

Customer Reviews
There are already plenty of customer reviews from general users, professions, and the media that are highly positive.

User: “You’re not left alone wondering whether you can get out of depression or not. Slowly over time, with the combination of electrical stimulation and CBT, life just gets more enjoyable, less anxious, but there’s no noticeable hard journey to get there. It seems intangible but it works.

Sophia Frangou, MD PhD.: “Home-based, on-demand treatment that is safe and evidence-based, as that provided by Flow Neuroscience, is a major step forward in meeting the clinical needs of patients with depression.”

Reviews generally focus on comparing the Flow headset to therapy and medication without having to use either. Some users pointed out the privacy factor, as well as the educational and solution-based factor where it seeks to alleviate symptoms. Media outlets that have covered the release of Flow include Forbes, which wrote about how the headset is part of the future of health wearables, and Cosmopolitan, which also focused on the progressive nature of Flow in depression treatment.

Cost
The headset can be purchased for either a one-time fee of £399 or for £34/month for 12 months including VAT. A headset comes with headset pads, and a box of extra refill pads costs £19. The device is considered quite costly, but for a novel device with so many positive reviews, it certainly seems worth it, especially as it offers a monthly payment plan as an alternative.  

Ease of Use
The Flow headset simply required you to sit comfortably and use the headset and app in unison. A 6-week treatment program includes 18 stimulation sessions for just 30 minutes each. After six weeks, using Flow twice a week is recommended for relapse prevention. The headset is programmed to deliver electrical signals to the DLPFC (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), with which depression is associated with lowered activity. The app is a great guiding tool that makes use of this tDCS device, easy. It is a therapy-style app that helps the user makes lifestyle changes associated with sleep, exercise, diet, and mindfulness/meditation.

Features/Accessories provided
The Flow headset is a seamless piece of technology that comes in a blue box, with headset pads available for 20 sessions of use. A medical device-approved MicroUSB charger, an instruction manual, pad holder rings are also included in your order. The app is the biggest accessory provided, where the facts and techniques for the program are based on reputable randomized controlled trial studies.

Delivery/Customer Service
Delivery is only available in the UK and Sweden, where express delivery generally takes 2-3 working days and standard delivery takes 7-11 days. There is a 30-day money back guarantee where you are entitled to a refund if you find that the device does not work for you, or there is a defect. Shipping costs £3.9 for standard delivery and £13.9 for express. There is extensive information on the Flow website, with a great FAQ, links to their social media, a newsletter, a customer support email, as well as a live chat during certain hours.

Summary/Overall
Pros:

  • Stylish and minimalist aesthetics
  • Pay per month program
  • Includes app developed by psychologists

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Headset cannot be used without the app

About Flow Neuroscience
Flow is a company that brings together science and technology in order to treat depression. Founders Daniel Mansson and Erik Rehn combined their backgrounds in clinical psychology, neuroscience, electrical engineering, and computer networks in order to launch the company, and seek to have Flow make treatment accessible and simple for mental health.