Neurostimulation, also known as neuromodulation, involves the application of low electrical currents to the scalp to stimulate the brain. Neurostimulation tends to produce more immediate effects than most other neurological and psychological interventions, providing more rapid relief from symptoms. In fact, most clients report feeling notable improvements after a single session!
Various modalities of neurostimulation have been found to enhance neuroplasticity and increase blood flow to the brain. As a result, combining neurostimulation with neurofeedback tends to produce more efficient outcomes than neurofeedback alone because it improves the brain’s ability to learn and grow. More importantly, by increasing the rate at which the brain can change, we increase the rate at which our clients can heal!
Some benefits of neurostimulation include:
- Increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain
- Altered neurotransmitter levels (e.g. GABA)
- Enhanced neuroplasticity
- More efficient cognitive processing
- Pain reduction
- Elevated moods
- Improved attention and concentration
- Faster motor and language learning
- Better sleep
Modalities We Offer
Here at NeuroGrove, we offer a variety of tools to meet your individual needs. In accordance with your comprehensive assessment, we will determine which modalities will be the best fit at the best time. Often, a combination of modalities throughout the treatment process tends to have the most powerful, lasting effects.
For example, the use of random noise stimulation can break up old patterns to prepare the brain for change, transcranial direct current stimulation can then decouple hypercoherent regions and calm hyperactive regions, transcranial alternating current stimulation can then boost deficient brainwaves, neurofeedback can entrain the brain to continue producing healthier levels of activity, and our brain-body wellness education program can help you learn how to maintain optimal levels of functioning for the years to come!
For more detailed descriptions of the types of neurostimulation we offer, please see below.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
TDCS delivers one-way, direct currents via positive (anodal) and negative (cathodal) electrodes. Electrons are streamed from the anode to the cathode, which results in the production of excitatory (i.e., glutamate) and inhibitory (i.e., GABA) effects within the targeted brain regions. This allows us to calm overactive regions and boost up underactive regions, in accordance with what each individual’s brain needs. For example, suppose a client’s brain shows an excess of high beta brainwave activity in posterior brain regions (as is often seen in clients with the stress response). In that case, we might place the cathode over the overactive region to inhibit its activation level to calm stress and anxiety. On the other hand, if a client’s brain shows deficiencies in the prefrontal cortex (which plays a significant role in emotional regulation and executive function), we might place the anode over that region to increase power and blood flow within that region to assist with coping and regulatory processes.
tDCS can benefit a wide range of individuals, from students and professionals looking to improve their performance to individuals with neurological or psychiatric disorders. It has also been found to reduce symptoms related to depression, anxiety, and chronic pain while improving cognitive control and enhancing specific functions, such as memory, attention, and creativity.
Transcranial alternating current stimulation
tACS stimulates neurons in the brain, synchronizing the activity of specific regions and enhancing neural communication, resulting in improved attention, memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and more. Similar to tDCS, tACS also uses anode and cathode electrodes. With tACS, however, the giving and receiving of electrons is continuously switching, allowing us to stimulate the brain with the exact frequency each brain region needs. For example, if a client’s brain shows a deficiency of alpha brainwaves in the posterior parietal regions (as we often see in clients with posttraumatic stress), we could utilize tACS to apply the deficient alpha frequencies (e.g., 8-12 Hz) to that part of the brain, which often produces a calming effect.
tACS has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of conditions, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, ADHD, chronic pain, and more. It is widely used in both clinical and research settings and is revolutionizing the field of neuroscience and mental health.
Transcranial random noise stimulation
A third form of neurostimulation we utilize at NeuroGrove is tRNS, which provides currents at randomized frequencies and milli Amperes. tRNS enhances neuroplasticity and gently breaks up any stuck patterns in a client’s brain, allowing for improvements in cognitive abilities, sensory perception, trauma integration, and more. It can also boost the brain’s predisposition to change as we guide it toward healthier patterns of functioning through other forms of neurostimulation and neurofeedback.
tRNS has the potential to improve vision, hearing, and other sensory functions. It has also been found to reduce symptoms of Tinnitus, enhance learning capacities, and promote recovery in individuals with neurological and psychological disorders.
pulsed electromagnetic frequency (pEmf) therapy
PEMF therapy involves the use of mild electromagnetic waves to stimulate healing processes in the body and the brain. It enhances cellular metabolism, blood circulation, and the growth of new tissues, improving the overall function and health of the body and brain.
pEMF has been shown to be effective in treating depression, anxiety, chronic pain, cognitive decline, and traumatic brain injury, among other conditions.
Photobiomodulation, also known as infrared or low-level light therapy, involves the use of light to stimulate cellular healing and regeneration. It increases the production of energy in cells, enhancing the natural healing processes of the body and the brain.
Photobiomodulation has been shown to be effective in treating pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline associated with aging. It is also increasingly being used in sports and beauty industries, as well as in the management of chronic conditions and neurological disorders.
A typical session
Coming in for neurostimulation might feel a bit like coming in for a spa day, only instead of a foot bath, you receive a “brain bath.” You will get comfortable in an adjustable recliners, and may be offered a neck pillow, eye pillow, and/or blanket if desired. You will have two to four electrodes on your head and/or a cap with coils for the stimulation, and all you have to do is just sit back, relax, and let the neurostimulation do its job! We also offer music, movies, nature scenes, guided meditations, essential oils, and other calming stimuli as desired to enhance your experience.
Will the effects last?
With all of these modalities, the application of neurostimulation encourages neural synchronization and promotes your brain’s natural healing processes. As electrons pass through the brain, the neurons they encounter are more likely to fire and align with one another. While the prior belief was that these changes were short-lived, growing research suggests that neurostimulation can cause ongoing changes to the brain, especially when paired with neurofeedback and other healing modalities.
Is it safe?
A recent metaanalysis showed no serious adverse effects across 33,200 sessions in over 1000 people. This analysis included stimulation levels up to 4 milli Amperes. At NeuroGrove, we provide safe levels of stimulation up to 2.5 milli Amperes. For more information on the equipment we use, see http://www.neurofield.org/
Furthermore, we believe it is important to “look inside” to see what each client’s brain needs so that we can avoid unintentionally moving the brain in a harmful direction. Our QEEG and swLORETA brain analyses allow us to design our neurostimulation protocols specific to what each individual client’s brain needs.
For more information, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5007190/