Shock Yourself To Better Health!


Flickr user [n Bryan] has been keeping busy lately, trying his hand at developing some cranial electrotherapy stimulation instruments for home use. While visions of [Peter Venkman] electrocuting hapless college students initially came to mind, this sort of therapy is not the same thing, nor as painful as what is depicted in the film.

Cranial electrotherapy stimulation relies on small currents which are pulsed along a patient’s skull at specific bioactive frequencies. It is believed that these treatments can have positive responses on the nervous system, and in fact has been approved by the FDA for certain ailments such as insomnia and anxiety. [n Bryan’s] rig is controlled by a PIC 16F88, which generates both the carrier and pre-programmed bioactive frequencies used in electrotherapy sessions.

As with all things that involve strapping electrodes to your head, take caution if you plan on replicating his work in any way, shape or form. With that said, we’d be willing to give it a shot.

[via BuildLounge]

14 thoughts on “Shock Yourself To Better Health!

  1. This would make for a good penalty in some kind of game, like Domination from “Never Say Never Again”.

    Hmm.. there already IS an Arduino “Pong” game, and the Painstation concept.. heh

  2. I got a ‘professional’ machine that does this kind of thing off of Craigslist. it basically generated a PWM square wave at various intensities/speeds on up to 10 pairs of electrodes. It was uncomfortable to use and was most likely junk science.

    1. Those have been featured on HAD before. Search and you shall find. I have DIYed them before. Use a MOSFET to send short 12V pulses through a common 1:1 audio transformer like they used to (maybe still do) sell at Radio Shack. The inductive kick at the secondary will activate muscles very well, and is safer than a direct connection. Pulse width alters intensity of stimulation. Repetitive pulses are required to produce constant muscle activation. Higher frequencies than are required for that can produce some very strange crawling sensations in your skin.

  3. cageybee, there is TENS, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which is used for pain relief (and by some people for “intimate” uses) which iI have used to treat neuropathy caused by a back injury. it uses quick pulses i’d say varied from 1 to 50 or 100 hz. I haven’t measured the voltage/current, but iI know it’s out there on the web.
    on higher settings of the device, which runs off a,9v battery, it’ll cause muscles to contract and twitch. iI believe the type used build muscles is approximately the same thing. I personally would be awfully leery of makimg one myself. the commercially made, FDA approved ones, wirth,all the safety features, they HURT if you turn the intensity and frequency high enough. they’re pretty cheap too.

  4. This is a neat project, and I always like to see people solving engineering problems.

    Having said that, the concept behind this (and the muscle-twitch exercisers) has all the markers of pseudoscience. I’d be happy to see a set of peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate efficacy, though.

    The FDA approves things based on whether they are dangerous, not whether they work. For example Homeopathy is almost all FDA approved, because it contains no active ingredients and has no effects.

  5. There is a moral to this story which young readers should take to heart. Years ago, long before “Jackass” and “Borat”, Car and Driver magazine published an artsy fartsy editorial about pissing from a speeding car on deserted Texas highways as a means of not interrupting a long trip unnecessarily. Purportedly the technique was to unzip, open the driver’s door and hold it open with the left leg and then let fly all while maintaining 70mph.

    A couple months later an irate letter to the editor was published explaining the horrible mess that the above mentioned technique caused and the ruination of the interior of a very expensive sports car.

    Oh, a few years later the editor that wrote the article bragged his way into the Indy 500 and proceeded to have his last place qualified car cartwheel down the front stretch in front of gazillions of tv viewers. Just Google “Patrick Bedard”

    Just remember, don’t be a retard like Patrick Bedard.

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