Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation vs Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation: Difference, Benefits and Commercialization.

The brain is the most complex organ in the body with different areas that perform various roles. Two forms of brain stimulation technologies, tDCS and CES, are used for neurostimulation therapies that are treating neural function in using electrical stimulation. These devices work by stimulating the different areas of the brain correlating to the desired outcome.

A tDCS, transcranial direct current stimulation, device is a brain stimulation device that consists of a control unit that produces the current and the connectors called electrodes. In a standard tDCS setup there are two electrodes, the Anode and the Cathode. The various arrangements of the Anode (positive, red) electrode, and Cathode (negative, black) electrode are referred to as “tDCS montages”. For a tDCS device it is important to note where you choose to place the electrodes. Research shows that different montages can be used for different causes like accelerated learning, chronic pain, depression, anxiety etc.

A CES, Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, device is a brain stimulation device consisting of a current producing control unit that connects to two electrodes. It includes a variety of techniques that use low-level alternating electrical signals applied to the scalp or earlobes. In CES, the polarity of the electrodes does not matter as an alternating current is used. CES has been found to be effective for treating depression, anxiety, and insomnia. 

Both tDCS and CES are non-invasive methods of brain stimulation, offer a controlled amount of current and allow targeted current delivery. The main difference between these two technologies is that tDCS uses a small amount of constant direct current while CES uses pulses of alternating current. For commercial purposes, CES devices are FDA cleared for the treatment of depression, anxiety and insomnia whereas tDCS tDCS devices have been labeled as “Investigational”4. What this means is that they have not been officially categorized as “treatment for depression” or “treatment for fibromyalgia”. But since the devices have shown correlation with treating such conditions in countless research studies, they can be often sold for general wellness but used “off-label” or for investigational purposes.   

Neuromodec is an excellent source to learn more about these technologies, view upcoming conferences/webinars as well as find a physicians office in your area that utilizes this technology.  

tDCS devices are available for purchase on Amazon as well as from Caputron. Use code “” on Caputron to receive a discount off your purchase!


  1. Edwards, CA. et al. Neurostimulation Devices for the Treatment of Neurologic Disorders. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 92, Issue 9, 1427 – 1444. 
  2. Rosa, Moacyr A, and Sarah H Lisanby. “Somatic treatments for mood disorders.” Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology vol. 37,1 (2012): 102-16. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.225
  3. Shekelle PG. et al. “Benefits and Harms of Cranial Electrical Stimulation for Chronic Painful Conditions, Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia: A Systematic Review”. Ann Intern Med. 2018. 168 (6): 414–421. 
  4. Neuromodec, Free and complete listing on Neuromodulation. Available at:

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