Published online at blueskiesfitness.co.uk on September 1, 2008:
Product Reviews - Alpha-Stim
The Alpha-Stim products are devices designed to treat pain, promote healing and control stress using "Microcurrent Therapy" or very low voltage electro-therapy. For those of you who have experienced TENS machines, they work on a similar level but the Alpha-Stim claims to result in longer lasting results. Well, we thought we'd find out!
We were asked to review the Alpha-Stim Personal Pain Manager (PPM) and the Alpha-Stim Stress Control System (SCS). You can read more about the technology behind the Alpha-Stim by clicking here.
This device comes with four self-adhesive electrodes which you place in specific places on your body according to where you are experiencing pain - there is a poster to show you where to place them. Once they are in position, you turn the machine on and just carry on with your normal routine whilst it does its stuff.
One of the positive points of this product was that the leads connecting the electrodes and pads were long enough to allow you to place the electrodes in the correct position AND put the device in your pocket - a limitation on many machines in this class. For example, we needed to place the electrodes on our ankles and lower back and this was not a problem ast all.
Although we only trialed the machine for two weeks, it did produce good results. At the time of the trial, we were doing a fair bit of running and getting a few niggly lower limb muscle pains which would have limited training to a certain extent. Using the Alpha-Stim for 30-60 minutes relieved these muscular pains and alleviated some of the tightness being experienced. Not only was this a relief but it also allowed training to be performed to a higher level on the following day which otherwise would have been unlikely!
We do believe that this product has its uses in sports and performance arenas as well as in medical settings where it seems to mainly be used at the moment but would like to see it trialed by sports physiotherapists too. Away from sport and exercise, the Alpha-Stim PPM can be used for a range of conditions and research has shown that it is particularly useful for:
Chronic back pain sufferers
Repetitive strain injuries
The SCS model is designed for use in the management of anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia. It is drug free and non-invasive making it ideal for most people to use. The 'treatment' is delivered via two ear clips.
The first thing that you notice when you start using this product is the disappearance of what can only be described as 'mental noise'. It's as if all of the unnecessary thoughts that you are having suddenly disappear resulting in clarity and allowing you to focus on the important things. You really do have to try it to believe it.
We trialed this product in two different ways looking at its influence upon sleep and mental performance.
Although insomnia isn't a condition that we suffer from, trouble getting to sleep often is so trying the Alpha-Stim out for this was something that we were keen to do. Using it for 20 minutes before going to bed really did seem to clean the mind and remove all of those thoughts that normally keep you awake, so allowing you to drift off more quickly.
We also used the Alpha-Stim when we were having trouble concentrating on work - once again, it came up trumps! Clipping the electrodes onto your ears really focussed the mind on the task in hand improving productivity. This device creates the clear mind that you need when you're getting bogged down in an assignment or task.
Medically, this product is used to treat anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, MS and stress - once you've used it you start to understand how.