Biohacking : tACS Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation Demystified
Brain stimulation using tACS (Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation) is a somewhat obscure form of cranial therapy. It has been used primarily to treat various forms of depression, insomnia, chronic pain and anxiety. There are few devices on the market that offer “alternating” current while there are many tDCS that offer direct current. tACS has the ability the entrain large neural populations due to its sinusoidal waveform. In the last 11 years tACS has enjoyed rapid growth. In 2007 there was a single clinical study on tACS research and in 2016 there were almost 70 studies.
Before we get into some of the advantages, prosumer devices and DIY options for tACS let’s get the disclaimer out of the way. Electrical brain stimulation is so appealing due to its affordability, effectiveness and being relatively safe. However, skin irritation, temporary blindness, itching and potential long term brain changes are all serious concerns. Do not build or use these devices without doing your own research or consulting an expert.
time requirement – Treatment sessions can be as short as two minutes and do not need to be longer than five minutes. Other forms of electrical stimulation such as tRNS (random noise) are typically 10 minutes in duration and the more traditional tDCS (direct current) are normally 20 minutes long.
promotes flow – The ideal brain waves for elite athletes to professional programmers occur at 7.5 Hz. This is known as the “flow” state. These brain waves occur at the top of the Theta state (known for it’s dreamy / creative quality) and at the bottom of the Alpha state (known for mental focus). tACS hits guides users to this state more effectively than tDCS or tRNS.
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