Alpha-Stim Therapy Treats Our Heroes’ Invisible Wounds

At our Intrepid Spirit Centers, an interdisciplinary model of care is implemented to address every service member’s individualized needs based on their diagnoses. Each center is equipped to treat our heroes suffering from the invisible wounds of war: traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS), in a number of different ways, including some familiar treatments such as art therapy, music therapy, occupational & physical therapies, and even yoga. One of the lesser-known, though critically important, therapies implemented at our Intrepid Spirit Centers is called Alpha-Stim Therapy.

Simply put, Alpha-Stim therapy uses a device to send electric currents to the brain. These microcurrents activate a specific set of cells in the brainstem. The cells alpha-stim activates producing chemicals including vital serotonin and acetylcholine. Serotonin has been regarded as “the happy chemical”. It plays a central role in regulating mood. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression, which is common in cases of both TBI and PTS. Acetylcholine on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter, and is very present in our bodies’ central and peripheral nervous systems. Physically, it stimulates our muscles to contract, ranging from organs to even the flutter of an eyelash. From a cranial perspective, acetylcholine plays a part in our memory and cognition. In fact, the depletion of acetylcholine in the brain is a common trait of Alzheimer’s disease. The microcurrents in this therapy change the activity in different neurological systems in the brain. The currents which the alpha-stim device emit create what are known as alpha rhythms.

Alpha rhythms elicit feelings of relaxation, calm, and even increase mental focus. That’s the purpose of Alpha-Stim therapy: to return the mind to a state of normalcy and calm. In eliciting these positive feelings, stress and agitation decrease, moods stabilize, and certain types of pain may even decrease. Common symptoms of both TBIs and PTS may include anxiety, memory loss, sleeplessness or insomnia, and depression. TBIs can also cause increased agitation and memory issues. Alpha-Stim therapy can help reduce and even sometimes eliminate these effects.

Alpha-Stim therapy is just one piece of the puzzle to treating our service members who sustain the invisible wounds of war: traumatic brain injury & post-traumatic stress. Our Intrepid Spirit Centers operate as satellites to the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, which the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund completed construction on in 2010. We’ve completed seven Intrepid Spirit Centers, which are all operational and healing our heroes, but our mission is still in progress. Three more Intrepid Spirit Centers are planned, and we need your help to make them a reality. Help heal our heroes with a donation today.

Posted on January 28 2019 in Blog

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