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The complete history of tDCS Brain Stimulation


The complete history of tDCS Brain Stimulation

When it comes to tDCS, its successors in the form of modern devices come to us as something that has only recently emerged upon discovery by the public but it is definitely not that way. The first tDCS device ever built came to us all the way back in the 17th century and when it came to us, it definitely gave us a clear view of how effective one of these devices can truly be! When that happened, we were capable to create an ultimate solution for almost every mental disease. This way we can achieve a great amount of focus and creativity.

This is what always gave humanity a motivational stride upon further researching this medical device. This device was thus, in history, used for multiple medical disciplines including gaining focus, losing headaches, depression, and insomnia within one single instrument.

Logically there have been many researchers among these individuals who were seeking to achieve an ultimate result out of their lifetime. And that is exactly why there are multiple individuals included in fulfilling these exact goals when we are researching for fulfillment within our greatest creative capacity.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) has roots in history going further back in time than most of us realize; to truly understand the rich history of tDCS, we’ve compiled a timeline of significant events in the developments of tDCS technology.

So let’s go ahead and see how we moved forward with this beautiful technology.

3000 BC

Ancient Egyptians became aware of the electrical properties of Nile catfish and apparently they liked experimenting with it because just a few hundred years later, they decided to find some use for this yet undefined energy.

400 to 300 BC

Plato and Aristotle observe and record the torpedo fish’s (electric ray) ability to elicit therapeutic effects using electrical discharge. They still cannot understand what the energy was in full but their ability to find its use was the first step for tDCS to emerge.

43 AD

Roman physician Scribonius Largus, discovers and records pain relieving properties of electricity after studying a story of a man relieved of gout-related pains after stepping on an electric ray. Scribonius would later use electric fish like the torpedo fish for headache treatment.

143 AD

Greek physician Claudius Galen realizes torpedo fish had to be alive when applied during treatment, implying the torpedo fish must be actively producing something that causes the pain-relieving phenomenon (electric current!).

11th century

Muslim physician from Persia, Ibn-Sidah, suggests the use of torpedo fish as epilepsy treatment when applied to the brows of patients.

Persian polymath Avicenna and Andalusian philosopher Averroes uses torpedo fish as a means to headache and joint pain relief.

16th Century

Syrian physician Dawud al-Antaki uses torpedo fish to treat vertigo in his patients.


German scientist Otto Von Guericke invents a hand-cranked electrostatic generator, effectively creating the first controllable form of artificial electricity! This, for the first time in history, changed the whole segment for the better.


Ewald Georg Von Kleist invents the first electric capacitor, dubbed the Leyden Jar.


Experimenters and tinkerers like Anton de Haen and Benjamin Franklin use electrostatic generators and Leyden jars for therapeutic electrification. This all worked and thus people had no restrictions against this shift.


Italian anatomist Leopoldo Marco Antonio Caldani uses the Guericke electrostatic generator to stimulate muscles in sheep and frogs; the first evidence of the importance of electricity in physiology.


Middlesex Hospital in England becomes the first hospital to purchase an electrostatic therapy machine.


Anatomist John Hunter studies and elucidates the mechanism for the pain relief and numbing caused by the torpedo fish. Discovering torpedo fish actually produced electricity!


Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta induced muscle twitching and movement in animals using an electrical current; more evidence of the importance of electricity in animal physiology.


Volta creates the first battery, which produced a direct current (DC). This opened the doors for the first clinical applications of therapeutic direct current stimulation.


Galvani’s nephew Giovanni Aldini, uses an early form of tDCS to improve the mood of 27-year-old farmer Luigi Lanzarini who presumably suffered from depression “Melancholia”. This was one of the first recorded instances of tDCS being used to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions, a major topic of interest in today’s medical fields.



Hellwag and Jacobi observe the occurrence of phosphenes during tDCS applications.


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) quickly gains popularity and overshadows tDCS; persistent inconclusive results, a lack of understanding of operating principles, and poor experimental design were several factors leading to the loss of interest in experimental tDCS at that time.


tDCS regains its popularity as interest in electro-sleep therapy and electro-anesthesia increases, this leads to an increase in an effort toward understanding how tDCS affects the brain.


DJ Albert publishes two major papers illustrating that tDCS could increase or decrease memory retention in rats, depending on the current direction. This shows tDCS’ capability for modulating cortical excitability.

Around this time, Lippold and Redfearn also report on anodal current’s ability to induce increased alertness, mood, and motor activity and cathodal current’s ability to induce quietness and apathy; providing further evidence to suggest tDCS’ ability to modulate cortical excitability.



Advances in pharmaceuticals for psychiatric disorders capture public attention, consequently overshadowing electrical therapy research.


Electrical stimulations regain interest due to an effort to develop more effective and targeted treatments with fewer side effects than traditional pharmacological means.

New brain imaging techniques and brain stimulation methods also help to reintroduce tDCS.


Progress in microcontroller technology allows engineers to create precision tDCS devices with superior control over stimulation parameters at reduced costs. Research is currently being conducted on tDCS as a means for treating neurological and psychiatric disorders, with applications in depression, schizophrenia, aphasia, addiction, epilepsy, chronic pain, and attention and motor rehabilitation. Possible applications of tDCS on healthy individuals are also being explored for cognitive and neurological enhancements. Research is also being conducted in an effort to understand tDCS and its interactions with the brain on multiple levels. This is made possible by the advancements in computer processing capabilities and physics simulation software.


Commercial tDCS devices emerged beginning with Go Flow in 2011 when it was first announced and followed by new devices each and every year with systems that exceed one another every time a new device emerges.


tDCS device is an interesting technology that definitely gives you the power to achieve the most with your mind throughout the day and gives you the ability to prevent mental diseases that are causing problems within your life. This way we can easily take care of any

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