Direct current stimulation (DCS) is a form of brain stimulation. Many people are familiar with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is still in use today. You also may have heard of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). There are many other forms, but these are the three most common.
DCS puts DC (a type of electrical current) into your brain using stimulators placed outside of your head. DCS is more specific about where it is being aimed than ECT and is a much lower (800mA cp 2 mA) intensity current. TMS is a slightly different technology relying more on magnetism, which is more intense than DCS.
The most common negative problem with DCS is skin burns or irritation. Except in extremely rare cases, such as equipment malfunction, the “burns” are itchy and red, not blistering. The next most common problem is skin irritation (people often say it feels “itchy”) during the stimulation. Common skin issues, such as dry skin, are thought to increase the risk of these problems.
Unlike ECT or TMS, DCS is not thought to cause seizures. However, some laboratories still will screen out people with seizure risks out of an abundance of caution.
There are many ways of putting DC electrical signal into the brain. Some laboratories conduct the current through sponges, while others use high density clusters of stimulators. There is a tremendous amount of research trying to find the best intensity of stimulation, type of stimulators, stimulation pattern, and location of stimulation.
In general, DCS most commonly involved putting two stimulators on your head. These usually are wet with saline or a conductive gel. We wait to make sure the wet is absorbed by your skin, which helps us get a good connection (impedance). Usually there will be a few seconds while the charge comes up to its full intensity. The stimulation will remain on around 20 minutes. Then, the stimulation is ramped down.
Before you call the police, the FDA regulates interventions to cure diseases. DCS is only being used for sexual enhancement, not to cure any disease. This device, therefor, does not fall under FDA regulation (but we checked, just to be sure).