Insomnia? Maybe it’s time for some supraorbital transcutaneous neurostimulation!

by Martin Reed on 1 March 2012 in insomnia cures

Don't try reading the title of this blog post out loud - you'll probably make a fool of yourself (we got arrogant and tried to read it out loud three times fast so at least you won't look as foolish as us).

Transcutaneous neurostimulation (TNS), when applied to extracephalic sites, is known to relieve pain. Now, new research suggests that a device known as Cefaly (often used by migraine sufferers to relieve headaches) could also help promote sleepiness.

Apparently, many users of the Cefaly device fell asleep during tests or demonstrations so a study was undertaken to determine the effects of the device in this area. In a small study of 30 healthy individuals, the device had a relaxing effect in 25 subjects after they used it for 12 minutes. Apparently, their tiredness increased by 73%.

Now, before you rush out and sink a few hundred dollars into the device it's worth reminding ourselves that this was only a small study. Far more research is needed to determine how long the 'sleepiness effect' lasts, and why TMS appears to have this effect.

Still, product marketing hype aside, this sounds like an interesting area of research. Of course, we'll report back if we hear of any similar studies in the future.

Source: BMC Neurology

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marina Fournier March 4, 2012 at 4:02 am

While I shan’t say it three times fast, I can actually pronounce that easily enough: I speak medical! I do have concerns about the idea of this device, which must put pressure on the head, being used to *help* relieve a migraine. Binding pressure on my head sets off a migraine!

What I have been unable to find thus far is the definition of “extracephalic”. None of the online medical dictionaries have an entry for it, and none of the articles citing it define it.

Anyone here know this term?

I think it means outside the skull, but I’m not sure, and it doesn’t quite make sense to me in the contexts I’ve seen it in.


Martin Reed March 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I believe it means ‘outside’ or ‘on’ the head since cephalic means ‘Of, in or related to the head’ – this would also match up with the diagram shown in the source link above.


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