Alpha-Stim: Two Minutes to Stop Smoking


Products with Greek letters in their names tend to go one of two ways. They either become super popular and important (Omega watches) or flop massively (Betamax, Nu Coke*). So what will happen with the Alpha-Stim – can it actually help people stop smoking? 

Flirting with the realm of science fiction, the Alpha-Stim clips onto your earlobes and pumps microcurrents into your brain to cure cigarette addiction in as little as two minutes. Based on a technology used to get rock stars off heroin addiction, the Alpha-Stim can be used to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression and stress, although it has shown some of the best results on addition.

The device fires 50-100 microamps of electricity through the ears, which increases the frequency of alpha brain waves. The enhanced alpha waves are said to help induce a relaxed state that calms the nervous system. The exact mechanisms by which the Alpha-Stim produces these effects, however, are not fully known – so it’s still possible that it’s a secret mind-control device.

The best estimate is that the microcurrent waveform activates particular groups of nerve cells that are located at the brainstem – the groups that produce serotonin and acetylcholine. These two chemicals are widely known for their ability to improve human moods.

A big backer of the product, Dr. William S Eidelman witnessed the device being used on 2000 smokers, and recorded an average drop in the strength of cravings from 8/10 to 0/10 in as little as two minutes. Patients had to use the device 3-7 times a day to start with, but by Day 4 the number of required sessions had dropped, and between weeks 1 and 4 cravings had stopped entirely.

Eidelman is a bit of a controversial character – he shot to fame in 2004 after the Medical Board of California looked to revoke his license for promoting the use of marijuana to patients. The case was thrown-out, however, and the American continues to promote less-traditional forms of medication like the Alpha-Stim. Unlike cannabis, however, the Alpha-Stim is fully FDA-approved

Patrick Strudwick, from The Telegraph, tried an earlier version of the device in 2010, and said good things about the unit – although he noted that drinking alcohol and using the Alpha-Stim was not recommended.

Oh, and it’s also recommended for use with horses.

Find out more at Alpha Stim.

*Artist license taken with the spelling of New Coke