Fisher Wallace Stimulator® Review
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® is a popular Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) device. The device claims to be effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain through daily use.
The device is generally considered effective, especially in dealing with anxiety and insomnia. However, this varies from person to person. Some will feel a difference after just one session, others claim that it only has a slight effect. If used incorrectly or at an excessively high current, some users have reported dizziness and negative effects on sleep. It is therefore advisable to follow the instructions carefully and always use it at home or in a relaxed environment.
Users feel improvements day to day and the effects are cumulative – after one month of use, most of the symptoms will have reduced dramatically. Fisher Wallace guarantees results for 30 days precisely for this reason. Although, it is important to understand how this device works. CES works to re-balance neurotransmitters (Serotonin) in the brain and this is why you feel better from using it. However, this does not deal with the root causes of your anxiety and is not a replacement for psychotherapy. Used in conjunction with CBT, it is a very powerful tool. This is why users often continue with ‘maintenance’ sessions, to soothe any persistent symptoms after initial usage.
Whilst being very simple to use, the device has very few options for configuration. For example, other devices enable you to alter the CES frequency, specify the timer, view stats on an LCD and have multiple electrode channels.
The device comes with an additional band, allowing you to place electrodes on different body parts. This works for the treatment of pain and is an obvious advantage.
Ease of Use
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® is a very user friendly CES device. A single wheel controls the whole device, which clicks to turn on and increases the current as you scroll. A few LED’s light up to indicate the level of current and the built-in 20-minute timer automatically beeps and switches the device off upon completion.
The set-up process is also very simple – just apply two sponge applicators to 2 electrodes, plug these into the device and dip the electrodes in a glass of normal water (other devices on the market require conductive fluid). Then place the electrodes over the temples and hold them in place with the headband.
Comfort and Convenience
Most CES devices use ear clip electrodes to transmit current through the brain. These often use self-adhesive felt pads that stick to the electrodes and are dampened with saline solution. This is a neat and convenient solution in many cases.
The Fisher Wallace device instead uses large sponges to conduct electricity. These soak up a lot of water and really lower the resistance so you don’t feel much at all. The sponges help to allow electricity to pass through your hair and reduces “hot spots” in the current for your comfort. However, some users have complained that it leaves damp patches on your hair and you should probably consider this if your hair is long and thick. You should be able to avoid getting your hair wet if you position the electrodes correctly (over the temples).
The most well known side-effect is flashing lights in your periphery vision, caused by stimulation of the optic nerve. This is a normal and safe occurrence.
Portability and Aesthetics
There is no doubt that this device was envisioned to be used at home, as you probably won’t want to be seen in public with two massive electrodes and a headband attached to your head. The design of the device very much belongs in a clinical setting and is not at all discrete. On the other hand, CES devices that use ear clips usually don’t attract much attention.
The separate wires, headband and large sponges, do not make this device easy to use on the go, however it is easy enough to pack them in the case supplied and use it at another location. Ear clips are much easier to wrap up and quicker to attach and detach.
You may want to bear in mind the cost of accessories as well as the device. Here is a breakdown of replacement accessories:
- Pack of 48 Sponges: $48
- Pack of 96 Sponges (1 Year Supply): $72
- Sponge Receptacles: $32
- Replacement Wire: $24
- Velcro Headband: $14
The sponges are the most replaceable item and at $1 per sponge are certainly not the cheapest. This obviously depends on how often you use the device, which varies from person to person.
The overall cost of the system stands at $699, which unfortunately is a typical cost for a CES device. Fisher Wallace compares the cost to alternative treatments, such as ECT, TMS, drugs and psychotherapy, which all cost a lot more. In fairness, this is true, but you may find other cheaper, less well known devices on the internet. TDCS devices usually cost less, but are not renowned for their effectiveness in reducing anxiety. This being said, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator is a high quality device, which has had plenty of anecdotal support from its users over the years and is FDA cleared. They also have finance options (see PayPal Credit) in place, incase you are worried about paying up front. The device comes with a 1 year warranty, that can be extended to 5 years for $99.
The Fisher Wallace Stimulator® is an effective CES device, that offers simplicity, value for money and functionality for the target user. The device is very likely to improve well-being, particularly for the first month and thereafter, but does not “cure” psychological problems. It is a well-researched, medically backed alternative that does what it says on the tin and nothing more or less. It is very simple to use, comfortable and suits home and leisure scenarios. The system is portable, but not suited for outdoor use. Replacement parts are somewhat costly vs. the competition, but are also good quality. The cost is reasonable for a CES device which is well established and is a well-known brand.