tDCS is an abbreviation for Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation which is a form of neurostimulation which uses constant, low current delivered directly to the brain area of interest via electrodes. It was originally developed to help patients with brain injuries such as strokes but has shown great success on tests with healthy adults. They demonstrated that tDCS can increase cognitive performance on a variety of tasks, depending on the area of the brain being stimulated. It has been utilized to enhance language and mathematical ability, attention span, problem solving, memory, and coordination.
A session refers to the time you have the electrodes on your head with an electrical current surging through your brain, generally these sessions are roughly 10 – 30 minutes tops and consist of 1 – 2 milliamps of current.
tDCS has been shown to be extremely safe when properly applied to healthy adults. Thousands of studies have been done worldwide and to date there has been no evidence of any toxic effects. As long as the proper tDCS safety protocols are followed there is no reason for anything to go wrong.
A few commonly reported side effects from tDCS are tingling or itching underneath the electrodes while the device is turned on, headache, fatigue and flashes of light (usually happens when electrodes are near the eyes, called phosphenes). The effects do not last long and disappear within minutes to hours after stimulation.
Since tDCS uses your head as an electrical circuit it must have a positive (anode) and negative (cathode). Depending on which end you use on your head you can control the charge that goes through your head. The cortical tissue underneath the electrode causes the neurons to become more excitable and more apt to fire, while the cathode does the opposite and makes them less likely to fire.
On each placement page you will see a diagram of a head with some red dots (anode) and black dots (cathode). Inside each dot will be a code (e.g. FP1), this code refers to the international 10-20 electrode placement system. This helps to ensure more accuracy when using our collection of placements.