Published in Testosterone Magazine, Issue 205, April 19, 2002
(Published Online at www.T-mag.com):
Stuff We Like
Consumer Reports for Body Builders
By John Koenig and Chris Shugart
There are literally thousands of bodybuilding tools on the market today. These include exercise gadgets, athletic training devices, books, videos, and supplements. They run the gamut from complete garbage to products you shouldn't live without. It's probably no surprise to you that most of these toys and tools fall into the recycle bin category.
Therefore, we've decided to act as a sort of bodybuilding Consumer Reports and review all the various stuff aimed at the typical Testosterone consumer. Don't worry, though, we won't waste your time writing about the infomercial crap you see late at night on cable. Well, maybe we will, but just so we can poke fun at it and humiliate the shills who push this crapola. Instead, we'll focus on the more serious side of training devices and information sources. That doesn't always mean we'll give the product a glowing review, but we won't waste the space reviewing something that you and everyone else already knows sucks. And since we don't accept outside advertising here at the web site, we're free to tell it like it is without having to worry about da man telling us what to think about a product.
Each product will be rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. At the end of the article, we'll tell you where the items can be purchased.
Alpha-Stim 100 by Electromedical Products International
The Alpha-Stim 100 is what's known as a microcurrent stimulator and falls under the category of electromedicine. The technology and science behind this stuff is complex, but the overlying concept is pretty simple: the body is not just a chemical system; it's also an electrical system. Each of our 75 trillion cells has an electrical potential across its membrane, sort of like a battery. The Alpha-Stim's proprietary waveform works by moving electrons through the body and brain at various frequencies which allegedly normalizes the electrical activity of the nervous system and brain (as measured by an EEG). Along with this "normalizing" effect, it also increases natural endorphin output.
What's all that mean in English? It means that this device can effectively treat pain, anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression, among other things. In many cases, this microcurrent technology can treat many ailments better than drugs, all without any long term side effects.
If you want the whole story on this fascinating area of treatment, stay tuned to T-mag for a full article on electromedicine in an upcoming issue.
For now, let's just focus on one thing: does this thing work?
In my experience, yes. Sure, there are over a hundred human and animal studies on the Alpha-Stim (41 of which are double-blinded and almost all are peer reviewed), but I wanted to test it out or myself. There are two basic models, one that treats the brain and the body, and another that treats only the brain. I tested the more expensive model with both CES (cranial electrotherapy stimulation) and MET (microcurrent electrical therapy) capabilities.
This model can relieve both chronic and acute pain and facilitate healing anywhere in the body by touching the body at certain angles with little wands or probes, or by using electrodes. More than two dozen professional sports teams keep an Alpha-Stim handy for this reason. To treat the brain (stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia etc.) you place little clips on each earlobe. Typically, you won't feel anything except maybe a mild tingling sensation.
I mainly tested the Alpha-Stim on its ability to treat stress. Did it work? Yes. Phenomenally well. Life's stresses seemed distant; it was almost as if this device has changed my outlook on things. Generally, I became more positive and laid back. But here's the real kicker: unlike drugs that do about the same thing (only with a lot of nasty side effects), my mind was left clear and focused. In fact, because the mind works better when relaxed, I've been more creative and productive since I started using the Alpha-Stim. As Dr. Daniel Kirsch, the neurobiologist who invented this technology, says, it gives you a Type-A personality mind in a Type-B personality body. In other words, a focused and productive mind in a stress-free body.
I found that to be very true after just a few treatments. (I had the device turned up too high the first treatment and felt positively stoned after 20 minutes. I then called up a few friends and started whacking myself in the head with a pair of checkered Vans and while saying, "I'm so wasted!")
The two Alpha-Stim devices are available over the counter in every country but the United States. In the US, you'll need a note from a licensed medical professional in order to buy or rent one, but even a chiropractor or an acupuncturist can hook you up. The model that treats only the brain runs around $450 and the model that treats the body and the brain will cost you about $800. Some insurance companies will help you out with the cost.