Treatment of Anxiety and Depression

The Fisher Wallace Stimulator: A review

by Bill White

“Meds, meds, meds. Aren’t there any creative ‘brain remedies’ about?”

Well, it’s not brand-spankin’-new; however the Fisher Wallace Stimulator is certainly interesting and creative. Better than that, it looks as though it’s effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.

I’d say it’s time for a chipur review!

“So how does the Fisher Wallace Stimulator work?”

Well, catch this. It actually delivers a mild electrical current to the brain. In the case of chronic pain, the device is placed on the actual pain site. Take a look at the image – you’ll be able to connect-the-dots.

Now it’s important to understand the Fisher Wallace Stimulator (FWS) isn’t an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Fisher Wallace Laboratories (FWL) (NY, NY) uses patented radio frequencies to stimulate the production of serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA – our most abundant inhibitory – calming – neurotransmitter), endorphins, and other key neurochemicals involved in mood, sleep, and pain.

As a bonus, it’s also said to lower cortisol levels.

Conveniently, the FWS is typically used at home – 20 minutes, once or twice daily.

There are no potential meds conflicts, and the only reported side effects are rare occurrences of mild headache, dizziness, and mild skin irritation.

The FWS was cleared by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) in 1991 for the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. What does that mean?

The FDA has determined the FWS to be substantially equivalent to another legally marketed device. FWL had to send a premarket notification to the FDA to secure such clearance.

A prescription is required to purchase a FWS.

“Does it really work?”

Well, apparently it does. And relief has been realized in 5-10 treatment sessions. According to report, positive results are seen more frequently with insomnia. Chronic pain has been reported to be relieved within a “few” treatment sessions.

Regarding depression and anxiety, a Columbia Medical Center physician says the FWS has been efficacious in 75-80% of the cases in which he’s prescribed it.

Of note – FWL has some high-powered medical and science brainiacs backing the FWS, and doing research for future projects. They’re from Harvard Medical School, Columbia Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Maryland, and more.

FWL says the device should be used daily for 30-45 days before drawing final efficacy conclusions.

And how ’bout it? FWL will issue a full refund if you return the device within 60 days because it didn’t successfully treat your symptoms.

“Sounds good to me. I want to buy one!”

Again, you’ll need a prescription. Once you secure one, head on over to the FWL website and get things rolling. A new FWS is $695. FWL offers payment plans and special pricing for military personnel and veterans.

Oh, almost forgot! What about insurance reimbursement? This from FWL…

Many private insurance companies, such as Aetna and Blue Cross, will either pay for or reimburse the purchase of a Fisher Wallace Stimulator when it is prescribed for the treatment of pain using the code E0730NU.  When the device is prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety and insomnia, the reimbursement rate decreases significantly.

Fisher Wallace Laboratories does not process reimbursement paperwork on behalf of its customers, but will assist customers during the process.

The Wrap

chipur does all it can to keep you posted on remedies for the mood and anxiety disorders. Naturally, I can’t tell you if a psychotherapy, med, supplement, or device will for sure work for you.

But I can tell you if my gut says we’re dealing with a hack or con.

I have a good feeling about the Wallace Fisher Stimulator in terms of legitimacy and potential efficacy.

Certainly, it’s pricey – but think about how much you’re spending on meds (notice I didn’t say psychotherapy – I don’t consider that a trade-off)? And depending upon what you’re going to use it for, there is the potential for insurance reimbursement.

If anyone has any degree of experience with a WFS – or any other thoughts – please share in a comment, okay?

Please click here to see a listing of the chipur articles on the meds, supplements, and devices that may be used in the treatment of the mood and anxiety disorders.

Bill White Hi! I’m Bill White, founder and producer of Chipur – and a licensed counselor. Are you looking for help? The miles are irrelevant. Visit my Coaching|Mentoring page.

  • anonymous

    Do NOT give the Fisher Wallace company your credit card information before obtaining a prescription.  They will change your credit card account BEFORE you manage to obtain the prescription!  They will also make it sound as if it is easy to find someone to write a prescription for the device, but I have not found that to be the case.

    I placed an order by phone with Dr. Fisher, and started my search for a prescription.  When I placed the order, I told Dr. Fisher that it might take me some time to find a prescriber (as it turns out, so far my psychiatrist, and my husband’s, have both been unwilling to write one; so has the psychologist provided by my husband’s employer).  However, to my surprise, my next credit card statement included a charge for the stimulator.  I contacted “Ana,” the customer service person, and was told that because I had ordered it through the website (I hadn’t!), the charge *could not* be reversed.  She also suggested that I contact a particular psychiatrist to ask if a consultation would suffice for him to prescribe it  -  even though I had told her (Ana) in an earlier email that I had already asked that particular psychiatrist that very question, and he said he couldn’t (he only prescribes them for ongoing patients)(his name is on the FisherWallace website).

    Don’t get me wrong  -  I want this device.  Perhaps with enough pleading and persuasion our psychiatrists will write a prescription for us (note:  this would be self-pay; we don’t expect our HMO to pay for it.  But HMO psychiatrists are very reluctant to even write prescriptions for unusual things).  And I’ve made an appointment with a chiropractor in the hopes that that will pan out.  And so on.  But I am disgusted by the company’s customer service, and disgusted by being charged at this stage.  It makes me wonder  -  what if I *don’t* manage to get a prescription?  If I pay my credit card bill as is, now, will I ever get my money back?  Despite not getting the device?

    So  -  the bottom line is that they make it sound easy to get a prescription  -  but it isn’t.  So DON’T give your credit card info upfront!!!!!!  Wait until you obtain a prescription!!!!!!!!

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Appreciate the heads-up!

      Bill

    • Wayne Kuttner

      Dear
      anonymous,
      I am a nurse licensed in the Us  with a medical background and some clinical experience in Psychiatry and I will be glad to contact the Fisher Co.  and write the prescription, which is just faxing my license to the company, all for gratis.Only speak to me first about your situation. I will  see Mr. fisher this coming week.call me at 718 261 2683 Wayne Kuttner

  • HowMuchLongerShouldISuffer

    It is hard to get a prescription.  I had to literally beg my Pdoc to do some research. I went to the Fisher-Wallace website and locate my PDOC’s boss who had prescribed it before. I have to wait 30 days before to see if my meds will work.(they never do).

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      The quest for relief is so often needlessly blocked by stupid barriers. My heart goes out to you, though I that doesn’t do you much good…

      Bill

    • wayne kuttner

       Iam a nurse and willl send in my documentation to get some people the prescription all -gratis.emai me at Wayne.kuttner@gmail.com

  • Paula

    any new updates on effectiveness?

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Paula…

      I haven’t any; however, you never know when someone else may chime in. Also, try doing a search on the chipur forum http://chipur.com/forum/

      Thanks for the visit and the post…

      Bill

      • newmama

        pls see my posts below Paula :) I use it twice a day on the lowest setting (1) and I really feel that it is helping.

  • newmama

    I am feeling better after about 10 days using the device twice a day for post partum depression/anxiety. I am also tapering off zoloft bc I had such horrible side affects. Thanks for posting about this. Also– my acupuncturist prescribed it bc my psychiatrist didn’t feel comfortable.

  • new mama

    Many people in my life are noticing the positive changes in me after 2 weeks of usage (including my psychiatrist and therapist :) After 15 + years of depression and anxiety– I am feeling very hopeful.

    • newmama

      It has now been 3 months off of meds and using the FW device. I think it works well and am happy to have found something like this.

  • anonymous

    I’m the person who wrote in six months ago to point out what a pain it is to get a prescription for this device, and that the company underplays the difficulty, and in our case actually charged our credit card before receiving a prescription.  Well, here I am with an update:  it was worth the effort.

    My husband has been using the device for about five months now, and it helps enormously with his anxiety and depression.  He is 52 years old and has been horribly anxious for his entire life; it’s the “worry constantly” type of anxiety.  His mother had the same affliction.  Over the years he has had talk therapy and has been prescribed innumerable drugs, none of which worked for the anxiety (some helped a bit with the depression), and all of which had side effects (some of them quite horrible).  The device is actually *working* for his anxiety.  It is amazing.  No, he hasn’t become happy go lucky.  However the difference is striking.  He uses it every day  -  almost:  on those days when he doesn’t, things are much worse.

    My husband’s psychiatrists have been very happy to prescribe really heavy duty drugs.  They’ve even told him that he’d be a ideal candidate for ECT  -  except for the fact that he is an academic, and needs his brain for his professional life(!)  However, none of them would touch this device with a ten foot pole.  Horrible meds, sure (some of which READILY cause diabetes, obesity, hand tremors).  Harmless device, no way.

    I’m confident that we’re not being fooled by a placebo effect, since we have tried so many other things, with at least as much hope and expectation, but without success.

    Yes, it is expensive for most people.  They do have a money back guarantee of some sort.  In my husband’s case, it started helping well within the guarantee period, for what that’s worth.  It certainly wasn’t cheap from our perspective, however we were desperate.

    It has not helped at all with my husband’s insomnia.  Oh, well.

  • anonymous

    I should add that my husband has not stopped taking his antidepressants.  He is using the device in addition to his prescribed SSRIs, which he has been on for many years.

  • Nat

    It works! I have been using this machine for 5 months now and I love it. I have fibromyalgia with chronic pain, severe anxiety and depression, and severe insomnia . The machine is helping with all those problems. I am not cured, but my quality of life has improved dramatically! I use it every other night at bedtime, but I used to use it every day for the first month. It took me several weeks of use to notice a difference ( that it was working). I almost gave up hope but then I started feeling better and kept getting better. I highly recommend this machine. I have been on every antidepressant/ bipolar med/ mood medication there is and experienced all the horrible side effects. This machine has given me zero side effects. It also tremendously helps with concentration and brain clarity. I am still on one medicine, a tryciclic antidepressant called desipramine.

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Nat!
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with chipur readers. Most of all, I’m glad you found a large measure of relief – well deserved, I’m sure. Keep on keeping on – and keep coming back!
      Bill

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I have severe depression and my doctor tried everything and the only thing that helped me was Nardil, now they have changed some chemicals in Nardil and it doesn’t work help like it used to. Would I be able to go on the FWL taking my meds? Nardil, lithium, clonazapam, and amantadine (due to trying abilify I got Parken Syndrome)?
    Thanks

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi “Anonymous!”

      First of all, thank you for visiting chipur and participating. Your comment is appreciated – by me and all chipur readers.

      I’d like to address the Nardil issue for those who may not know what you’re referring to. Short version: I believe it was in 2003 that Nardil’s (an MAOI antidepressant) formula was changed, much to the disappointment of those for whom it worked so well. Word is the new formula just doesn’t cut it.

      Regarding using the Fisher Wallace Stimulator while taking your meds: From Fisher Wallace Laboratories FAQs…
      Can I use the device at the same time I am taking medication?
      Yes. The device does not have any contraindications with medication.

      So there you have it. Again, thank you for your participation…

      Bill

  • Dave Staley

    FYI-just want to let you know there is a 10% restocking fee and shipping and handling if returned, not 100%. Anyways I just received my FWS and am hoping for good results.

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Hi Dave!
      Thank you for sharing the info. Please let us know how things go, okay?
      Bill

  • Chad

    I can swear by the device and the incredible almost miraculous relief and change it brought my son. Results were undeniable after just one week.

    Sadly, I first learned of the device over a year before deciding I had nothing to lose and ordered it. I first pursued TMS and spent $12,000.00. No regrets. It defeated the clinical depression my son had been battling so quickly it angered me that not a single professional had even whispered that such a technology was available.

    After TMS, my son was still suffering from anxiety and had other debilitating traits. I spent another $20,000.00 for him to receive T.E.A.M. therapy in San Francisco for a month working with several of the best and most well reviewed cognitive behavioral therapists in the world. No regrets. The tools he was somewhat familiar with he became very proficient with and he came back with hope and began making some changes. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, after a few months, he was no longer doing the work that CBT requires and he regressed.

    My son once again suffered from insomnia often, followed by weeks where he was sleeping way too much and taking naps with no motivation to get with it. He once again had very clouded thinking, was forgetful, unreliable, impulsive and gambled away any money he could find. He was quite a mess and he couldn’t even see it.

    Thankfully, the only problem he wasn’t dealing with was the severe clinical depression that had left as a direct result of undergoing the TMS therapy.

    I spoke with my son, and he agreed to try the Fisher Wallace Device. I ordered it and gave it to him but he failed to wear it right away. After a few days of pressing him to use it, he did.

    All I can say is that after a week, he was like a new person. He began sleeping at night and was fully energized after just 6 hours. Suddenly, he was not forgetful. His head was not foggy. He became completely reliable and his work attendance went from 65% to 100%. Amazingly, he approached me and said it was as if the darkness was lifted and he could truly see the world the way it was.

    He remarked that he had actually thought he was doing pretty good and felt he had been fairly responsible and didn’t know why anyone was ever getting on him about things. But now that he had been using the device, he stated he could see what a mess he had become and completely understood why some of us had attempted to get him to “grow up”. He admitted that he probably did not deserve the tolerance and the patience extended to him and apologized for his behavior.

    I write these things to share with the world the fact that I too was thinking “too good to be true, always is”. I can only tell you that in this case, it is not.

    Read the story and history behind the device and how Wallace first learned of the device and was first a patient before ever becoming a part-owner of the technology.

    Read the Vincent Forras Story about his experience and his determination to help put the device in the hands of rescue workers suffering after September 11th http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/07/22/firemans-pact-with-god/

    Perhaps you will take a chance, like I did, and find a miracle like I did. A miracle like countless others have.

    Perhaps you will accuse me of being a paid shill. Perhaps you will still stubbornly think that the idea is too good to be true.

    However, before commenting on the Fisher Wallace device when you have no basis to form any opinion, I challenge you to spend your energy seeking knowledge from others that have used the device and seen or experienced the device.

    Otherwise, to have no knowledge and to mock or state negative things about the one thing that may exist to help people that are suffering is undeniably wrong. What a terrible disservice you are doing to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of those that are seeking relief from a device that was created by a team of two brilliant minds. Two men that were not only partners. but also brothers. Created by two brilliant minds that hold multiple Patents on highly sophisticated inventions, but ‘weren’t great marketers’ as Mr. Fisher has been quoted as stating.

    Perhaps it is an invention that has only recently been marketed properly after at least one of the original inventors passed away and the rights to the technology were purchased by two believers. Two believers that were determined to help people that are suffering and not satisfied with taking countless pills that may be lifelong and have possible side effects.

    I beg you to try the device if you or someone you love is hurting and suffering. I encourage TMS therapy as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well. However, considering the convenience and costs and long term benefits, nothing comes close to the Fisher Wallace Device.

    With their 60 day money back guarantee, is there any real risk associated with trusting me or Mr. Forras, or Mr. Wallace or Mr. Fisher?

    I feel I owe so much to the invention and Mr. Fisher and Mr. Wallace for marketing the device. I feel very grateful and much indebted for the blessings their efforts have brought.

    That is why I have written this 100% honest testimony. I do hope it helps someone that is desperate.

    Thank you for reading my testimonial.

    Chad

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Wow, Chad! Thank you for sharing such a detailed testimony. I’m so very glad your son has found relief. I will place a link to the article – with your comment, of course – on the Chipur Facebook Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chipur/128077027224478?ref=hl. Thanks so much for your visit and contribution…
      Bill

    • Mauro

      The original inventor of the device was Saul Liss and it was known as the Liss Cranial Stimulator. Liss’ unit received FDA approval in 1991. Liss had a friend named Norm Shealy, who is an MD, and Shealy used it on his patients to great success. Here is an interesting testimonial by Shealy about the LCS: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OCtSrROZhqI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOCtSrROZhqI

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        Thank you for the contribution, Mauro. Video is well worth the watch…
        Bill

  • npeden

    This sounds wonderful if one can afford it. I am bipolar II and get activated into severe anxiety with SAD light. Any word on how this affects bipolar?

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      One of their testimonials is from someone who endures Bipolar II. Here’s a link
      http://www.fisherwallace.com/cranial-stimulator-testimonials Yeah, is kind of pricey, isn’t it? And I know it excludes many who could really use it. Here’s a link to the order page – never know what you might find in terms of “breaks” http://www.fisherwallace.com/index.php?main_page=products_all Sure appreciate your visit and comment. I’m thinking this is Nancy???
      Bill

      • npeden

        Yes, I am Nancy. Found comments about both bipolar and PTSD which I have and there is a small research project at Beth Israel on bipolar patients. I think I will try it if I can raise funds. I would like to get off Ambien and Saphris which has given me a speech impediment. Thanks, Bill, for finding this. Fingers crossed.

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        Hi Nancy! Best to you as you pursue the treatment you deserve. I’m with you – I’d like to see you ease back on the meds. Please keep us posted, k?

      • npeden

        Have appt. with psych the 24th. Will take info to him and see if he will fill out the referral. First need to find money. Will keep you posted now that I got on to this discussion area. Thanks again, Bill.

      • http://chipur.com chipur

        You’re welcome, Nancy. Glad we’re here for you…
        Bill

  • Megan

    I read about this years ago. I forwarded the link to someone who was treating me at the time. Was it you, Bill? Anyway, on their site, they now have an official doctor you can call who will take your case history. Unfortunately, I can’t cough up the dough at the moment.

  • CD

    It worked for 4 months and then stopped. So be prepared for a drop off of efficacy

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Appreciate the heads-up, CD – and the visit. ‘Course, for some there may not be that drop off. Just saying…

  • lake

    I tried both Fisher Wallace and its competitor, Alpha-Stim. I wound up keeping the Alpha-Stim because the ear clips clip onto the ear lobe and I found it more comfortable than the Fisher Wallace sponges which sit wet on the head, held in with headband. Besides the replacement sponges are spendy over time. Also I was happy to be able to rent the Alpha-Stim which allowed me to try it out without the full commitment to purchase.

    Another concern I have, as I am a scientist by profession, is that Fisher Wallace lists all manner of research that was done with the Alpha-Stim device, not Fisher Wallace. The two devices are as different as two different medications (the Alpha-Stim waveform is actually patented), and it is dishonest at best to list a bunch of research as though it was carried out with their product.

    • http://chipur.com chipur

      Sounds pretty dicey – a company citing research done with another company’s product. Hmmm. I appreciate your mention of the Alpha-Stim. Readers need to know about all available options. Here’s a link for those who’d like to take a peek http://www.alpha-stim.com/ Thanks for happening-by, lake, and providing the education…
      Bill

    • Boone White

      Dear Lake,

      After looking up on the internet, Fisher Wallace does have a patented technology, why did you say otherwise? Also, why can their device be used on the head, but Alpha Stim can not? I read on their website that they are the only CES maker that the FDA cleared to use on the head. Going through the earlobes seems indirect, not to mention all of the expensive accessories (ear clips, chemical gels,) that will only make Alpha-Stim more expensive in comparison. I notice you failed to mention that when you said the Fisher Wallace is pricey. After reading your comment, I almost decided to take Alpha-Stim over Fisher Wallace, but your comment leads me to believe you have a biased interest here. People like you have no place on websites like this.

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