Phoenix Mental Health Services offers Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) as a treatment for depression. The name of this device is called Flow.
The Flow headset uses transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). A pain-free and non-invasive technique that activates neural networks through gentle currents to reduce depression.
This headset is the first of its kind to bring tDCS to your home in a simple and portable device. The 30 minute stimulation sessions easily fit into your schedule whenever it suits you best. You can stimulate where you want, when you want.
The supporting mobile application guides you through the experience and includes in-app behavioural therapy courses to help you tackle psychological and environmental factors that can cause of depression.
If this treatment is recommended for you and you choose to have it, our therapist will guide you through the process and monitor your progress. You can contact us here. In the meantime, please watch Flow’s videos and read our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Flow is an at-home depression treatment that consists of a tDCS headset and behavioural therapy app programme. The treatment targets various root causes of depression.
It is a pain-free and non-invasive brain stimulation technique. This technique uses gentle electrical currents to restore brain activity and reduce depressive symptoms. The Flow tDCS headset reinforces naturally occurring brain signalling in the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (also known as the DLPFC). This area of the brain is targeted as it has been shown to be less active when depressed. The Flow headset delivers a weak current (2 mA) to this brain region via electrodes placed on the forehead. Since Flow can directly target the DLPFC, side effects are less common and less severe than those from antidepressants.
Behavioural therapy is a therapeutic approach that aims to reinforce positive and healthy habits that can shape behaviours. The Flow in-app behavioural therapy programme is written by licensed psychologists and supports the creation and incorporation of healthy habits proven to help reduce depression. Including changes in diet, sleep, and physical activity.
Activation Phase: Weeks 1-3
Includes 5 stimulations a week; each is 30 minutes long
Introduces behavioural therapy courses via the app
Supports better regulation of mood, sleep, focus
Strengthening Phase: Weeks 4+
Continues to strengthen and preserve results
Includes up to 2 stimulations a week; each 30 minutes long
Further implements practices from the app
Protects progress and prevents future episodes of depression
A stimulation session takes 30 minutes and can be done whenever works best for you. Whether that be while you eat breakfast, while replying to emails at work, or even reading while winding down for bed. Flow is a wireless headset that can go wherever you go. Just remember to charge it before use.
Please note Flow should not be used while operating heavy machinery, exercising, or near water.
It is possible that your initial stimulation session may feel a bit strange. That is normal. It is often a new sensation and can feel tingly or itchy underneath the electrodes. We recommend thoroughly cleaning your forehead before use to ensure the best connectivity with the device. Some users have reported more tingles when wearing makeup and/or hair products.
After your first few stimulation sessions, your skin may appear red where the electrodes sat on your forehead. The stimulation increases blood flow to this area which is why it might be redder than before your session. This redness or skin irritation typically disappears thirty minutes after your session. Some users like to use lotion after their session to help moisturise the area. If you begin to feel pain or burning, please stop the treatment and contact your therapist and the Flow support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the beginning of your treatment, it is common to feel similar to how you felt before starting, but that does not mean things are not already at work. It may take a few sessions to begin to notice a difference. Users have reported improvements as early as one session, while others report seeing differences starting after week four. Depression is experienced differently for everyone. However, one thing is clear, the more you follow your treatment program, the more likely you will see progress.
By targeting the physical side of depression with the headset, you can expect improvements in your concentration, sleep, and mood. As you continue to stimulate you should expect to feel better.
This depends on who referred you for tDCS.
If it is a doctor at our clinic, then you will be required to pay the initiation fee (more details below). If it is from a doctor not part of our practice, then we will require a referral from them and we will still need to register you at our clinic. The initiation fee still applies plus a possible assessment fee (if relevant). If a doctor has not referred you, then you will need an assessment with a psychiatrist prior to having this treatment.
The £75 initiation fee includes an appointment with our Senior Therapist to discuss the treatment in depth and a year’s monitoring period of your treatment. At this appointment you are provided with a 10% off coupon code for the device, which is specific to our clinic.
If after a year you would still like to continue with your monitored tDCS treatment (which is not uncommon), you will be required to pay another yearly fee. The exact amount will be subject to a yearly review, as is the protocol with all our services and treatments.
Please note that you are required to purchase the device separately. This can be found on Flow’s website here: https://www.flowneuroscience.com/shop/
In addition to this, you are required to continue purchasing saline pads. The headset comes with 6-weeks’ worth included.
After a discussion with your therapist, you will be sent a 10% off coupon code that can be used on Flow’s website. It is your responsibility to purchase and set-up the device (with detailed instructions from Flow).
Once you have set-up your account, you must email your therapist with your account details so you can join our Clinic and be monitored.
From thereon you can start your treatment and contact your therapist by email if you have any questions. If the stimulation schedule needs to be changed, your therapist will get the go-ahead from your doctor first.
There are 3 reasons:
- Although you are paying for an initiation fee, our clinic provides you with a 10% off code for the device, which you would not get when purchasing directly from the website.
- The discussion with our Senior Therapist allows you to ask any and all the questions you have about this treatment. You are monitored by us too. Your therapist will keep an eye on your progress and reach out to you if you have missed more than a few sessions and try to help.
- We are able to change the stimulation schedule. The first 3 weeks of treatment consist of five 30-minute sessions and then it drops to 2 days a week. We are able to change this (with the go-ahead of your doctor).