Our brains rely on electric current to function, which makes electric stimulation a logical way to enhance brain function.
A bit of lightning. A metal rod. A frog leg. That’s how 18th century scientist Luigi Galvani sparked a fundamental transformation in our understanding of the connection between brain and body. When lightning struck a rod connected to a frog’s leg, which was disconnected from that frog’s brain, the leg twitched! More than 200 years and countless scientific studies later, we’ve now confirmed that our brains use lightning to communicate—in other words: electricity is the language of the brain and body.
Much like the network of interconnected circuits that run your computer and those hidden behind the lightswitches of your home, our brains and bodies communicate through networks of electrical “wiring” that are the basis for virtually everything we do as humans—moving our arms, solving a puzzle, even breathing.
Which is why electricity makes sense as a means to enhance everyday human function. At our company, Thync, we want people to not only be, but also feel productive. That was the idea behind creating the first wearable neurostimulation patch for energy and focus: FeelZing. It uses short bursts of electricity to activate your nervous system, enhancing focus and alertness in the moments you need throughout the day (and not in the ones you don’t).
So how exactly are our brains and bodies “electric”? Let’s break it down:
- Neurons (the cells of the brain and nervous system) are like tiny pieces of a wire—with a long tube-like portion, called an “axon,” sandwiched between tree-branch-like extensions on both ends.
- These “wires” are linked together by microscopic “handshakes” between them, called synapses. When a neuron is excited, it fires a little burst of electrical energy—a phenomenon called an action potential—that gets passed down the tube, through the branches, across the handshake, and onto the next neuron.
- That is how neurons “talk” to each other in order to produce any thought, behavior, or emotion. This rapid transmission of action potentials firing down a long chain of connected axons is itself an electrical event.
On average, our brains are made up of around 86 billion neurons, which means 86 billion little “wires” in our heads at all times. Together they form the vast, interconnected, and immense network of electrical circuitry that is our brain. It’s a lot of wiring, and a lot of electricity — a single brain creates and sends more messages in a given day than all the phones in the entire world. In fact, the brain produces enough electricity to power a light bulb! This wiring and electricity is precisely the mechanism by which we function in our everyday lives.
85% of adults use unnatural chemicals like caffeine to get the energy they need to make it through the day. But the problem with this strategy is that we can’t control where these chemicals go in the body—they affect the parts of the brain we want them to and the parts we don’t. That’s why side effects are so prevalent. Caffeine, unlike electricity, does not speak the language of the brain.
At Thync, we focus on harnessing the electrical communication system that is already innate to the human body—which means abolishing unwanted side effects. By using electricity, we can talk to the exact part of the brain and body that we want to affect. In the case of FeelZing, this means increased energy without jitters, anxiety, and insomnia.
The notion of using electricity to improve day-to-day functioning may sound a bit new and different, that’s because it is. It’s new to us as innovators of technology, but in reality it’s the natural way in which our brains and body have communicated for millenia, and it’s actually safer than the chemical alternatives currently available.
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