Fisher Wallace Stimulator Insomnia Review

Fisher Wallace’s Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator (CES) is a sort of “cure-all” solution, which has undergone a lot of scrutiny over the years, and which has indeed received tons of positive press from various prestigious sources. Still, the actual user feedback regarding the efficiency of the device remains a mixed bag.

Now then, as said, Fisher Wallace’s CES solution is a bit of a cure-all, but what we’re mostly interested in are its effects on depression, and even more specifically: insomnia. The maker of the device claims great effects and success rates of above 70% with these (obviously linked) conditions. Before we delve deeper into the FWS and its pitch though, we need to clear out a few questions. First of all:

What is Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation?

As a possible treatment for a large range of ailments, including but not limited to: opiate withdrawal, nicotine deprivation, fibromyalgia, headaches, anxiety, depression and insomnia, CES is essentially mild neurostimulation, delivered in the shape of a small, pulsed, alternating current, which is transmitted via electrodes to the sufferer’s head.

The problem with CES is that despite its long history in treating the very conditions we personally are most interested in (insomnia and the depression associated with it), it is still not understood to this day how it is supposed to accomplish its therapeutic effects. What’s more, a 2014 study conducted by Cochrane found no evidence that CES was indeed effective in treating depression, and that indeed, this form of therapy was safe.

Still, saying that CES has no effects on the brain whatsoever would be denying evidence that shows that the treatment does in fact exert an effect on neurohormones and neurotransmitters and that it substantially increases serotonin – among other hormones, such as melatonin, while achieving a modest reduction in cortisol levels.

All this essentially means that despite the lack of rock-solid scientific evidence, CES may in fact work towards the alleviation of insomnia and associated stress-triggers. It apparently stimulates the REM stage of sleep, which is indeed one of the most difficult sleep stages to positively influence through therapy.

What is the Cost of a Fisher Wallace Stimulator?

This question has to be asked and answered because – right after the mechanism by which CES theoretically acts upon the human brain – it is indeed the most important bit of information potential users want to know.

Proper CES machines can cost as much as $30,000, so this is indeed quite a decisive factor when even just considering such a treatment avenue. The Fisher Wallace Stimulator costs just $699, (or as much as $200 less, through certain promotions), so it is indeed relatively affordable. To purchase the machine, potential users need to first learn whether they do indeed qualify for it. The Fisher Wallace Stimulator is an FDA-approved device, which means that would-be buyers also need to obtain purchase authorization. Fortunately, through the forms provided by the official Fisher Wallace site, this authorization can be obtained on the same day.

Are There any Side Effects to CES in General and the FWS in Particular?

The answer to that is unfortunately yes, though the side effects are mild and very infrequent. About 1 in every 500 users reported a mild headache, and about 1 in every 250 users reported an increased state of wakefulness after the use of the device.

The manufacturer insists on the proper wetting of the electrodes. Neglecting this aspect of the setting up of the device may result in minor electrode irritation.

The Fisher Wallace Stimulator Hype

As said above, the FWS has benefited from excellent press from some very prestigious sources indeed. According to Chip Fisher, president of Fisher Wallace Laboratories (, there are more than 20 scientifically conducted studies out there, which support the efficiency of the machine, and top researchers from NYU, Cornell and Harvard have allegedly signed off on the product as well.

Using the FWS is extremely easy, and it is thoroughly explained at the site. There are a total of 4 intensity-levels, of which beginner users should stick to the first two. If the desired therapeutic effects are not obtained within two weeks of treatment, the intensity-level should be raised to 3 and 4.

Several top media outlets have covered the FWS and have provided positive press to the aggressive marketing effort that has always accompanied this product. We’re talking about the Huffington Post, CBS, Fox News, Forbes, the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal and Elle.

The Controversy

Despite the generally favorable vibe surrounding the device and the concept at its core, there are detractors and complainers out there, who point to the insufficient scientific evidence concerning the actual mechanism of action, as well as to various shortcomings and alleged quality-related failings of the device.

The BBB (Better Business Bureau) page of the company behind the product, Fisher Wallace Laboratories LLC (based at 515 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022-5403), may proudly exhibit an A+ rating, but it is also rife with complaints and negative reviews.

Most of the complaints are focused on a pronounced lack of interest on the part of support to honor the money-back guarantee, but some also mention the cheap/simplistic nature of the device, contrasting it with its relatively steep price.

Fisher Wallace Review Conclusion

The FWS may not be the high-tech, cutting edge medical device it is made out to be, but there may indeed be some merit to what it can accomplish treatment-wise. Provided the money-back guarantee promise is indeed honored, giving the device a try in regards to treating insomnia may indeed make sense. Whether the advertised 70%+ success rate holds water in reality we cannot tell. What we can tell though is that there are definitely people out there who have had their insomnia issues alleviated by the FWS.

In any case, we would recommend consulting with a sleep expert for anyone who is suffering from sleep problems.


  1. Gimpy

    I have suffered years with Akylosing Spondylitis. 60 mg oxycodone every 4 hrs, turmeric 1000 mg, medical marijuana cbd. Three weeks ago the pain in my hip escalated to where I couldn’t walk without a cane nor lay down because of the pain. I bought the FW Stimulator. First week used setting 2 then setting 3. I still have slight pain but am walking without the cane and I again can lay down. With my hip doing miraculously well my depression has disappeared. Nothin but rave revues here

  2. Cheryl

    Thank you for posting this. I actually got them to agree in chat that they’d honor a refund even at $299. For anyone watching, use your credit card if you do purchase. You can report fraud if it’s listen on the site about 30-day money back guarantee. I saw no fine print, so it has to be visible. Even the agent told me how to find the guarantee. That said, too many complaints here. I don’t know that I want to take risks. 🙁 Too bad.

  3. J.J.R.

    I had rolling anxiety attacks that brought me to the E.R several times. My doctor told me about the fisher Wallace and after a few days my anxiety slowing vanished. I am very had to convince that something this simple could work but it does. I have tried all kinds of medication that didn’t work. If I stop using my fisher wallace I again start to get depressed and anxious. The machine works for me and I didn’t expect it to. For me it’s a life saver I was so fearful at night because that’s when my anxiety was the worst. I can’t remember the last time I had an anxiety attack! It really works for me and I couldn’t live without it.

    • Keith

      Are you the JR who responded to a question on Amazon about the Pegasi Light Therapy Glasses? If so I have a question for you: I recently purchased the Pegasi’s and have been using them for almost two weeks now, seemingly with some benefits re. my sleep patterns. (I also started wearing optical quality blue blocking glasses from sundown to bedtime.) Curious if you use the Pegasi’s along with the Fisher Wallace device? Thank you.

  4. dee

    if you go to nbci or pub med, research supports ces works to some extent for the psychiatric conditions mentioned, but this thing by fisher wallace isn’t a professional grade ces device. it has fda approval as a marketable medical device to the general public, but the fda approval’s only attesting to the fact that the device does no harm to people who use it, not that it actually works for the indications fisher wallace markets it for. think of the $19 ‘laser’ hair removal lights you can buy on ebay or amazon vs. the $$$ medical lasers a dermatologist uses in their practice to get rid of tattoos and unwanted hair. the concept is sound, but the device f-w sells is $500 for some some cheap, ineffective junk. even with professional ces, sham treatments in research are often deemed as ‘effective’ as the real thing, at least for the first few weeks. so any positive claims by users of this thing are likely from placebo effect. placebo effect in and of itself is fine, but the problem with it is it eventually (and usually quite quickly), conks out.

    • Timotht Dyhr

      Have you actually used the device. I noticed an immediate difference in my thinking clarity and my guitar playing was instantly better and got better over time. I don’t think it’s a placebo effect effect because I have been using for almost a year. So what is your evidence that it konks out? So what is your solution for mental illness, medication? I must say it doesn’t solve the problems completely but it is a tool I use. It was expensive when I bought it but they dropped the price for people who are on Medicare. I just think these rants against this device are not exactly accurate because the machine did make a difference for me but they state it does not work for everyone.

  5. Teresa T

    I purchased the FWS. It is indeed a cheap device that probably costs Fisher Wallace a few $ to make/purchase. In comparison, the price they charge is outrageous. The device does not work for the intended purpose – or for any purpose, really.. I returned it and, like many others, had an awful experience. They charged over $100 to “restock” the device. Their customer service is dismal. They are arrogant and will attempt to bully you.
    I should have done more research before I purchased this cheap garbage.
    I have since read more about the FWS and I agree with the above comments. The research they claim to support efficacy is, at best, very sketchy.
    I would stay away from this company. They are not reputable. They just know how to manipulate the system.

  6. Eugene

    Got the device almost eight months ago, at first I thought it was working but after 3 months of using, I have come to a conclusion, this was the biggest waste of money. I wish I never bought it, and spent my $699 in a better way. Also I believe the company collects and sell your info, I received 2 or 3 email since purchasing this device promising to send me free sponge pads, never received anything but noticed an increase in junk mail, emails and out of state calls

    • Tom M

      BIGGEST RIP OFF SCAM COMPANY-preys on people with mental illness-depression and anxiety. Guarantees success or 30 day money back guarantee. Watch the trickery! FIrst it’s $599.00 but before a few seconds go by it’s 25 off if you order within 2 hours. Then you keep getting repeated emails to purchase it at lower costs, all the while touting its 30 day money back guarantee. Then all of a sudden you get this fantastic offer you just have to take advantage of within a certain time frame and they will sell this to you for ONLY $299.00 Better have your magnifiers on because in tiny fine print says NO 30 day warranty. SO, if you pay them 599 they will guarantee the product for 30 days. If after being hounded by them and getting repeated discounts you don’t see the fine print no 30 day warranty when it does not work and you call them up to get your refund they say SOOOOORRY! you only paid 299.00 it isn’t guaranteed at that price. If you had paid full price THEN we would refund your money. What company sells the same product at 2 different prices and only guarantees it an their discounted price. Only a company that is a scam company and is banking on you not reading the fine print after they have sent you multiple discounts. ANd when you see that 85% of people have kept the devices, I believe that! Many probably tried to return them and found out the same rip off story! They claim they sell 15,000 units a uear? Then stand behind your product at any price you sell it!!!

  7. Barack Obama

    ANYONE CAN COMMENT HERE do not believe the hype yo u might see in the comments. It is probably the

  8. Andrea K

    This is electro shock therapy lite, electro shock therapy has been tied to trauma based programing often leads to memory lost and changing of personality. Please regardless of popularity and what the ads say do your research and make a educational decision good or bad be informed of all the risk.

    • Timotht Dyhr

      I use the device everyday with no memory issues of any kind at the least none I am aware of. But seriously the device is powered by two AA batteries how much shock can you get out of that. The machine works and if people want to take smorgasburg of medication like psychiatrists will prescribe I say that has many more cognitive effects and health problems. I have had nothing but good things to say about it because it improves my guitar playing and thinking process. I do think electric shock therapy and cranial stimulation have anything remotely in common.

      • Timotht Dyhr

        I mean I don’t believe cranial stimulation and shock therapy are the same at all. I’ve known someone on shock therapy and their memory was seriously affected. Cranial stimulation improves communication between both side of your brain as well.

  9. Charles Roeder

    This device could replace anti-depressant medicines. From what I read use of the stimulator won’t cure 100% of the depressed but the majority may find this device works as well or better than the pills they were taking, And if several people bought this thing and shared it, the cost would be lower than the pills.
    I am a conspiracy theorist, so I assume that the pharmaceutical companies that sell anti-depressants formed a corporation that bought the patent to the original version of this thing, and kept it off the market. Then somebody in a country where they make electronic devices and export them, figured that if they could somehow get such a device sold in the USA, the cost to make these things would be low and the price some Americans would pay for one would be way WAY higher. Then they found a back door to get these into the U.S.

  10. Martha

    I have suffered. with chronic insomnia for decades. Nothing has worked to relieve it. Does this Fisher Wallace Stimulator really work? I will spend the money if it works. I would like some positive feedback from people who have had good results Thank you

    • Timothy Dyhr

      Well it certainly can’t it helps me to go to sleep because I have been sleep dependant on medication. Now that I am reducing the medication it’s hard to get to sleep. The machine could help but try tryptophan supplements that helps a lot too

  11. Diane

    Lungtoast- I hear you buddy! I’m going to get one of these for each of my Special family members! Does anyone have any experience with pain supression & the device?

    • Timothy Dyhr

      I actually swear by the machine because it is been an absolute amazing tool on so many levels not only does it help with depression and anxiety but it also helps you think better and it makes thinking much more clear. I had a friend try it and she has attention deficit disorder and she used it once while listening to a lecture and passed the quiz 10 out of 10 which she said never happened before. My guitar playing has made more progress in the last few months than I had in years and it is just a god-sent. This machine is truly amazing and it does so much more than just work on depression, anxiety, and insomnia. You know many people are having severe side effects from psychiatric medications and it is ridiculous why anyone should have to endure out of control weight gain or low self-esteem through something that doesn’t really fix the problem and creates problems of its own. I know some people have claimed that the machine is a scam and doesn’t work but I am truly amazed with this machine and believe it’s going to make a big difference in my life on so many levels. They say it doesn’t work for everyone but I have to tell you I don’t understand how not? There were pretty harsh criticisms of the Fisher Wallace device and the company. I understand the price is quite steep but after using it over a month I can’t imagine life without it it’s truly amazing.

  12. Anonymous

    Well there are always loan star commenters out there but what’s the alternative of getting medications 330 pounds later. I went from a 180 to 330 pounds in six months on the new wonder medication Zyprexa and then Seroquel when they discovered everyone gained weight. I just ordered the machine because I am fed up with being called fat and at one my jobs they called me couch potato when I was gaining weight while walking miles behind a lawnmower in 90 degree heat with 100% humidity. That’s what a hack nurse practitioner told me to take a walk. That was 20 years ago and now I’m working out in the gym like a man possessed and struggling just to lose weight. I just was on an elliptical machine for 60 minutes and burned 830 calories before doing the leg press and battle ropes. All I ate today was black berries almonds pistachios and sunflower seeds. Just take a walk and everything will be fine… seriously? The problem is the human brain is different in different people. Even there precious medications work for some and not for others. A psychiatrist told me they don’t have any idea why because brain chemistry varies from one person to the next. So it’s definitely not surprising that the machine works for some but not others. 70% is pretty good but I don’t know. However I will give an objective review of the machine once I start using it. I will say that diet and exercise is crucial for alternative treatments for depression and anxiety. It’s very important for me to exercise to manage stress with my job at a mental health clinic. It’s also important to avoid junk food fast food and refined sugar especially with high fructose corn syrup. I feel better now than ever but I am planning on taking back my life with or without the machine.

  13. John

    Good show longtoast. I totally agree with your post!

  14. gustavo cepinho

    this is the most poorly built machine ever. it can be built with less than 10 dollars in parts i asked for my money back the day i received. they are fighting as much as possible saying i have no right to get the money back. really it is not worth more than $10 ( wish i could add pictures )
    the 30 days money back is a lie too. they charge 10 % which means 60 dollars plus the shipping. now guess what? it can be built for less than 10 ! they cant loose ! i gave them a bad review and complain to BBB.

  15. gordon ashacker

    Clearly, this device is a carefully constructed scam to extract money from depressed people. Don’t touch it with a ten foot pole is my advice, or better yet: go for a hike up a mountain trail somewhere to cure your depression. The one thing i do admire about this company is how effectively they scrub the internet of negative press about their ridiculous device……

    • lungtoast

      “Just go on a hike to cure your depression”!! You’re a fucking moron. Maybe you could just read one authoritarian explanative book or article on any subject you are going open your mouth for in the future. You can even choose one that is dumbed down to your insight level.

      Note: I am in no way defending the product and have had no experience with it, just like the simpleton I am responding to. Quite frankly I would consider it a placebo effect device, but effect IS effect, and if anyone else besides those current claimants can escape depression/anxiety/insomnia or any other disease through the power of positive belief, more power to them and blessed be.

      Note to the note: Any ignorant git who wants to take umbrage at my use of the word “disease” to properly define these ailments needs to take the basic step of using a dictionary before responding. See, it doesn’t even take a simple knowledge in basic science to prevent the words of idiocy from coming out of your worthless gobs, just a teensy little bit of effort towards education and the ability to accept that you only believe you’re intelligent.

      Ah Hell, why not one more note: If I sound snarky, defensive, holier than thou and down right aggressively indignant to you, and you think I should reign it in… Fuck off!! I honestly would if I could, but 17 years of depression, 9 of anxiety, 7 of PTSD, 4 of being ignored or temporarily acknowledged by “loved ones, family and friends”, and 3 of listening to and reading morons like the poster I am responding to has REALLY ticked me off to no ends.

      All the rest of y’all: I hope that peace, love and joy are paramount, sought, and shared in your lives.

      *****If there is a moderator in charge here I would surely appreciate just having my swear words removed.

    • mom of 2

      My friend suggested trying it when I had severe insomnia (sometimes only 1.5 hours at a stretch) and loaned me for the night. I slept 7 hours the first night! I hadn’t slept that long in over a year. I continued to use for a couple of weeks and my sleep was so much better that I bought a unit (full price- no discounts offered). I was using 2X daily for a while.

      I later bought one for my adult daughter who had anxiety, fully planning on the 30 day money back guarantee as she was skeptical. Her Dr had her on pills. At first she was not convinced helpful but before the 30 day guarantee expired she decided unwilling to give up. She’s not on pills any more and she doesn’t use all the time, but to express how important, when we talked about lending to my son who has depression, she didn’t really want to. He wouldn’t let me buy him one even with 30 day guarantee, but eventually I did anyway because it’s too important. Whether it’s med or FW or exercise it’s hard to get someone depressed to take any action. He declined to send the unit back before 30 day guarantee expired which we talked about because it was a big expense. We live in 3 different states and our issues hit all the things that FW is supposed to help with.

      There’s no perfect solution for everyone for every problem. There are many studies that this type of device can help. Is it cheaply made? Sort of. The product can be manufactured for a tiny fraction ( I agree about $10 hard cost) , not much to it. The real cost is getting FDA cleared, studies etc. Mine is about 3 years old and I’ve had to replace both the nodes/wires. That might be because I often fall asleep with it on (20 minute automated shut off.) I don’t use it daily any more, but if I have insomnia or anxiety, I pull it out. My daughters anxiety is reduced. My son is up and down and it’s still hard to get him to use it, but he also won’t sell it.

      Thankfully big pharma has not been able to keep this device off the market. You pay one time and done. As a side note, I use the device on max (which I do not do or recommend for head) to treat sore muscles, much like going to chiropractor for electrical stimulation.

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