Our History

The American Institute of Stress: Established 1978

The American Institute of Stress is a non-profit organization established in 1978 by Hans Selye during a meeting at the Tarrytown Conference Center in New York, to serve as a clearinghouse for information on all stress related subjects. Other founding members included Linus Pauling, Alvin Toffler, Bob Hope, Michael DeBakey, Herbert Benson, Ray Rosenman and other prominent physicians, health professionals and lay individuals interested in exploring the multitudinous and varied effects of stress on our health and quality of life.

In addition, AIS was formed to function as an ombudsman in this rapidly expanding field where a plethora of extravagant claims for worthless devices, nutritional products and approaches threatened to drown out legitimate research efforts and advances.

The meeting in Tarrytown was attended by numerous dignitaries and founding Members of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Joel Elkes, Distinguished Service Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, served as the first President of The American Institute of Stress. Dr. Paul Rosch succeeded Joel and served AIS as President for over three decades. Dr. Daniel Kirsch was then appointed President in 2011 and continues to serve in that position today.

The Origin and Evolution of The American Institute of Stress

AIS President Dr. Daniel Kirsch asked his predecessor Dr. Paul Rosch to contribute a monograph elaborating on how he became involved in working with Professor Hans Selye and why they established AIS in 1978, and to discuss some of the highlights of his 65 year career in stress science.

This 68 page eBook has been described as a “future classic” by AIS Fellow Dr. Ron Rubenzer. “If I were still teaching college, it would be required reading!” said Rubenzer.

Hans Selye:
Birth of Stress

Stress has become such an ingrained part of our vocabulary and daily existence that it is difficult to believe that our current use of the term only originated in the 20th century when it was essentially “coined” by Hans Selye, MD, PhD. How this came to pass because of a serendipitous laboratory accident is fascinating as is the story of its discoverer, Professor Hans Selye.

Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS

Dr. Kirsch is the President of the American Institute of Stress and Chairman Emeritus of Electromedical Products International, Inc., a medical technology company he founded in 1981 and retired from in 2020. He has four decades of experience in the medical field, including extensive clinical practice experience. Throughout his career Dr. Kirsch has designed medical devices and their applications and developed clinical systems for implementing pain and stress control technologies.

In 1992 he was a guest of His Excellency the Minister of Public Health, Dr. A. Wahab Al-Fawzan of Kuwait, where he presented a three day post traumatic stress and pain management program titled, Electromedicine: The Other Side of Physiology to 400 physicians to teach them about managing the aftermath of the first Persian Gulf War. While in Kuwait, Dr. Kirsch also gave multiple grand rounds at eight hospitals over a month long period.

Dr. Kirsch served as Clinical Director at the Sports Medicine Group in Santa Monica, California in association with Karlis Ullis, M.D. from 1988 – 1989, and in 1985 – 1986 as Clinical Director at the Center and Laboratory for Pain and Stress Related Disorders at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York in association with Kenneth Greenspan, M.D.

In 1981, he founded Electromedical Products International, Inc., in Hawthorne, California. The company moved to Mineral Wells, Texas in 1994.

From 1980 to 1981 he was Vice President of McCall’s Research Laboratories in Reseda, California where he consulted with engineers on the development of a specialized electromedical device and wrote all of the marketing support materials. During that time he also served as Clinical Director of Electro-Acutherapy Pain Center in Palm Springs.

He was Director of Education and Research for Biomedical Affiliated Services/Biomedical Design Instruments in Burbank from 1978 to 1980 where he contributed to the design and introduced an electromedical device to the market.

He was Clinical Director of Electro-Acutherapy Medical Group in Laguna Beach from 1979 through 1980 in association with F. P. Meyer, M.D.

While a graduate student, he was proprietor of two small businesses engaged in the sales and training of electromedical devices. During this time he gave 84 weekend seminars in electromedicine.

After attending Queens College of the City University of New York (17th century philosophy major for 3 years), Los Angeles City College (premed major for 2 years), he earned a bachelor of science in biology from Southern California University of Health Sciences in 1979, and a doctorate in neurobiology from City University Los Angeles in 1981 where he served as a professor of electromedical sciences from 1985 until he moved to Texas in 1994. Dr. Kirsch was board certified in pain management by the American Academy of Pain Management in 1990. In 1997 he was recognized as a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress. In 1999 he became the only American ever awarded an Honorary Membership in Inter-Pain (the Germany-Swiss pain organization for physicians). In 2005 he was appointed a Member of the President’s Council at the University of North Texas. He is also a member of the International Society for Neurotherapy and Research. In 2013 he accepted a position as a member of the Board of Scientific & Professional Advisors of The Institute for Traumatic Stress. In 2020 he accepted an invitation to join the global mental health movement, #Samehere,

He was the First Editor of the American Journal of Electromedicine, and has been on the Board of Directors of two non-profit organizations in the field: the National Institute of Electromedical Information in New York City and the International Society of Bioelectricity in Shreveport. He was also a Patron Member of the National Chronic Pain Outreach Association and served on the Advisory Boards of The Canadian Journal of Clinical Medicine and Practical Pain Management, and served as guest editor for the journal NeuroRehabilitation, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2002. He is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neurotherapy: Investigations in Neuromodulation, Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience and is the Electromedical Department Editor for Practical Pain Management. He is also the Editor in Chief of two quarterly e-magazines published by the American Institute of Stress, Combat Stress and Contentment.

Dr. Kirsch conducts Grand Rounds at US Army, Navy, Air Force, VAMC’s and civilian medical institutions worldwide. He has been on the faculty of several medical specialty boards annual relicensing conferences including the American Academy of Pain Management, American Academy of Orthopedic Medicine, Inter-Pain, The American Institute of Stress, International Society for Neurotherapy and Research, American Association for Sensory Medicine, American Society for Pain Management Nursing, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, Nevada Psychiatric Association, Texas Osteopathic Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association. In 2003 he organized and was moderator for a full day track on electromedicine at the American Academy of Pain Management’s annual meeting with eight health care professionals lecturing (available on DVD). He served as an expert research and practice consultant at the Houston VAMC, San Antonio Military Medical Center and the US Army Institute for Surgical Research. In 2005 he was the first speaker at the 3rd annual Complementary and Integrative Medicine conference at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Ft. Bliss. In 2006 he lectured at the VA Employee Education System’s 2nd annual Pain Management Symposium. In 2007 he presented at the 13th Annual San Antonio Trauma Symposium in COL Gaylord’s mental health track and at the 10th Annual Force Health Protection Conference with COL Kathy Platoni. In 2008 he presented at the American Veterinary Medical Association annual meeting, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and at the Nanjing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. In 2011 he presented at the First Colloquium on the International Progress of Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention in Mental and Emotional Disorders at the Affiliated Brain Hospital of Nanjing Medical University and at the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders. In 2012 he gave Grand Rounds for the Marines at Camp Pendelton and the Navy Seals on Coronado Island and was the first American accepted to present at the Psychiatry Branch of the Chinese Medical Association. In 2013 he presented Grand Rounds on pain management at DeWitt Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir, USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment Medcell at Quantico and Psychiatric Continuity Services at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. In 2014 Dr. Kirsch fell ill to an incurable disease that took him two years to find a cure for, but he has only worked part time since then (see details at http://www.stillexaggeration.com/#/testimonials/)

Dr. Kirsch is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America, Two Thousand Notable Americans, The International Directory of Distinguished Leadership (U.K.), Men of Achievement and other biographical reference books. He was recognized as the 2007 International Health Professional of the Year in Stress Medicine by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, England. Dr. Kirsch is the recipient of the American Academy of Pain Management’s 2008 Richard S. Weiner Pain Education Award. This award is given to an individual who has contributed to the advancement of the field of interdisciplinary pain management through the training of pain management professionals. The author of four books, several book chapters and articles, he is frequently interviewed on television, newspapers and magazines and has been a guest on hundreds of radio programs. Dr. Kirsch was awarded several US Army Coins, and two Navy Coins. In 2009, he began working with Chaplain David Fair, Ph.D., president of the American Association of Police Officers to promote stress management for law enforcement officers. As a result he joined the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security and studied and passed the required exams for certification to CHS Level III.

He is author of the chapters, Electromedicine: The Other Side of Physiology, and A Practical Protocol for Electromedical Treatment of Pain in the American Academy of Pain Management’s textbook, Pain Management: A Practical Guide for Clinicians (CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 2002), and the chapter Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation for Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Cognitive Dysfunction, and Pain in the textbook, Bioelectromagnetic Medicine (Marcel Dekker, 2004). Books by Dr. Kirsch are The Science Behind Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (Medical Scope Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta, 2nd Ed. 2002), and Schmerzen lindern ohne Chemie CES, die Revolution in der Schmerztherapie (Internationale Ärztegesellschaft für Energiemedizin, Austria 2000; in German). He is also a chapter author of Healing War Trauma: A Handbook of Creative Approaches (Routledge, 2013).

Dr. Kirsch was a guest co-editor for a special edition of Psychiatric Clinics of North America Journal: Stress in Health and Disease in 2014, and also co-authored two chapters in the book, Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine, 2nd Edition, Rosch, Paul J. (Ed) CRC Press Boca Raton, 2015.

Most recently he contributed to the book, Complementary and Integrative Treatments in Psychiatric Practice (American Psychiatric Association, 2017), was featured in Justin Smith’s 2017 documentary movie, Body Electric: Electroceuticals and the Future of Medicine, and the 2019 sequel, The Brain Electric, and he co-authored a chapter on CES in a book by the American Psychological Association, titled Using Technology in Mental Health Practice (2018).

Paul J. Rosch, MD, MA, FACP

Dr. Paul J. Rosch ran The American Institute of Stress from its founding in 1978 until 2011. He was a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at New York Medical College, Honorary Vice President of the International Stress Management Association and Chair of its U.S. branch. He completed his internship and residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and subsequently at the Walter Reed Army Hospital and Institute of Research, where he was Director of the Endocrine Section in the Department of Metabolism. He had a Fellowship at the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery at the University of Montreal with Dr. Hans Selye, who originated the term “stress” as it is currently used, and has co-authored works with Dr. Selye as well as Dr. Flanders Dunbar, who introduced the term “psychosomatic” into American medicine.

Dr. Rosch was elected President of The American Institute of Stress in 1978 and served in that capacity until 2013, when he became Chairman of the Board. He was also the 1998-99 President of The Pavlovian Society, an organization of distinguished international scientists devoted to integrating basic and clinical research and has been the recipient of many honors, including the Outstanding Physician’s Award of the New York State Medical Society, Man of the Year Award with a Congressional Citation, the Schering Award, and the International Distinguished Service Award of the American Rural Health Association. In 1985, he received an award from Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, President of the American Society for Contemporary Medicine and Surgery for “contributions to our understanding of stress, health, and disease”. The I.M. Sechenov Memorial Medal was bestowed on him in 1993 by The Russian Academy of Medical Sciences for similar reasons and for facilitating communication between stress researchers at his annual International Congress on Stress. He was also the recipient of the 2000 Innovation Award of The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine.

Dr. Rosch has served as President of the New York State Society of Internal Medicine, Chairman of the International Foundation for Biopsychosocial Development and Human Health, Expert Consultant on Stress to the United States Center for Disease Control, President, Westchester Diabetes Association, and President, Yonkers Academy of Medicine. He is a member of the Board of Governors of Northwood University, The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Foundation, and has served as Consultant to the Mensana Clinic in Maryland, Biotonus Clinic in Switzerland, and other organizations involved in the delivery of health care. He has served as Clinical Professor of Medicine in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is on the International Advisory Committee, School of Psychology and Social Science, Universidad de Flores in Buenos Aires. He is a Fellow and Life Member of the American College of Physicians, Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, Emeritus Member of The Endocrine Society, Emeritus Member of The Bioelectromagnetics Society, Fellow of the Council of Epidemiology of the American Heart Association, Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Fellow of the Council on Geriatric Cardiology, Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Sciences, and Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine. He was unanimously elected in 1999 as a Full Member of the prestigious Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, one of only six foreigners who have received this honor in the past twenty years. Dr. Rosch is Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine and Honorary Emeritus Physician at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, New York, and has a Workers Compensation Subspecialty Rating in Cardiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases.

Dr. Rosch was Editor-in-Chief of Stress Medicine, published by John Wiley & Sons in England, Associate Editor of The International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, and International Journal of Stress Management, and has served or serves on the Editorial Board of other publications including the Journal of Human Stress, International Journal of Psychosomatics, Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports, Comprehensive Therapy, Journal of Human Behavior, and Health Inform; Essential Information on Alternative Health Care. He has organized and presided over the annual International Congress on Stress since 1988, which has featured state of the art presentations on all aspects of stress, as well as cutting edge research in relevant areas of bioelectromagnetic and alternative or complementary medicine.

Dr. Rosch has authored the Wellsprings of Health section of Creative Living and is Editor-in-Chief of Health and Stress, the monthly Newsletter of the American Institute of Stress. He has written extensively over the past six decades on the role of stress in health and illness, with particular reference to cardiovascular disease and cancer, and problems associated with job stress. In recent years, much of his attention has focused on the psychophysiologic effects of subtle energies, and especially the clinical use of magnetic field therapies. He is co-author of The Doctors Guide To Instant Stress Relief, Magnet Therapy, DeStress, Weigh Less and Editor of Bioelectromagnetic Medicine. He was the editor and contributed to Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine, a 50-chapter book published in 2015, as well as Fat and Cholesterol Don’t Cause Heart Attacks and Statins Are Not the Solution published in 2016.

He has appeared on numerous national and international television programs, including 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nova, CBS, NBC, PBS, BBC and CBC network presentations. His editorials and comments have been published in major medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of The American Medical Association, British Medical Journal and The Lancet. He has been interviewed and widely quoted in Time, Fortune, Newsweek, The Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The London Times, and numerous other publications here and abroad. An International Institute of Stress Medicine is being established in his honor in Mexico (Instituto Internacional de Medicine del Tensión Dr. Paul J. Rosch).

The Founding Board of Trustees

Robert Ader, PhD, Rochester, NY

Herbert Benson, MD, Boston MA

Paul A Brown, MD, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Dennis L. Colacino, PhD, Purchae, NY

Cary L. Cooper, PhD, Manchester, U.K .

Norman Cousins, Los Angels, CA

Micheal E. DeBakey, MD, Houston, TX

Theodore M. Dembroski, PhD, St. Petersburg, FL

Edward C. Donovan, Mattapan, MA

Joel Elkes, MD, Louisville, KY 

Carlton Fredericks, PhD, New York, NY

James Goddard, MD, Stamford, CT

Senator Barry M. Goldwater, Washington D.C.

Kenneth Greenspan, MD, New York, NY

James Goddard, MD, Stamford, CT

Senator S.I. Hayakawa (Ret.), Mill Valley, CA

Nelson Hendler, MD, Baltimor, MD

Thomas H. Holmes, MD, Seattle, WA

Bob Hope, Palm Springs, CA 

John Laragh, MD, New York, NY

James L. Lynch, PhD, Baltimore, MD

James S. J. Manuso, PhD, New York, NY

Lorenz K.Y. Ng, MD, Washington D.C .

Peter Nixon, FRCP, London, UK

Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, Berkeley, CA

Paul J. Rosch, MD, Yonkers, NY

Ray H. Rosenman, MD, Menio Park, CA

Henry Russek, MD, Boca Raton, FL

Sidney Scherlis, MD, Twson, MD

Marcy J.T. Smith, MS, RN, Barnstable, MA

Robert H. Spencer, New York, NY

Marvin Stein, MD, New York, NY

Charles F. Stroebel, PhD, MD, Hartford, CT

Charles Swencionis, PhD, New York, NY

Alvin Toffler, New York, NY