Electrical stimulation of the brain has a 2000 year history. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), one form of neurostimulation, is a functional neurosurgical approach in which a high-frequency electrical current stimulates targeted brain structures for therapeutic benefit. It is an effective treatment for certain neuropathologic movement disorders and an emerging therapy for psychiatric conditions and epilepsy. Its translational journey did not follow the typical bench-to-bedside path, but rather reversed the process. The shift from ancient and medieval folkloric remedy to accepted medical practice began with independent discoveries about electricity during the 19th century and was fostered by technological advances of the 20th. In this paper, we review that journey and discuss how the quest to expand its applications and improve outcomes is taking DBS from the bedside back to the bench.