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Tickle Therapy: Does It Really Work?

It’s not what it sounds like. “Tickling” the ear refers to the application of a small, painless electrical current to the ear, targeting the vagus nerve, to re-balance the autonomic nervous system. The therapy is called trans cutaneous vagus nerve stimulation. Why is this such a big deal?


One of the effects of aging is our autonomic nervous system loses balance. More specifically, the sypathetic branch, the branch that prepares our body for fight or flight, begins to dominate. This can have many effects on the well-being of individuals over 55. Chronic disease such as High Blood Pressure, heart disease and atrial fibrillation can be a result.


Lead author of the study, Dr Beatrice Bretherton, of the University of Leeds, said: “ The ear is like a gateway through which we can tinker with the body’s metabolic balance, without the need for medication or invasive procedures”


Scientists found that short daily therapy delivered for 2 weeks led to both physiological and wellbeing improvements, including a better quality of life, mood and sleep.

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