A new research conducted by experts from the University of Leeds have proven that ‘tickling’ the ear by means of small electrical current will help in rebalancing the autonomic nervous system, a process which will allegedly help in slowing the effects of ageing, especially for people over 55.
According to the new research, a short daily therapy will improve both physiology and wellbeing of people, including better quality of life, sleep and mood. The therapy is called as transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation, which helps to deliver painless, small electrical current to the ear and also sends signals through the vagus nerve to the body’s nervous system.
As a result, the therapy will also help to protect people from chronic diseases which become more prone with the growing age. The tickle therapy has shown results to recalibrate the body’s internal control system.
“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. We believe these results are just the tip of the iceberg.
“We are excited to investigate further into the effects and potential long-term benefits of daily ear stimulation, as we have seen a great response to the treatment so far,” comments Dr Beatrice Bretherton, of the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leeds.
The autonomic nervous system in the human body is responsible to control several body’s function, such as breathing, heart rate, digestion and blood pressure. The system contains two branches, parasympathetic and sympathetic, these work against each other in order to maintain a healthy balance of activity.
As humans age, the body balance varies, with the dominance of sympathetic branch. This process of imbalance makes the human body more susceptible to various diseases and also leads to breakdown of several healthy bodily functions.
Clinicians have observed that potential use of electric currents can influence the nervous system. One of the major nerves of the parasympathetic system, the vagus nerve can often use electrical stimulation, this stimulation of vagus nerve can help in tackling obesity, stroke, epilepsy, depression, tinnitus and heart conditions.
This kind of stimulation usually requires surgery, in order to implant electrodes in the neck region, at an associated expense and also bears the risk of side effects. However, small branch of the vagus nerve can be stimulated without the need of surgery and is located in a specific part of the outer ear.
Application of a small electrical stimulus to the vagus nerve at the ear can perceive a tickling sensation and improve the balance of autonomic nervous system, especially among healthy 30-year olds.
Citing the potential results of the tickle therapy in recalibrating the body’s internal control system and protection from chronic diseases, the study has been published in the journal Aging.