Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) is a non-invasive treatment, performed by placing electrode clips on the ears and stimulating the vagus nerve via the auricular branches.

Vagus nerve stimulation was first performed by surgically implanting a device in epileptic patients, which had great results, however, there are side effects and as it is an invasive procedure, there are many risks associated with it. This is how taVNS first came to light. As there are no side effects or risks associated with the non-invasive form of taVNS treatment, it is fast gaining momentum as an effective treatment for many conditions, including some that previously were thought to have no alternative options available, other than conventional medicine.

Conditions taVNS is used to treat include:

  • Depression/anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammation
  • Migraine
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • RA
  • Allergies and autoimmune conditions
  • Skin conditions
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Memory, focus, concentration

How does it work? This depends on what condition is being treated. In digestive disorders, VNS increases gastrin and stomach acid secretion, increases GIT motility, improves enzyme release and overall digestive function. In depression, VNS increases brain derived neurotrophic factor, noradrenaline and serotonin, which improves mood by increasing activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. VNS helps to regulate heart rate and helps to decrease gut and other systemic inflammation, which is present in most skin and allergy conditions.