Vagus Nerve Stimulation
What is it?
The vagus nerve is a major component of the autonomic nervous system, has an important role in the regulation of metabolic homeostasis, and plays a key role in the neuroendocrine-immune axis to maintain homeostasis through its afferent and efferent pathways.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) refers to any technique that stimulates the vagus nerve, including manual or electrical stimulation.
The relationship between depression, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease might be mediated by the vagus nerve.
Left cervical VNS is an approved therapy for refractory epilepsy and for treatment resistant depression. Right cervical VNS is effective for treating heart failure in preclinical studies and a phase II clinical trial.
Insomnia inflicts mental burden and decreases physical productivity and affects life quality. Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (ta-VNS) may be an effective treatment option for insomnia.
Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (tVNS) can increase HRV and reduce sympathetic nerve outflow, which is desirable in conditions characterized by enhanced sympathetic nerve activity, such as heart failure. tVNS can therefore influence human physiology and provide a simple and inexpensive alternative to invasive VNS.
Vagus nerve stimulation may also be helpful for people who haven’t responded to intensive depression treatments, such as psychological counselling (psychotherapy) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Additionally, researchers are studying vagus nerve stimulation as a potential treatment for a variety of conditions, including headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, bipolar disorder, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.
New, noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation devices(TENS), which don’t require surgical implantation, is also considered as an option to treat epilepsy, depression and pain. Learn more about TENS units we carry.
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