The Science of Vagus Nerve


The Vagus Nerve

One way of trying to describe its function is to compare it with a “cloud” in internet terms. A place to relay information and regulate functions of the body. It deals with parasympathetic control of the heart & lungs as well as the digestive track.

It starts at the Medulla oblongata  (see 3D diagram below) working its way down through the body to the colon. It is responsible for giving sensory information about the state of the bodies organs to the central nervous system.

The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that emanate from the brain. It is also responsible for heart rate, peristalsis, sweating, mouth movements including speech, gag reflex and vomiting.

The part of the Vagus nerve we are interested in are the fibres at the end of the auricular branch (also know as the Aldermans nerve) which cluster around the inner canal part of the outer ear.

The two sides of the vagus nerve have some similar functions and some not so similar functions and this may relate to the side for maximum stimulation for your type of migraine. Other factors which may relate are the side of the pain, the side at which maximum vagus nerve stimulation is best.One thing that comes up time and time again is when it is stimulated on the side of the pain, there is sometimes a movement in the migraine away from the point of stimulation, often resulting in a milder migraine on the opposite side.

At present there is no detailed research to determine which side is best stimulated for individual cases. This study shows the results of experimentation on rats. It shows stimulation on just one side was useful in treating headaches and migraine regardless of which side is stimulated.

auricular branch skeleton

VNS Vagus Nerve Stimulation

This is a medical procedure tested through clinical trails and is used to treat several conditions either through electrical pulses or manually such as the daith piercing. In 1997 VNS was approved by the FDA (USA Food & Drug Administration) for the treatment of epilepsy. In 2005 the FDA approved it for the treatment of depression. It had also been found to help with bipolar disorder, anxiety and Alzheimer’s.

Using the 3D image below you can trace the route of the nerves through the body to the organs.

In October 2017 following several months of extensive surveys on people who had the daith piercing to help with migraines, Dr Chris Blatchley (migraine specialist) published a document supporting the proof of VNS via the daith piercing showing the results in several different ways. 

For those of you interested in seeing this document you can view and download it below.

Click here for the download.



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