BBC News reports on research out of the University of Leeds that the "ear acts as a gateway to the body's nervous system." The report comes after research into an electrical ear stimulation therapy to rebalance the nervous system.
Why focus on treating the body via the ear? Innervation of the ear offers an ideal way to access and stimulate a branch of the vagus nerve, a long and well-connected nerve, that transmits information from the brain to organs around the body, such as the heart and lungs. The vagus nerve is fundamental to the autonomic nervous system and controls both sympathetic and parasympathetic functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure.
The research, done at the University of Leeds, gave 29 healthy volunteers (aged over 55) therapeutical electrical transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation for 15 minutes a day for two weeks. The findings showed the therapy provided an increase in parasympathetic activity and a decrease in sympathetic activity — a rebalancing of the body's nervous system. People who had the greatest imbalance at the start of the study showed the most improvement after receiving the therapy.
As study author Dr Beatrice Bretherton reports in the BBC News article, "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."
As practitioners of German Auricular Medicine already know, this truly is just the tip of the iceberg. As seen in the photo to this post, students of Auricular Medicine are already diving to much deeper levels of assessment and treatment through ear acupuncture using concepts in Auricular Medicine.
For anyone interested in the diagnostic and treatment insights that the ear can provide, visit the Canadian Institute of Auricular Medicine's YouTube channel or attend CIAM's Level I training.