The Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve is a hot topic right now. The #vagusnerve has been viewed millions of times on social media, and many individuals and companies are tapping into the concept to promote new health products or techniques.
As a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering who studied the vagus nerve for the last 6 years and developed a vagus nerve stimulation product, I get a lot of questions about whether our product can be used for a variety of different health conditions. I also get asked how our device compares to the other "vagus nerve stimulators" on the market and that you may have even seen being advertised on social media.
In this article, I want to explain the mechanism behind how our product works so you can understand exactly what our product can (and can't) help with. I also want to compare it to other products and show you how our device is currently the only effective vagus nerve stimulator on the market for helping people recover from stress and anxiety.
The Mechanism Behind VeRelief
The vagus nerve travels throughout the entire upper body. It serves as the physical connection between the brain and the body. The vagus nerve is made up of two different types of nerve branches: afferent and efferent branches.
Afferent branches travel towards the brain and carry information about the state of the body towards the brain so the brain can make a decision. Efferent branches travel from the brain towards the body and carry commands to the body that tell the body what to do.
VeRelief targets a very specific branch of the vagus nerve called the Auricular Branch of the Vagus Nerve (ABVN) found in and around the ear area. This branch is purely an afferent branch, meaning it only travels towards the brain. It specifically targets a region in the brain called the Locus Coeruleus and Reticular Activating System, regions responsible for helping us recover from a stress response and helping us fall asleep when we need to.
This branch is very effective at helping people calm down during a stress response, but it is not an ideal target for other bodily health related issues like gastroparesis, digestion issues, IBS, or blood pressure.
Other Branches of the Vagus Nerve
Within the vagus nerve, there is the auricular branch and another branch called the Cervical Branch of the Vagus Nerve. This nerve is generally located on the front side of the neck and is made up of about 20% efferent fibers, meaning it has branches that travel directly toward the body, primarily the heart.
Because of this, vagus nerve stimulators that target the cervical branch have many heart-related risks and contraindications, whereas products like VeRelief that target the auricular branch do not.
Additionally, the cervical branch is much deeper in the neck under the skin compared to the auricular branch, making it much more difficult to target noninvasively. You basically need a large amount of power to hit the nerve from the outside, which causes severe and uncomfortable muscle contractions, and can even cause carotid artery restriction which could kill you.
Other Vagus Nerve Stimulators
Gammacore is a handheld vagus nerve stimulator that targets the cervical branch of the vagus nerve. It is a very expensive product that can only be purchased with a prescription from a doctor. It uses wet electrodes which makes the user experience unpleasant, and the device is large and bulky and not easy to travel with and has a long set up time.
Gammacore has an extremely high-power output, making this a dangerous product for a large population of people. It definitely should only be purchased with a prescription from a doctor.Gammacore also has a new non-prescription product called Truvaga they are now selling and claiming it helps with stress and anxiety relief, but the poor user experience, high cost, and high-risk location of stimulation makes this device cause more stress and anxiety than it relieves.
Pulsetto is a hands-free wearable that targets the (cervical branch?) of the vagus nerve on both sides of the neck. However, it makes no claims as to which specific branch it actually targets, and the images and videos it promotes shows the electrodes being applied in very inconsistent regions. The company also does not reveal what their power output is, so there is a real possibility it doesn’t even produce enough power to actually hit the cervical branch of the vagus nerve.
Aside from targeting a high-risk location on the neck, the product also uses wet gel electrodes and must be connected to an app before use. This causes a long setup time and uncomfortable user experience.
As a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering who spent the last 6 years studying and testing various types of vagus nerve stimulators for stress and anxiety, I am least impressed with Pulsetto and have no reason to believe it actually even hits the vagus nerve like it claims. Be very cautious if you decide to purchase a Pulsetto.
Of all the available vagus nerve stimulators, I am most impressed with Neuvana. In fact, this product was what got me into studying the vagus nerve in the first place when I used it on a golf course and made almost every putt I looked at that day.
The Neuvana device targets the Auricular Branch of the Vagus Nerve inside the ear canal. Again, this location only hits afferent branches of the vagus nerve and therefore it is extremely low risk.The Neuvana device does have a noticeable and objective impact on reducing stress levels, but the device is bulky and has wires you must connect to yourself, and you must also soak the electrode in a wet gel or saline before sticking it into your ear. It is not a comfortable experience and requires a long set up time.
The poor user experience and low efficacy of available vagus nerve stimulators to reduce stress and anxiety drove me to start Hoolest and build our own auricular vagus nerve stimulator. We chose to target the auricular branch for its direct connection to the region in the brain associated with reducing stress and anxiety, and its high safety profile.
VeRelief is a small, portable, wireless, and dry-electrode vagus nerve stimulator. It requires no app or phone to work, making it extremely easy and comfortable to get started with.
It is also a very low risk product as it targets the auricular branch of the vagus nerve rather than the high-risk cervical branch next to the carotid artery.
In addition to being the most user-friendly and effective vagus nerve stimulator to help people recover from a stress response or anxiety episode, it is also the most affordable. The Mini has a starting price of $199, and the high-powered (and safe) Prime model is $399.
Our 60-day money-back guarantee is the longest trial period in the industry. Give the VeRelief a try today!
The VeRelief line of products are not intended to treat any medical conditions, but rather to simply offer a powerful and effective way to recover from a stress response or anxiety episode.
It should not be relied upon to treat any medical or mental heatlh condition, but is an excellent supplement to other modalities like meditation, PEMF therapy, red light therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, cold therapy, and other holistic healing modalities.