Tragus based Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Stress Reduction

Surej Mouli, Ramaswamy Palaniappan, Jane Ollis, Ian McLoughlin , Rahul Kanegaonkar, Sunil Arora

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation is fast becoming a popular alternative treatment method for various
health disorders. The authors investigated the effects of auricular vagus nerve stimulation at tragus for activating
the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress, in light of mixed results from other studies. Stimulation
frequency of 25 Hz with a pulse-width of 200 μs was administered at tragus with ECG data recorded
during pre- and post-stimulation trials to investigate changes in the low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency
(HF) parameters of heart rate variability (HRV). The results from five subjects demonstrate an increase in
the HF component and a decrease in LF when comparing pre- and post- stimulation values, denoting that
VNS stimulated more of the parasympathetic activity. The LF/HF ratio was reduced for all participants after
stimulation, with an average reduction of 64:5% observed. Overall, this study has indicated the feasibility of
using tragus as a stimulation site to stimulate the vagus nerve; tragus being easier to administrate than many
alternative sites while still being effective for stress reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBIOSIGNALS 2021 - 14th International Conference on Bio-Inspired Systems and Signal Processing; Part of the 14th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies, BIOSTEC 2021
EditorsBethany Bracken, Ana Fred, Hugo Gamboa
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-758-490-9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2021
Event14th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies - , Malaysia
Duration: 1 Mar 20214 Mar 2021


Conference14th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies
Abbreviated title BIOSTEC 2021
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was funded by Enabling Innovation: Research to Application (EIRA, Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, CCF) grant RD005 - MindSpire Proof of Concept.

Copyright © 2021 by SCITEPRESS – Science and Technology Publications, Lda.


  • Electrocardiogram
  • Stress Reduction
  • Tragus
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation


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