Transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation is a form of neuro-modulation and a key component in regulating the autonomic nervous system, social-emotional function, and adaptive behavior in adult Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The vagus nerve contains sensory (80–90%) and motor fibers and serves as the communication pathway between the CNS (hypothalamus and its connections) and the viscera. The parasympathetic system regulates ‘rest and digestive’ functions. Afferent signaling via the vagus nerve transmits visceral stimuli (taste buds, heart, lungs, and other visceral organs) to the nucleus of the solitary tract. The cell bodies of these fibers are located in the inferior ganglion (nodose ganglion) of the vagus nerve. Somatic sensory fibers arising from the external ear have their cell bodies in the superior (jugular) ganglion and then project to the trigeminal nucleus. Vagus motor fibers arising from the dorsal motor nucleus innervate visceral organs (heart, digestive system), and those from the nucleus ambiguus are involved in speech and swallowing.
Preganglionic motor and somatic sensory neurons, as well as supporting cells of the cranial ganglia, arise from neural crest cells. By contrast, the visceral sensory innervation from the vagus nerve arises from the third epibranchial placode (nodose placode).
In ASD neurological studies show low functioning connections within and between the frontal, temporal and parietal cortices, and subcortical structures (thalamus, amygdala and hippocampus) which are involved in under active social function and repetitive behaviors.
Accumulating evidence suggests that ASD is also associated with impaired immune function at both systemic and cellular levels. tVNS modulates immune function by a defense response and top-down modulation. It modulates not only immune function in ASD, but also the interaction between neural plasticity and the immune system.
tVNS down regulates inflammatory cytokine release, providing evidence for its anti-inflammatory effect.
According to the social engagement system model, a high level of vagal activity is associated with better social skills, such as positive synchronous Mother-Infant interactions. Low vagal activity is associated with less vocalizing
tVNS provides support for Adult Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Aspergers/ High Functioning Autism (HFA) including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hperactive Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), Anxiety, Insomonia , Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Schitzophrenia , Aging, and acts as an Anti-inflammatory.
Because the vagus nerve is associated with many different functions and brain regions, clinical research shows its usefulness in treating other conditions, including Migraine, Obesity, Alcohol addiction, prevention of Arrhythmias, Autoimmune disorders, and several chronic Pain conditions.
Treatments usually begins with EEG coherence, and concludes with tVNS which singularly brings immediate benefits with relief of symptoms, or at twice per week per six weeks for long term self-regulation.
Neuro-biofeedback is a non-invasive treatment that sends coherent signals to the brain which synchronizes to the heart’s coherent rhythm, this promotes coherence and has a calming effect . tVNS Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation, provides sub-sensory innervation to the auricular branch of the vagus nerve.
IHM’s tVNS with Neuro-biophysical treatment is experienced either singularly, or, as part of a comprehensive holistic treatment plan that includes holistic medicine and lifestyle recommendations to help you overcome various symptoms and achieve your health goals.