Auricular Neuromodulation: The Emerging Concept beyond the Stimulation of Vagus and Trigeminal Nerves

Medicines (Basel). 2018 Jan 21;5(1):10. doi: 10.3390/medicines5010010.


Neuromodulation, thanks to intrinsic and extrinsic brain feedback loops, seems to be the best way to exploit brain plasticity for therapeutic purposes. In the past years, there has been tremendous advances in the field of non-pharmacological modulation of brain activity. This review of different neurostimulation techniques will focus on sites and mechanisms of both transcutaneous vagus and trigeminal nerve stimulation. These methods are scientifically validated non-invasive bottom-up brain modulation techniques, easily implemented from the outer ear. In the light of this, auricles could transpire to be the most affordable target for non-invasive manipulation of central nervous system functions.

Keywords: auricle; auricular acupoint; auriculotherapy; neuromodulation; peripheral neuromodulation; trigeminal nerve; vagus nerve.

Publication types

  • Review