Frequency-Dependent Reduction of Cybersickness in Virtual Reality by Transcranial Oscillatory Stimulation of the Vestibular Cortex

Neurotherapeutics. 2023 Oct;20(6):1796-1807. doi: 10.1007/s13311-023-01437-6. Epub 2023 Sep 18.


Virtual reality (VR) applications are pervasive of everyday life, as in working, medical, and entertainment scenarios. There is yet no solution to cybersickness (CS), a disabling vestibular syndrome with nausea, dizziness, and general discomfort that most of VR users undergo, which results from an integration mismatch among visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular information. In a double-blind, controlled trial, we propose an innovative treatment for CS, consisting of online oscillatory imperceptible neuromodulation with transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) at 10 Hz, biophysically modelled to reach the vestibular cortex bilaterally. tACS significantly reduced CS nausea in 37 healthy subjects during a VR rollercoaster experience. The effect was frequency-dependent and placebo-insensitive. Subjective benefits were paralleled by galvanic skin response modulation in 25 subjects, addressing neurovegetative activity. Besides confirming the role of transcranially delivered oscillations in physiologically tuning the vestibular system function (and dysfunction), results open a new way to facilitate the use of VR in different scenarios and possibly to help treating also other vestibular dysfunctions.

Keywords: Cybersickness; Neuromodulation; Transcranial alternating current stimulation; Vestibular system; Virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Nausea
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation*
  • Vestibular System
  • Virtual Reality*