How does it work?

Everything we are and everything we do is the result of complex electrochemical signalling patterns in our brains and bodies. All the neurons and supporting cells are working in concert to make us feel happy and to make us cope with the daily life challenges. Sometimes this signalling may need a little help from the outside to perform well. By applying small (~0.5-2 mA) electrical currents to the skin we are creating an electric field inside the head. This electric field is able to reduce, increase, disrupt or aid the electrical signalling patterns, depending on the stimulation protocol and the state of the user.

BrainPatch has the technological platform to deliver any stimulation protocol to any location (whether on the skin directly or even with hair in the way). And we can record neuronal, muscular or ECG activity through the same kind of electrodes placed anywhere on the body with the aim to observe the effects of the stimulation and to adjust those effects if necessary.


By positioning electrodes on the bones behind the ears using our proprietary headset design we are creating a strong electric field in the neck area, but not inside the skull, nor the spinal cord. It does however create a voltage gradient in some of the cranial nerves running between the brain and the body, most prominently the vestibular nerve, the vagus nerve and the facial nerve. This gradient can affect the cell signaling and depending on the direction of the current and the stimulation protocol may stimulate these nerves by increasing or decreasing their excitability.

We can also use our platform stimulation technology with a prototype wearable device that positions the electrodes for specific stimulation of the auricular branch of the vagus nerve for applications where off-target effects on other cranial nerves are not desirable.

Is it effective?

Effective stimulation of the vagus nerve has been shown to activate the parasympathetic (relaxation) response [16-17] and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety [R7].

Our e-meditation protocol through a combination of vestibular and vagus stimulation can induce sensations that can be instantly felt as a floating feeling, as a mental relaxation and some compare it to being pulled into a state of deep meditation.

In a single-blind placebo controlled study we conducted with stimulation and EEG recording we noticed that the stimulation has a cumulative effect in that it attenuates burnout and induces changes in brain waves similar to those observed in meditators [BP5].

A large scale double-blinded placebo-controlled scientific study conducted on office workers in a large telecommunications company call center and also in university students revealed consistent results with respect to attenuation of burnout, emotional well-being and instant reduction of stress in response to stimulation that is significantly greater than the placebo effect alone [BP7].

Is it safe?

By stimulating the areas behind the ears (mastoids) we are combining Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS) with sound and GVS has been trialed across the globe and is generally considered safe when used with healthy individuals, not under influence of alcohol or other substances [R15].

We also have data from our own experience and experiments with healthy individuals that is consistent with existing literature with respect to safety. However, with certain groups of people we do not have enough data and we have identified potential safety concerns:

  • I do not have a metal implant/pacemaker, or any piercing/metal between the electrodes and the skin
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • I have a healthy vestibular system (E.g. sea sickness, vertigo)
  • I do not suffer from chronic high blood pressure
  • I do not suffer from epilepsy, agoraphobia, any other psychological disorder
  • I am currently not on any medication
  • I do not have an open wound at the site of the stimulation
  • I do not suffer from any skin condition (e.g. eczema, or psoriasis)
  • I am not pregnant
  • I am not planning to drive or operate heavy machinery during the use of the device or at least half an hour afterwards

With our device we have limited the current to safe levels in the hardware, in firmware and also in software App, as well as created an electrode that can transmit the current without damaging the skin. Despite this, occasionally, people with sensitive skin may feel uncomfortable tingling sensations (mild tingling sensations are OK), or some people may experience uncomfortable dizziness or nausea. If you feel any discomfort using the device, stop the stimulation, try reducing the stimulation strength on a different day and if the problem persists, please contact our customer support.

Where can i read more about it?

Press / Media
Our research outputs
Other relevant literature
  • R1. Valentina Dilda, Hamish G. MacDougal, Ian S. Curthoys, and Steven, T. Moore, Effects of galvanic vestibular stimulation on cognitive function, Experimental Brain Research 216 (2019), 275-285
  • R2. Julia Dlugaiczyk, Kathrin D. Gensberger, and Hans Straka, Galvanic vestibular stimulation: From basic concepts to clinical applications, Journal of Neurophychology 121 (2019), 2237-2255
  • R3. Danica Hilliard, Suzanne Passow, Franka Thurm, Nicolas W. Schuck, Alexander Garthe, Gerd Kempermann, and Shu Chen Li, Noisy galvanic vestibular stimulation modulates spatial memory in young healthy adults, Scientific Reports 9 (2019)
  • R4. Yasuto Inukai, Mitsuhiro Masaki, Naofumi Otsuri, Kei Saito, Shota Miyaguchi, Sho Kojima, and Hideaki Onishi, Effect of noisy galvanic vestibular stimulation in community-dwelling elderly people: a randomised controlled trial, Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 15 (2018), 1-7
  • R5. Jeong Woo Lee, Woong Sik Park, and Se Won Yoon, effects of galvanic vestibular stimulation on event related potentials, Journal of Physical Therapy Science 28 (2016), 2604-2507
  • R6. Christophe Lopez, The vestibular system: Balancing more than just the body, 2016, pp. 74-83
  • R7. Florane Pasquier, Pierre Denise, Antoint Gauthier, Nicolas Bessot, and Galle Quark, Impact of galvanic vestibular stimulation on anxiety level in young adults, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 13 (2019)
  • R8. A.M. Souza Ried and M. Aviles, Asymmetries of vestibular dysfunction in major depression, Neuroscience 144 (2007) , 128-134
  • R9. Morgana Sluydts, Ian Curthoys, Robby Vanspauwen, Blake Croll Papsin, Sharon Lynn Cushing, Angel Ramos, Angel Ramos de Miguel, Silvia Borkoski Barreiro, Maurizio Barbara, Manuel Manrique, and Andrzej Zarowski, electrical vestibular stimulation in humans: A narrative review, 2 (2020), 6-24
  • R10. Paul F. Smith, Lisa H. Geddes, Jean Ha Baek, Cynthia L. Darlington, and Yiwen Zheng, Modulation of memory by vestibular lesions and galvanic vestibular stimulation, Frontiers in Neurology NOV (2010)
  • R11. Kathrin S. Utz, Violeta Dimova, Karin Oppenlnder, and Georg Kerkhoff, Electrified minds: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tdes) and galvanic vestibular stimulation (gves) as methods of non-invasive brain stimulation in neuropshychology-a review of current data and future implications, 8 (2010), 2789-2810
  • R12. David Wilkinson, Sophie Nicholls, Charlotte Patternden, Patrick Kilduff, and William Millberg, Galvanic vestibular stimulation speeds visual memory recall, Experimental Brain Research 189 (2008), 243-248
  • R13. Lotta Winter, Tillmann H.C. Kruger, Jean Laurens, Harald Engler, Manfred Schedlowski, Dominik Straumann, and M. Axel Wollmer, Vestibular stimulation on a motion-simulator impacts on mood states, Frontiers in Psychology 3 (2012)
  • R14. Yoshiharu Yamamoto, Zbigniew R. Struzik, Rika Soma, Kyoko Ohashi, and Shin Kwak, Noisy vestibular stimulation improves autonomic and motor responsiveness in central neurodegenerative disorders, Annals of Neurology 58 (2005), 175-181
  • R15. Bhattacharya A, Mrudula K, Sreepada SS, Sathyaprabha TN, Pal PK, Chen R, Udupa K. An Overview of Noninvasive Brain Stimulation: Basic Principles and Clinical Applications. Can J Neurol Sci. 2022 Jul;49(4):479-492. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2021.158. Epub 2021 Jul 9. PMID: 34238393.
  • R16. Osińska A, Rynkiewicz A, Binder M, Komendziński T, Borowicz A, Leszczyński A. Non-invasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Treatment of Disorders of Consciousness - Longitudinal Case Study. Front Neurosci. 2022 May 6;16:834507. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2022.834507. PMID: 35600632; PMCID: PMC9120963.
  • R17. Matjaz Sinkovec, Roman Trobec, Bernard Meglic, Cardiovascular responses to low-level transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation, Autonomic Neuroscience,Volume 236, 2021, 102851