Vertigo or the sudden sensation of spinning, moving, swaying or of surrounding objects moving when they are not, can be supported with strategically applied essential oils. Symptoms of vertigo may also include sensations of spinning, nausea, vomiting, a loss of balance, headache, sweating, loss of hearing or vision impairments.
Promising new research has found that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), for which I recommend topically applied, non-invasive essential oils like Parasympathetic blend, can provide significant pain relief from migraines and cluster headaches, including a specific type of migraine, associated with dizziness and vertigo, called an “acute vestibular migraine.”
A study published in the journal Neurology correlates vagus nerve stimulation with “rapid relief of vertigo and headache pain” in patients with acute vestibular migraine. According to the study, vagus nerve stimulation reduced vertigo intensity by 46.9% and headache intensity by 63.3%.
The results were so positive that noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation was approved for the treatment of migraine headaches by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2018.
Vertigo and the Vagus Nerve
There is actually an entire book written on “Vertigo and the Vagus Nerve: a medical mystery solved?” that I will be quoting below. To better understand how the vagus nerve impacts your perception of where you are in space, it is helpful to understand how your nervous system works.
As you may know, your nervous system transmits information between your body and your brain. Motor neurons send activating messages from the brain to the body. Sensory neurons send return messages from the body to the brain. Sensory information conveys sensations that we feel like touch, pain, heat, cold or awareness of our body in space which comes into play with feelings of dizziness.
It is important to understand that sensory nerves convey pain messages. For example, pain from a sprained ankle is registered by the brain via sensory nerves that travel from the injured muscles or joints. It is also important to understand that “if a nerve to an organ is damaged, it sends the same message to the brain as it would if the organ itself were damaged.”
Your vagus nerve has both sensory and motor fibers. If your vagus nerve is damaged from vagus nerve toxicity it will not only compromise your ability to activate your parasympathetic nervous system which controls your heart, lungs, digestion, detoxification and immune function. It will also compromise sensory signals and pain perception, contributing to conditions like fibromyalgia and vertigo.
The vagus nerve’s impact on vertigo and tinnitus can be due to its proximity to the vestibulocochlear nerve, which transmits sound and equilibrium (balance) information from the inner ear to the brain. Any injury that affects the vagus could also affect the vestibulocochlear nerve and present as symptoms like vertigo.
Vagus Nerve Infection Hypothesis
Tufts neuroscientist, Dr. Michael VanElzakker, observed that nerve loving viruses or infections in or around the vagus nerve (which he termed Vagus Nerve Infection Hypothesis can trigger a difficult to detect immune response that presents as “sickness response” symptoms, such as increased pain sensitivity and symptoms like vertigo and tinnitus.
Because your vagus nerve serves as your immune system’s conduit to the brain, VanElzakker believes that an infection in the vagus nerve doesn’t need to be large to cause havoc in the brain, triggering the constant production and release of inflammatory compounds that enhance pain signals and messaging. At its most extreme, the nervous system can interpret even the slightest touch as eliciting pain.
Vagus Nerve Toxicity
Clinicians like Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt find compromised vagus nerve function, which he calls Vagus Nerve Toxicity, in over 95% of their chronically ill patients. Read More about Vagus Nerve Toxicity HERE.
A toxic vagus nerve can impede all downstream function of the digestive system, leading to malabsorption, constipation or leaky gut. Malabsorption can then contribute to the accumulation of large-molecular matter in the lymph which can further trigger allergic immune responses and intolerances. As the vagus nerve controls motility in the digestive process, a toxic vagus nerve can lead to poor or misregulated intestinal motility, contributing not only to constipation, but also to imbalances in the gut microbiome, that can contribute to SIBO, IBS and candida overgrowth.
A correlation exists between malabsorption of nutrients and an infection of the vagus nerve. If the parasympathetic state isn’t triggered, insufficient stomach acid is released and nutrients are not properly broken down and assimilated. For example, proteins are not split or properly absorbed in sufficient amounts. Not enough bile flow prevents the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. If the excretion of pancreatic enzymes is insufficient, food is not digested properly, and this leads to the growth of pathogenic microbes further down in the colon.
3 Essential Oil blends for Vertigo
Topically applied essential oils can be used to manually stimulate the vagus nerve (when topically applied behind the ear lobe on the mastoid bone). The lipid soluble essential oils are able to directly and immediately access the nerve in a way that other supplements or remedies cannot.
Parasympathetic™: To stimulate the vagus nerve and trigger the parasympathetic response, topically apply Parasympathetic blend on the vagal nerve behind the earlobe on the neck can help manually override the infection and help reset the autonomic nervous system.
Circulation™: Mechanisms that cause dizziness can be circulatory, due to neck joint problems or upsets of the inner ear. Your ANS controls the “fluid matrix” of the body to keep it hydrated, oxygenating the blood via the lungs, and enabling digestion and absorption of your food for energy. The ANS “ensures that the body is supplied with the correct blood flow at the correct blood pressure by regulating the heart, that waste is excreted, body temperature is maintained, reproductive behavior controlled and defensive mechanism against viruses and bacteria mobilized (i.e. the immune system).” In the background, the ANS makes sure that the body can recover. “It does this by controlling the circadian rhythm, the daily routine of the body, which allows sleep for growth and repair of cells.”
Supporting your circulation can also help alleviate symptoms of vertigo and tinnitus. Circulation™, in particular cypress essential oil, helps enhance blood circulation. Cypress helps improve circulation, helping the veins contract, making it easier to stimulate blood flow. The blend also contains Peppermint which helps to reduce nausea, improve blood flow, and stimulate the central nervous system. When inhaled or applied topically, menthol, the dynamic chemical in peppermint essential oil, creates a cooling sensation that often provides nausea relief. Research found 83% of those studied noted a reduction in nausea after inhaling peppermint essential oil. The blend also contains Ginger, touted for its ability to naturally relieve symptoms of nausea, vertigo and dizziness.
Improving circulation may also help increase the flow of fluids, like blood, which can help ear drainage and lessen the intensity of the ear’s ringing and alleviate vestibulocochlear nerve congestion. Apply 2 -3 drops of Circulation™ on the back of the neck or behind the ears.
Gall Bladder™ — In Eastern medicine, the gallbladder meridian traverses the part of the head where you feel a headache. Following that logic, anything that causes the gallbladder to be congested, or not function well, could cause a disruption in that meridian pathway and lead to an acute vestibular migraine. From a reverse engineering standpoint that supporting the gallbladder could ease stress on the gallbladder meridian and with it, the experience of a headache. The Gall Bladder™ blend also contains Chamomile which is known to cross the blood brain barrier, reduce inflammation and help calm headaches. Read more about how healing the Gall Bladder can reduce headaches.
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