Tickling the ear with a small electric current could rebalance the nervous system in over-55s and help them age more healthily, research suggests.

Stimulation of the vagus nerve, which connects to the heart, lungs and gut, led to improvements in body, sleep and mood, a small study found.

The University of Leeds team said the procedure could make a big difference to people’s lives.

But more research is needed to work out the long-term health effects.

Why the ear?

The ear acts as a gateway to the body’s nervous system.

One small branch of the vagus nerve can be stimulated via the skin in specific bits of the outer ear.

To some people, the therapy feels ticklish. To others, it’s painless.

What’s the vagus nerve?

Also called the “wandering nerve”, because it’s long and

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