Psychophysiological Effects of Low-Frequency Vibration on Humans
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This study explored the use of low-frequency vibration (LFV) in stress reduction with the goal of identifying LFV as an alternative therapy for panic attacks. A model recognizing the vagus nerve as the central component in the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system proposes an explanation for the treatment. The vagus nerve relays information about the status of the body to areas of the brain where it is then processed. In the context of a panic attack, bodily cues indicative of a heightened arousal are relayed by the vagus nerve to the brain and result in further activation of the sympathetic nervous system. This study proposed that vagus nerve stimulation via LFV in combination with new bodily sensations caused by LFV would disrupt the fear response resulting in a calmer psychophysiological state. This study recruited 15 healthy female and 4 healthy male participants (n=19) and utilized a virtual reality simulation to cause autonomic arousal resembling that experienced during a panic attack. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups and LFV treatment was administered to Group I only. The results of the study indicated that no significant difference existed between the control group and the LFV treatment group (Group I) in the reduction of psychophysiological stress response symptoms during the controlled period of time.