Volunteers in the study who had a history of migraines experienced a significant reduction in the number of migraines they normally experienced in a month after using the technique.
‘The application of gentle cooling and warming currents inside the ear canal activates the balance organs which are believed to alter activity in the area of the brain associated with the onset of migraine headaches.’
CVS activates the balance organs which are believed to alter activity in the area of the brain, known as the brainstem, associated with the onset of migraine headaches.
Dr David Wilkinson, of the University's School of Psychology, helped lead the randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. It was carried out across the US and UK, involving 81 volunteers with a history of between four and 14 migraine attacks per month.
The volunteers self-administered caloric vestibular stimulation daily for 20 minutes over a period of three months. The thermal currents were delivered by aluminium earpieces seated within padded headphones, powered and controlled by a small, hand-held device.
The findings demonstrated that the treatment reduced both the number of migraine days per month (the active treatment group experienced a reduction of 3.6 days compared to 0.9 days in the placebo group) as well as headache pain and the consequent need for migraine abortive prescription medications.
Dr Wilkinson said the results indicated that vestibular stimulation 'may address the existing need for new preventative therapies for episodic migraine'.