review

Neuvana Xen Review Vagus Nerve Stimulation Earbuds

Friday, January 31, 2020

Neuvana Xen is an entry-level vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) and music earbuds solution designed to improve overall well-being by targeting a specific nerve, the vagus (vagal) nerve, which runs from the base of the brain to the intestines, making it the longest nerve in our body. The vagus nerve connects to the concha area of the ear, the vocal cords and the muscles at the back of your throat.
Neuvana Xen works on the same principle as a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine but, instead of, using adhesive electrodes to transmit current, Neuvana Xen uses earbuds to transmit electrical impulses. There is, essentially, three parts to Xen. The Xen earbuds, the Neuvana app and the Xen VNS stimulator, which is the shiny-looking spaceship coaster included in the box.
Aside from electrical impulses, the Xen stimulator can also transmit audio sound through the Xen earbuds. That said, the Neuvana Xen earbuds will only work with the included Xen stimulator, which weighs 85 grams and measures 1.5cm thick and 8cm in diameter. If you plug the Xen earbuds into a smartphone, the Xen earbuds won't work.
The Xen earbuds weigh 15 grams, including the 98cm long rubberized cable, which is non-detachable from the earbuds. The body of the Xen earbuds is made of plastic and, while both earbuds look the same, they aren't. The left earbud nozzle neck contains the metal contact connection that transmits the electrical impulses from the Xen VNS stimulator to the ear.
Both Xen earbuds have long and narrow nozzle necks with openings on either side. The right earbud doesn't have any metal contacts.
The Xen stimulator comes with a plastic holder (weighs 83 grams) to keep the Xen VNS stimulator upright while it's charging. The holder measures 11cm long, 4.5cm wide and 5.5cm tall. The Xen stimulator can be laid flat on a desk too, although there aren't any rubber feet on the base to prevent the device from sliding around.
The Xen vagus nerve stimulator has a simply design. A USB-C charging port on one side, a power on/off button on the other side and, a large Neuvana logo in the centre that integrates an led light.
The led will light solid green, during operation and solid blue, when the Xen stimulator is connected to the Neuvana app, which requires creating an account, as well as setting up a second bluetooth connection, which is needed to control the vagus nerve stimulation signal.
You also have to allow the Neuvana app to access your phone's location, although it's not explained why this is needed for Xen to operate.
When both bluetooth connections are made, you are taken to the main Sessions menu of the Neuvana app where you can choose sensations or have the VNS signal synced to music or synced to ambient noise via the microphone of your phone.
The app has a flash icon that will turn blue when the device is sending an stimulus, as well as a battery icon that indicates how much battery there is left in the Xen stimulator.
The other two main menus in the Neuvana app are music and settings. The music tab lets you create a playlist, while the settings tab gives you access to information such as the version of Neuvana.
There are a total of four waveforms and four sensations to choose from, some of which are not free to use. The paid waveforms and sensations require that you upgrade to a premium account (the first two months are free).  The duration and intensity can be adjusted from 5 minutes to 20 minutes (duration) and the intensity can be regulated from 0 (lowest) to 25 (highest).
Everything about the Xen earbuds is uniquely different to conventional earbuds, including the cut-out design of the ear tips, which makes the Xen earbuds stay in the ears more securely while allowing some ventilation. Because of the small cut outs though, the Xen earbuds aren't as comfortable to wear for long periods because of the slight rubbing.
That said, the Xen earbuds aren't meant to be used for long stretches since they are designed to stimulate the vagus nerve for short periods of time. The vagus can apparently be stimulated manually by singing, summing and, even gargling.
There are actually devices already on the market designed to stimulate the vagus nerve to treat epilepsy and even depression. These types of vagus nerve stimulators are invasive as they have to be implanted under the skin in the chest area. Other vagus nerve stimulators such as the Neuvana Xen are transcutaneous, non-invasive devices.
From the research, vagus nerve stimulation via the chest implant produces noticeable positive effects. Vagus nerve stimulation therapy is extremely costly though, costing up to £20,000 since the implant requires a surgical procedure.
The offering by Neuvana Xen cost a fraction of that and it's non-invasive. Having said that, the Xen earbuds aren't going to be as effective as a vagus nerve stimulator costing thousands. And, it isn't just cost. The vagus nerve is said to be very difficult to stimulate through the skin because the vagus nerve lays deep beneath the skin.
However,, scientific research does indicate that the vagus nerve can be effectively stimulated from specific places of the outer ear, including the cymba concha of the ear (smaller concha just above the larger concha of the area), the tragus section of the outer ear and the ear canal, which the Xen earbuds are designed to target.
The surgically implanted vagus nerve stimulators deliver anything from 0.75mA to 2.0 mA of current to the vagus nerve for as long as 30 seconds every 5 minutes. Vagus nerve stimulation within beneath the skin produces a strong tingling sensation.
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The Xen earbuds were invented by a cardiologist - Dr. Richard Cartledge - but Xen isn't a medical device; otherwise, it would require the monitoring of a specialist. Xen is on par with other home "medical" devices such as blood pressure monitors that don't require a doctor's approval.
The Xen earbuds don't claim to treat epilepsy or depression but, they do claim that Xen may improve mood, training recovery and even blood pressure. Neuvana does have a disclaimer that says results will vary and not everyone may see the benefits claimed; hence the 30-day money-back guarantee offer if the user is not 100% satisfied.
Neuvana does come well endorsed as the inventor - Dr Cartledge - has been credited by professional physicians for a few other medical inventions for treating heart conditions and brain clots.
Before buying Neuvana Xen though, you should be aware of the warnings and disclaimers. You cannot use it if you have any electronic device implanted in your body (i.e. cardiac pacemaker), while pregnant, suffering from epilepsy or chronic jaw pain. In other words, you have to be healthy to begin with because Xen will not cure or treat any illness.
To get the best out of Xen you will want to upgrade to a premium account to gain access to more powerful electrical impulses.
The free versions just don't have the same oomph. You also want to follow the indications and suggestions. For example, the white dot on the left earbud must be aligned with the letter L.
Also, cleaning your ear canals prior using Xen helps considerably. A micro-mist sprayer is included for the user to fill up with saline solution (salt+water) for spraying the left earbud and increase the conductivity between the earbud and the skin to optimize your VNS session
To charge the Xen stimulator, a 5V/1A small cube size USB wall adapter with US 2-pin plug is included, along with a long USB-A to USB type C cable. A full two hour charge of the internal 900mAh battery will allow you to use Xen for up to 3 hours on low/medium duration and intensity. You cannot use the Xen stimulator device while it is charging. Neuvana Xen is compatible with iOS devices (iOS 11 or later) and Android devices (Android 5 or later).

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