Acupressure for the Miraculous Vagus Nerve

Blog ACOP 5.10.24

Did you know that you could access and regulate the Vagus nerve through Acupressure points in the ear?

Rachna Mehta and Ramona Horton stimulating the vagus nerve in the outer earAt HWConnect last year, I had the pleasure of meeting the amazing Ramona Horton. Ramona introduced us to Acupressure points in the outer ear that can directly stimulate the Auricular branch of the Vagus nerve and here you can see us both practicing Auricular Acupressure.

Auricular therapy includes Acupuncture and Acupressure in the auricle. The ear is innervated by cranial and spinal nerves, which are separated into motor and sensory areas. The motor area includes the facial nerve, which controls the outer ear muscles. The sensory area is composed of Auricular branches of the Vagus nerve1.

The Auricular branch of the Vagus nerve innervates multiple areas of the ear. The three main areas are the Concha, Cymba Concha, and the Inner Tragus. The miraculous Vagus nerve plays an important role in maintaining physiological homeostasis and autonomic self-regulation across multiple systems in the body. Stimulation of the Vagus nerve through auricular Acupressure can provide Vagal regulation impacting both the autonomic and central nervous systems. The measurement of vagal tone in humans has become one index of stress vulnerability2.

In addition to the acupressure points in the ear, there are several Acupressure points like Central Vessel 17 ( CV 17 ),  Yintang ( EX HN3 ), Heart 7, and Pericardium 6 that can be used for calming and self-regulation. Key potent points in the Kidney, Bladder, Spleen, Stomach, Pericardium, and Heart meridians play a vital role in emotional regulation as well as addressing a host of bowel and bladder dysfunctions.

Acupressure is widely considered to be a powerful Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapy and is gaining acceptance within the medical community as part of an Integrative medicine approach. It draws its roots from Acupuncture which is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believed to be over 3000 years old. Acupressure involves the application of pressure to points located along the energy meridians of the body which are connected to the visceral functions of vital organ systems.

Acupressure point map of the earEmerging research shows that these Acupoints are embedded in a three-dimensional fascial network throughout the body and have a high electrical conductivity on the surface of the skin. Histological studies show a high density of A and C afferent fibers at these points. Through a vast network of interstitial connective tissue, these Acupoints connect the peripheral nervous system to the central viscera.

Acupressure is a non-invasive, low-cost, and efficient CAM therapy approach and can be used as an adjunct to traditional rehabilitation interventions. Research shows that tapping on Acupressure points has been used as part of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) as well as for the treatment of urinary incontinence, dysmenorrhea, menstrual issues, constipation, anxiety, and a host of other conditions.  

The course Acupressure for Optimal Pelvic Health is next offered on June 1st -2nd and explores Acupressure as an evidence-based modality for the management of a host of pelvic health conditions and as a self-regulation modality for the management of anxiety, stress, pain, and symptom management. The course covers two patient home exercise programs with specific potent points for Anxiety and for Daily Wellness and introduces Yin Yoga as a complementary practice to Acupressure.

This course is curated and taught by Rachna Mehta PT, DPT, CIMT, PRPC, RYT 200. Rachna has integrated Acupressure as part of her rehabilitation toolbox for several years now bringing holistic healing and wellness to her patients.


  1. Hou PW, Hsu HC, Lin YW, Tang NY, Cheng CY, Hsieh CL. The History, Mechanism, and Clinical Application of Auricular Therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:495684. doi:10.1155/2015/495684
  2. Oleson T. Application of Polyvagal Theory to Auricular Acupuncture. Med Acupunct. 2018;30(3):123-125. doi:10.1089/acu.2018.29085.tol
  3. Monson E, Arney D, Benham B, et al. Beyond Pills: Acupressure Impact on Self-Rated Pain and Anxiety Scores. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(5):517-521.
  1. Au DW, Tsang HW, Ling PP, Leung CH, Ip PK, Cheung WM. Effects of acupressure on anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2015;33(5):353-359. doi:10.1136/acupmed-2014-010720
  1. Son CG. Clinical application of single acupoint (HT7). Integr Med Res. 2019;8(4):227-228.
  2. Kwon CY, Lee B. Acupuncture or Acupressure on Yintang (EX-HN 3) for Anxiety: A Preliminary Review. Med Acupunct. 2018;30(2):73-79.



Rachna Mehta PT, DPT, CIMT, PRPC, RYT 200

Rachna Mehta HeadshotRachna Mehta PT, DPT, CIMT, OCS, PRPC, RYT 200 graduated from Columbia University, New York with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Rachna has been working in outpatient hospital and private practice settings for over 15 years with a dual focus on Orthopedics and Pelvic Health. She was instrumental in starting one of the first Women’s Health Programs in an outpatient orthopedic clinic setting in Mercer County, New Jersey in 2009. She has authored articles on pelvic health for many publications. She is a Certified Integrated Manual Therapist through Great Lakes Seminars, is Board-certified in Orthopedics, is a certified Pelvic Rehab Practitioner, and is also a registered yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance. Rachna has trained in both Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga traditions and brings the essence of Yoga to her clinical practice.

Rachna currently practices in an outpatient setting. The majority of her clinical orthopedic practice has focused on treating musculoskeletal, neurological, pre- and post-operative surgical conditions to name a few. She specializes in working with pelvic health patients who have bowel & bladder issues with high pelvic pain which sparked her interest in Eastern holistic healing traditions and complementary medicine. She has spent many hours training in holistic healing workshops with teachers based worldwide. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and a member of APTA’s Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy.

Rachna also owns TeachPhysio, a PT education and management consulting company. Her course Acupressure for Optimal Pelvic Health brings a unique evidence-based approach and explores complementary medicine as a powerful tool for holistic management of the individual as a whole focusing on the physical, emotional, and energy body.

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