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Preparing TENS Leads to Use in Vagus Nerve Stimulation of Ear 2015-06-16


Well-Known Member
Which brands tens device and ear clips are you using? Having trouble figuring out what's compatible with what
I bought my TENS machine and ear clips from - but it doesn't look as though they do the one I bought anymore.

I think any TENS machine will do provided you can set the pulse rate (Hz) and the pulse width (microseconds); and be able to set a continuous mode. Here's a picture of the controls to look for, although you can get digital ones too.

A TENS machine will come with leads, and the ear clips I bought seem to fit with any standard TENS machine like the one in the picture. I think you can buy pairs of ear clips from Amazon as bodyclock only sell them in packs of 10. Here's an example


Well-Known Member
In slightly strange news, I found out that gently massaging the tragus on your ear with your fingers is actually kind of relaxing. It is a strange place to massage for sure but I figure it is something that I can easily do while lying in bed.

So, I figured that I'd pass the information on to people to give a try if they are broke like me right now and can't buy a machine. :)


New Member
Does anyone happen to know where to purchase TENS electrodes that use a carbon fiber lead wire rather than than a metal one (in the US)? The ones that came with my inTENSity Micro Combo have metal wiring and are quite uncomfortable (can't get over 1mA without discomfort). Alternately, is there a way to tell prior to purchasing which ones use carbon fiber? Thanks in advance.


New Member
I found a cool video tutorial-study on how to do taVNS as a researcher! It gives insight to important details that were not discussed on forums!

Specifically, This bit is interesting
Connect electrode cables to the stimulation device while the device is turned off and verify the polarity of the electrodes (red/positive electrode: anode, black/negative electrode: cathode). This is an important detail as targeting is polarity specific — the anode (red/positive terminal) is the electrode placed inside the ear canal and targeting the anterior wall of the outer ear canal. The cathode (black/negative terminal) sits on the outside of the ear attached to the tragus. For sham stimulation, the anode is placed on the anterior side of the ear.
And indeed, the lead wires for TENS unit have "+" and "-" singes for anode (red wire) and cathode (black wire) accordingly.
So make sure the red wire goes inside the ear where the tragus is, the other way around gives a shad stimulation (passive)!

I added the video, paper & all resources as an archive to Google Drive in case the tutorial gets taken down.


New Member
Does anyone happen to know where to purchase TENS electrodes that use a carbon fiber lead wire rather than than a metal one (in the US)?
This one is comfortable for up to 4 mA (depending on μs). I am using both wires on one clip.

This chart shows the effect on perceptual threshold depending on μs, so you can lower or increase μs if, for example, 2mA is too little and 3mA is too strong stimulation.

Also, use salty water to unsure good conductivity with skin

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