The cutting-edge device, called Modius, promises to speed up metabolism and burn up to 16% of a wearer’s body fat - without changes in either diet or exercise. It does this by stimulating the area of the brain - non-invasively - that controls fat storage.
As a result the user loses weight and increases lean muscle - with the biggest effect on the trunk, it is claimed.
The headset, launched yesterday on pre-order and available for £190 (R3254), has been developed by British neuroscientists based at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).
Its co-inventor Dr Jason McKeown says it reduced his body fat by 44% - although the average is said to be 8% to 10% from initial studies, when worn as advised for 45 minutes a day, for a period of four months.
He explains its impact on the hypothalamus, a region of the brain responsible for regulating how much food we eat.
“Modern diets are not serving us well in terms of maintaining a healthy weight and there is clearly an issue with obesity across the Western world,” he said.
“Weight gain and weight loss are controlled by your brain, which controls your appetite, your hormones, your metabolic rate, how much fat you store and more.
“Modius resolves this issue by stimulating the vestibular nerve and activating the epicentre of it all - your hypothalamus.
“Through advanced technological and neurological research, we’ve discovered the vestibular system has a strong effect over people’s ability to lose and maintain weight.”
What is vestibular stimulation?
Modius uses low-power electrical pulses to stimulate the vestibular nerve, which runs into the brain from just behind the ear.
The stimulation is interpreted by the brain as the body being more physically active, triggering the hypothalamus to reduce fat storage. It does this using several mechanisms - fat-burning, decreasing appetite, and activating metabolic hormones. Its inventors claim that within just one hour the wearer will experience a “significant change” in both their appetite and metabolic hormones, insulin and leptin, and that the device is safe.
By stimulating the brain for 45 minutes a day “Modius can change a person’s overall metabolism and desire for the body to store fat”, they say. TV medic and general practitioner Dr Pixie McKenna says the technology has the potential to help millions of people reach their goals of a leaner, healthier body.
“Vestibular stimulation may be an unfamiliar phrase to most people, but it’s actually science which has been around for a long time,” she said.
“What Modius does is take this science and apply it through the headset to a very, very particular part of the brain. Previously vestibular stimulation has been shown to kick-start metabolism and decrease appetite."
The first such non-invasive device Neurovalens, the company behind the product, tested the device out on users over a 16-week period, for an average of three hours use per week.
The average reduction in central body fat was 8%, with a range of 2% to 16%.“These results align with over 50 years of evidence demonstrating that vestibular stimulation can cause a significant reduction in body fat,” co-inventor Dr Paul McGeoch said. - Daily Mail