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A sensation of spinning can happen from the “vestibular system” in the inner ear. This is an amazingly tiny system of three circular canals that have fluid in them. As the fluid moves, a signal is sent to the brain that the body is moving.

This tiny sensory apparatus is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity and effectiveness! There are three little tubes in a circle that are oriented in three different directions. One is up-down, another is side-to-side, and the third is front-back.

Thus, any direction you move will cause the fluid inside the tubes to move. The fluid then moves a cluster of little sand crystals that push against hairs attached to nerve fibers that send a signal to the brain: “We’re moving in this direction!”


There are many different sized hairs in each – longer hairs trigger easier, while shorter hairs require more pressure. Thus, we can know if there is a little movement, or a lot. Moreover, the combination of impulses from the three canals can indicate any direction.

However, when the tiny amount of <strong>fluid in these canals</strong> changes and you are not moving, your brain still registers motion. When it happens in only one canal, it is usually a feeling of spinning. This is vertigo.


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