Stimulating the vagus nerve is key to helping to calm our nervous system and manage stress more effectively.
The vagus nerve is our tenth cranial nerve, extending from its origin in the brainstem through the neck and the thorax down to the abdomen, connecting with major bodily organs.
It carries an extensive range of signals from digestive system and organs to the brain and vice versa.
The vagus nerve regulates body temperature, heart rate and functioning, impacts our inflammation within the body and helps the brain get signals when we are full and should stop eating.
For folks with anxiety disorders, PTSD or autonomic disorders, a vagal nerve massage and vagal nerve stimulation may be helpful.
Vagal nerve stimulation:
A clinical treatment where a surgical device is implanted to help stimulate and regulate the vagus nerve. You can learn more about the research being done on it by going to clinicaltrials.gov
Vagal nerve massages:
This is a practice you can do at home to stimulate the vagus nerve, help calm the nervous system and build vagal tone. Essentially the vagus nerve is what helps us detect safety in our environment and with others.
Improving our vagal tone is key to helping us improve our ability to create this sense of safety. For a full video of a vagal nerve massage, click here.
There are a lot of nerve endings for the vagus nerve in the ear, which is where the practice begins. The concha is the inner part of the ear (like a conch shell) and the tragus is the flap of skin right in front of the ear. The main branch goes down behind the jaw bone and down along the large muscle in your neck, down to the throat.
This stimulation of the vagus nerve will help us build vagal tone, which is our ability to effectively respond (not over respond or under respond) to sensory input. Yoga, meditation and biofeedback are all ways to begin to build vagal tone.
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May we all love the life we live...