Did you know that strengthening your vagal tone can help you recover from an accumulation of stress? Not only that, you can be more content, and improve resiliency for future challenges.
But what does the vagal nerve do that is so important to our nervous system? Well, it happens to be a key component of what helps our entire nervous system define if we are okay to feel safe or if we are in danger.
By hacking our nervous system with physical and mental choices, we can train it to make this key component not only stronger but to play in our favor to improve our responses and how we handle stressful situations.
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 the 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.
Vagus Nerve Massage:
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 vagus nerve massage, click here.
There are a lot of nerve endings for the vagus nerve in the ear, which is where the practice begins. This introduction to Vagus Nerve Massage is a general ear massage practice that can be a helpful foundation to beginning to stimulate the vagus nerve in this way.
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...