Published on October 12th, 2020 | by Catherine Tingey0
Stress and The Vagus Nerve
Stress and the Vagus Nerve
What if I told you there was a feel-good switch in the body, just waiting to be activated?
I’ve said this before with regards to meditation, but vagus nerve stimulation is even easier.
If you’ve never heard of the vagus nerve, please sit down because it’s soooo fascinating.
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the autonomic nervous system (the sciatic nerve is the longest in the body).
As the communication super highway of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest), the vagus nerve connects brain to gut – it actually runs from the brain stem to the colon.
Having a high vagal tone, via stimulating the vagus nerve, is correlated to lowered blood pressure and heart rate, improved digestion, and resiliency to stress.
An improvement in these bodily functions contribute to a heightened sense of well being.
The vagus nerve is part of the adaptogenic center of the body.
Adaptogenic means your bodies ability to recover after being exposed to stress. Having high vagal tone means a strong adaptogenic response.
The same reason we might consume adaptogenic herbs like gingeng, astralagus, ashwaganda, tulsi, or rhodiola, get curious about your vagus nerve to boost your ability to return quickly to homeostasis.
Vagal tone can be measured by tracking your heartrate, breathing rate and HRV (heart rate variability).
How to stimulate your vagus nerve
There are a variety of ways the vagus nerve can be stimulated. Many of them are surprisingly simple!
Shower singer? Like to hum while you’re alone at home? You’re stimulating your vagus nerve as the vagus nerve is connected to the vocal cords.
Using your voice through socializing and laughing is also stimulating to the vagus nerve. However, if you find yourself frequently holding back your voice or opinions in social situations, check out my article about the Throat Chakra for tips on activating this self-expression center.
The vagus nerve can also be lightly massaged – learn how to massage your vagus nerve here.
As we enter Winter this election year, gather your tools of healthy eating, supplementation and mind-body techniques for optimal health.
P.S. Want to read more?
These are some great articles with embedded video exercises one can do.
This blog provides general information and discussion about yoga, wellness, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.