12 Ways to Unlock the Powers of the Vagus Nerve

Those of us who were traumatized by a harsh birthing system and/or circumcision might benefit from tuning up the vagus nerve. Even just to gently massage in front of the ear or to sing and hum can be helpful. This planet, at this time in history, is not all that conducive to relaxation – and that is what the vagus nerve prefers – relaxation, peace of mind.

The vagus nerve is the most important nerve you probably didn’t know you had…

Vagus nerve dysfunction can result in a whole host of problems including obesity, bradycardia (abnormally slow heartbeat), difficulty swallowing, gastrointestinal diseases, fainting, mood disorders, B12 deficiency, chronic inflammation, impaired cough, and seizures.

Meanwhile, the vagus nerve stimulation has been shown to improve conditions such as:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Heart disease
  • Tinnitus
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Migraines
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Leaky gut
  • Bad blood circulation
  • Mood disorder
  • Cancer
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), is used to treat epilepsy, depression and arthritis.

12 Vagus Nerve Stimulation Techniques

The vagus nerve doesn’t need to be shocked into shape. It can also be toned and strengthened similar to a muscle. Here are some simple things you can do that might improve your health markedly:

1. Positive Social Relationships – A study had participants think compassionately about others while silently repeating positive phrases about friends and family. Compared to the controls, the meditators showed an overall increase in positive emotions like serenity, joy, and hope after completing the class. These positive thoughts of others led to an improvement in vagal function as seen in heart-rate variability. The results also showed a more toned vagus nerve than when simply meditating.

2. Cold – “Cold exposure such as cold showers or face dunking stimulates the nerve as well,” says Mentore.

Studies show that when your body adjusts to cold, your fight or flight (sympathetic) system declines and your rest and digest (parasympathetic) system increases–and this is mediated by the vagus nerve. Any kind of acute cold exposure including drinking ice cold water will increase vagus nerve activation.

3. Gargling – Another home remedy for an under-stimulated vagus nerve is to gargle with water. Gargling actually stimulates the muscles of the pallet which are fired by the vagus nerve.

“Typically patients will tear up a bit which is a good sign and if they don’t, we recommend that they do it regularly every day until they notice that they do start tearing up a bit,” says Hoffman. “This has been shown to immediately improve working memory performance.”

4. Singing And Chanting – Humming, mantra chanting, hymn singing, and upbeat energetic singing all increase heart rate variability (HRV) in slightly different ways. Essentially, singing is like initiating a vagal pump sending out relaxing waves. Singing at the top of your lungs works the muscles in the back of the throat to activate the vagus. Singing in unison, which is often done in churches and synagogues, also increases HRV and vagus function. Singing has been found to increase oxytocin, also known as the love hormone because it makes people feel closer to one another.

Compassion meditation has been shown to result in a more toned vagus nerve.

5. Massage – You can stimulate your vagus nerve by massaging your feet and your neck along the carotid sinus, located along the carotid arteries on either side of your neck. A neck massage can help reduce seizures. A foot massage help can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. A pressure massage can also activate the vagus nerve. These massages are used to help infants gain weight by stimulating gut function, largely mediated by activating the vagus nerve.

6. Laughter – Happiness and laughter are natural immune boosters. Laughter also stimulates the vagus nerve. Research shows how laughter increases HRV in a group environment.

There are various case reports of people fainting from laughter and this may be from the vagus nerve/parasympathetic system being stimulated too much. Fainting can come after laughter as well as urination, coughing, swallowing or bowel movement—all of which are helped along by vagus activation.

7. Yoga And Tai Chi — Both increase vagus nerve activity and your parasympathetic system in general. Studies have shown that yoga increases GABA, a calming neurotransmitter in your brain. Researchers believe it does this by “stimulating vagal afferents (fibers),” which increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. This is especially helpful for those who struggle with anxiety or depression.

Studies show that tai chi also can ‘enhance vagal modulation.’

8. Breathing Deeply And Slowly — Your heart and neck contain neurons that have receptors called baroreceptors, which detect blood pressure and transmit the neuronal signal to your brain. This activates your vagus nerve that connects to your heart to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Slow breathing, with a roughly equal amount of time breathing in and out, increases the sensitivity of baroreceptors and vagal activation. Breathing around 5-6 breaths per minute in the average adult can be very helpful.

9. Exercise – Exercise increases your brain’s growth hormone, supports your brain’s mitochondria, and helps reverse cognitive decline. But it’s also been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve, which leads to beneficial brain and mental health effects. Mild exercise also stimulates gut flow, which is mediated by the vagus nerve.

Laughter is a natural immune boosterLaughter stimulates the vagus nerve and increases HRV in a group environment.

10. Coffee Enemas — Enemas are like sprints for your vagus nerve. Expanding the bowel increases vagus nerve activation, as is done with enemas. This cleansing is accomplished by increasing the liver’s capacity to detoxify toxins in the blood and binding them to the bile. In the process, the liver cleanses itself as it releases the toxic bile into the small, then large, intestine for evacuation. The entire blood supply circulates through the liver every three minutes. By retaining the coffee 12 to 15 minutes, the blood will circulate four to five times for cleansing, much like a dialysis treatment. The water content of the coffee stimulates intestinal peristalsis and helps to empty the large intestine with the accumulated toxic bile.

11. Nervana — This wearable product sends a gentle electrical wave through the left ear canal to stimulate the body’s vagus nerve, while syncing with music, which in turn stimulates the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that generate a calming sensation throughout the body.

12. Relax – Learning how to chill may be the No. 1 thing to help keep your vagus nerve toned. According to Hoffman, most relaxing activities will stimulate the vagus nerve.

Ultimately, this is where the most profoundly felt impacts can be found. Reading a book, listening to music, watching children play–whatever it is, my advice is to seek relaxation and make time in your life for it. ~ Dr Justin Hoffman

Read more and try the sugestions at https://upliftconnect.com/12-ways-unlock-powers-vagus-nerve/#comment-37062

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