Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Daily OM Stimulate the Vagus Nerve

Many of my patients ask about the Vagus Nerve, I thought this article from Daily Om may be very helpful, to encourage people to meditate and see the advantages.

4 Meditations to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve

You can use meditation to stimulate one of the body’s most important nerves — the vagus nerve — which not only allows you to build mindfulness but can create resilience for stressful times.

Of all the nerves that connect your brain to the rest of your body, the vagus nerve is arguably one of the most important. Not only is the vagus integral for allowing the body to complete important functions like digestion, speech, and heart rate, but it’s also integrated into the parasympathetic part of the nervous system, where it plays a role in regulating the body’s response to stress.

Given what we know about the relationship between stress and meditation — namely that mindfulness practices can reduce anxiety and depression — it makes sense that meditating in order to stimulate the vagus nerve can be mentally healing.

Learn what the experts have to say about why meditation can help regulate your nervous system, then try a meditation technique specifically aimed at stimulating the vagus nerve.

What Is the Vagus Nerve?

The vagus nerve is an essential part of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, which is the branch that’s not under conscious control. This network of nerves relaxes the body in response to danger or stress and is associated with the “rest and digest” responses, as well as involuntary body responses like breathing, swallowing, and digestion.

The vagus begins in the brain, then extends downward into the lungs, heart, intestines, and into several muscles. When the vagus is stimulated, most typically via deep breathing, a person’s heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure all decrease, producing a calming effect in the body.

The activity of the vagus nerve is referred to as “vagal tone,” and that is associated with the body’s ability to regulate stress responses and adapt to challenges. Someone with low vagal tone, for instance, is typically highly reactive and experiences poor emotional regulation. Stimulating the vagus nerve through deep breathing, humming, or doing yoga can improve vagal tone, research shows, increasing a person’s resilience and lessening symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Holistic Vagus Nerve Stretches for Immediate Relie

Does Meditation Help the Vagus Nerve?

Because the vagus nerve is a part of your parasympathetic nervous system, it can be aggravated and settled by your breath, explains intuitive holistic healer and meditation teacher Sheel Bhuta. “Meditation can help us reprogram the way we respond to external circumstances and reset our whole body to a more calmed pace,” she tells DailyOM. “Meditation allows us to return back to a normal, healthy function and respond to the world with clarity as opposed to fear.”

Bringing yourself into a state where you engage the vagus helps you be able to return to that resting place of mental calm and clarity.

Practicing meditations specifically aimed at the vagus nerve can build mental resilience, says Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, LCSW, an eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapist who uses vagus nerve work in her practice. “The more you engage your vagus nerve, the easier it is to get into a relaxed or calm state, especially if you’re stressed,” she tells DailyOM. “Meditation engages our vagus nerve because it brings us back to the ‘rest and digest’ stage of our nervous system.”

Ultimately, taking time to stimulate the vagus nerve, Juliano-Villani explains, helps people feel grounded, present, and connected to themselves. If you’re looking for a way to reset your nervous system that’s more active, you can stimulate the vagus by tapping, gentle massage, and exercise.

4 Vagus Nerve Meditations to Promote Relaxation

Bringing yourself into a state where you engage the vagus helps you be able to return to that resting place of mental calm and clarity. This can be especially helpful at bedtime when vagus nerve meditations for sleep can calm anxiety and restlessness.

The following four meditations can be done whenever you need to find peace or as part of a dedicated daily practice. All promote relaxation and encourage deep breathing, which is the hallmark of vagus nerve stimulation. In other words, they’re all helpful for vagus nerve stimulation, so choose the one that speaks to you.

1. Diaphragmatic breathing

Juliano-Villani suggests stimulating the vagus with diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale through the nose for four seconds, hold your breath for two seconds, and then exhale slowly through the mouth for six seconds. “The vagus nerve actually goes behind the diaphragm, so diaphragmatic breathing touches the vagus nerve, thus stimulating it and bringing you to a more calm state of mind,” she says.

If you’re feeling particularly stressed, she suggests doing this breathing to music or within a guided meditation, which can help you drop into the practice more quickly and keep you from getting easily distracted.

2. Breath visualization

Another breath-based meditation for the vagus is to meditate while visualizing your breath moving through your body. Bhuta suggests picturing your breath traveling from the bottom of your spine to the top of your crown with every inhale. Hold your breath for a few seconds while squeezing your pelvic floor, then visualize your breath moving from the top of your crown to the bottom of your legs on your exhale and again holding your breath for a few seconds while squeezing your pelvic floor. Repeat this for a few breaths to help you find your center.

3. Body scan meditation

If you have more time, you can also stimulate your vagus nerve with a full body scan meditation, suggests psychiatrist Sam Zand, DO, chief medical officer at Better U. First, lie down and close your eyes. Starting at the top of your head, scan down through your body, paying attention to any areas of discomfort. As you scan, take deep breaths and imagine that you are sending relaxing energy to each part of your body. “As you reach the end of the scan, imagine that you are stimulating the vagus nerve and promoting relaxation throughout your body,” he tells DailyOM.

The mind is powerful and this visualization will release tension and stress from the body.

4. Vibrational meditations

Humming and singing are common ways to stimulate the vagus nerve through aural vibration. You might consider simply chanting “om” or a longer mantra like “om mani padme hum” while meditating, Bhuta suggests. You could also try engaging in ujjayi breath (sometimes called Darth Vader breath) by making a sound with your breath deep in your throat. This is the breath commonly done in yoga, which is another good practice for stimulating the vagus through breathing and movement.

Bhramari pranayama, or buzzing breath, is another option for creating a vibration while you breathe. Place four fingers over your eyes and close your ears with your thumbs. Take a big inhale through your nose, close your eyes, and exhale with your lips closed to make a humming sound.

“Breathing with sounds helps create a tingling and buzzing sensation in your brain and it also helps override and drown out the thoughts and stress, which will automatically relax the body,” Bhuta explains.

Whatever meditation you choose, your practice will help you stay regulated and even-keeled for whatever comes your way. “Most people today live in a constant state of fight-or-flight mode and live off adrenaline,” Bhuta says. “Remaining at this pace will lead to everything your vagal nerves control being in a state of disarray.” Taking the time to slow down and bring your body into that resting state periodically helps keep your nervous system calm.

By Natasha Burton of Daily Om

Natasha Burton is a freelance writer and author of several books, including What’s My Type?: 100+ Quizzes to Help You Find Yourself ― and Your Match! and 101 Quizzes for Couples.

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Meditation to stimulate Vagus nerve
Meditation to stimulate Vagus nerve

Acupuncture Treatment

Mediatation and Traditional Five Element Acupuncture both help treat your vagus nerve and nervous system. For infornmation and treatment contact Hannah on ;

Benefits of stimulating your vagus nerve

Your vagus nerve affeccts your mentaland physical health in a variety of ways. By either using Vagus Nerve Stimulation or a noninvasive way to stimulate your vagus nerve, it may help with the following:

  • Minimize seizures in those with epilepsy
  • Treat depression.
  • Regulate your emotions.
  • Reduce blood pressure.
  • Lower your heart rate.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Treat migraines and cluster headaches.

Your vagus nerve plays a powerful role in your body. Keeping your vagus nerve strong and balanced can help you respond more effectively to a variety of emotional and physiological symptoms.

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