I recently read an article ” Hacking the Nervous System” by Gaia Vince. Gaia Vince, said that “activating the vagus nerve, increases its’ tone, and reduces the inflammation and strengthens the immune system through its connection to the parasympathetic nervous system”. If your suffer from digestive problems, high blood pressure, depression, anger, shame or any other inflammatory conditions of the body this is good news.
What is the vagus nerve? The vagus nerve is the longest “the 10th cranial nerve” in the body. The nerve travels down through the neck, passes around the digestive system, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart and lungs. The vagus nerve is the primary parasympathetic nerve branch that governs the body’s digestion and relaxation response, which is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system that governs our fight or flight response. The sympathetic nervous system, specifically when the Reticular Activating System, our “RAS” – gets triggered our body’s gets ready to take action. The body’s Fight of Flight Reflex switches on, floods the body with stress hormones, causing our relaxation response to switch off. This is a good thing, it’s why as a species, has been so successful in surviving on this planet. For example, when we are confronted by a tiger, our frontal cortex and the body’s relaxation responses switches off. All non useful thinking stops and our body responds reflectively to the threat, we take action. If the option exist, we run away or we stand our ground for battle. The problem with our modern society is that we are constantly overloading our body’s with stress. The body can’t tell the difference between one threat or another, being jumped by a tiger, is it an actual threat if it is just a movie, or is an emotional crisis a threat to our survival? The constant overloading of stress hormones is the source of much of illness and even injury that we experience. Left untreated, the mounting stress can lead to a serious decline in health.
Toning the Vagal Nerve
The vagal nerves tone is measured by tracking the heart rate alongside the breathe rate. For instance, inhalation breathe, speeds up the heart beat a bit and slows down at bit when you exhale. When we are physically and emotionally stressed, not only is our breathe rhythm effected, but our heart beat becomes erratic. Breathing meditation tones the vagus nerve, inducing a stronger relaxation response, and empowers your immune system. There are many ways to tone the Vagus Nerve. Practicing Mindful Breathing Meditation brings your heart rhythm into a coherent beat. The stronger your vagus nerve tone, the more your body can relax and recovery faster after being stressed. The stronger vagal tone improves many of the body’s systems, which leads to better blood sugar regulation, reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular problems, lowers blood pressure, improved digestion. Also a stronger vagus nerve is associated with better mood, less anxiety and better stress resilience. Source Ref. “Hacking the Nervous System“, YouTube Video By Gai Vince.
The good news is that you already have the resources to tone your own vagus nerve. You can strengthen your vagal nerve tone with a regular mindful breathing meditation practice:
- Slow rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing by simply becoming aware of your breathing. Mindfully meditate, focusing your consciousness on your own breathing tones your vagal nerve, which in turn synergistically creates a coherent heart beat, that calms and relaxes. Stress has been found to cause erratic heart rhythms, while breathing mindfully causes the heart to move into a harmonic resonance. Not only does meditating on your our breathing brings all your emotions back into balance, it brings your body’s organs and system back into harmonic resonance with it’s coherent heart beat.
- Humming a Song, or Charting “OM” because your vagal nerve is connected to your vocal cords, humming a song or chanting “Om” mechanically stimulates the relaxation response by toning the vagal “10th cranial nerve”.
- Chanting or Singing a Prayer also tones the vagal nerve because of its’ connection to the vocal cords.
- Washing your Face with cold water, stimulates the vagus.
- Chanting Positive Affirmations of loving kindness promotes feelings of goodwill, tones the vagal nerve.
- Probiotics, the presence of healthy bacteria in the gut creates a positive feedback loop, through the’ vagal nerve connection.
- Mindful Meditation, simply being present in silence, being mindfully present in the here and now, improves your overall health, and in particular improves the body’s inflammatory response to illness and injuries by toning your vagal nerve.
- Massage Therapy also helps to tone the vagal nerve immune response.
Playfully explore these meditation methods, find the one that is best suits you. I pray that you find this article helpful, and begin your own mindful breathing meditation practice. Serve Life.
Love, Light and Information.
A Blessing Be
Claude Barrett, LMTI, CST
Location: Garland, TX and Rockwall, TX. Call for and appointment, for the location near you.
Call me today for an appointment: 214 232-5278 Vm or Txt for the best response.
© 2017 QuantumInnerQi -By Claude Barrett, LMTI, CST – All Rights Reserved.