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How to Stimulate Vagus Nerve Function

How to Stimulate Vagus Nerve Function

vagus nerve disorders and stimulation

vagus nerve disorders and stimulation

On the podcast, I’ve mentioned how the vagus nerve performs a component in anxious gadget well being and will assist with sensory issues. If you aren’t aware of the vagus nerve and what it does within the physique, you’re no longer by myself! More and extra proof in recent times helps us perceive this lesser-known physically gadget and the way it controls irritation, mind and organ serve as, our physique’s belief of tension, and extra.

What Is the Vagus Nerve?

The vagus nerve (often referred to as the 10th cranial nerve) is in fact a collection of nerves (proper vagus nerve and left vagus nerve) that begins on the mind stem. It then meanders in the course of the physique, touching the important organs, and results in the intestine. It in impact connects the brainstem to the intestine and different important organs within the physique. The vagus nerve transmits data between those organs and performs a component within the parasympathetic anxious gadget.

Why Vagal Tone Matters

Vagal tone is basically how wholesome or “toned” the vagus nerve is. The upper the vagal tone, the better it’s to get right into a comfortable state.

Research revealed in Psychological Science in 2013 presentations a good comments loop between prime vagal tone, excellent bodily well being, and excellent emotional well being. Although the researchers admit “the mechanisms underlying the association between positive emotions and physical health remain a mystery,” they did determine a connection between a toned vagal nerve and higher bodily and emotional well being. The opposite could also be true. The higher your bodily and emotional well being, the easier your vagal tone.

What Does the Vagus Nerve Do within the Body?

The vagus nerve is the most important participant in optimum well being, particularly when it comes to coming into a parasympathetic state, or comfortable state. Here are one of the crucial tactics the vagus nerve impacts the physique.

Connects the Brain to the Gut

If you’ve ever had a intestine feeling about one thing, that’s as a result of your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve connects the mind to the intestine and sends data from side to side. This is also known as the gut-brain axis. Your intestine tells your mind data by the use of electrical impulses known as “action potentials.”

Connects the Brain to Other Organs

The vagus nerve additionally connects the mind to different important organs because it makes its means to the intestine. It carries sensory data from the organs to the mind.

The vagus nerve performs the most important function in controlling the center charge. The vagus nerve stimulates the discharge of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which reduces middle charge. An building up in middle charges calls for inhibition of vagus nerve stimulation (this means that no acetylcholine free up). Doctors can plot your middle charge variability (HRV) and uncover so much in regards to the well being of your middle and vagus nerve. If your HRV is prime, your vagal tone is prime.

The vagus nerve additionally performs a component in lung serve as. Acetylcholine that the vagus nerve stimulates to free up could also be liable for telling the lungs to breathe.

Controls the Parasympathetic Nervous System

The parasympathetic anxious gadget is the “rest and digest” side of the anxious gadget (by contrast to the struggle or flight mechanism of the sympathetic anxious gadget). As discussed, the vagus nerve stimulates the discharge of acetylcholine to scale back the center charge (in rest). So the vagus nerve performs the most important function in activating rest and restoration.

Stimulates Digestive Tract

The vagus nerve is liable for stimulating digestion. It does this even ahead of consuming any meals. It sends indicators to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to start generating gastric juices to get ready for digestion. If the vagus nerve isn’t optimum, digestion isn’t optimum.

Stimulates Memory Making

A University of Virginia learn about discovered that vagus nerve stimulation can assist solidify recollections by means of stimulating the discharge of norepinephrine. This will also be massive for other folks affected by reminiscence problems or the ones with Alzheimer’s illness.

Prevents Chronic Inflammation

One of essentially the most wonderful purposes of the vagus nerve is that it may save you irritation. Chronic irritation is implicated in lots of fashionable diseases from most cancers to middle illness. According to an editorial revealed in Molecular Medicine, when the vagus nerve senses irritation (by means of the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokine, for instance) it stimulates the discharge of anti inflammatory neurotransmitters to keep an eye on the immune gadget.

Additionally, a 2016 learn about discovered that vagus nerve stimulation helped scale back signs of rheumatoid arthritis, an sickness with out a remedy.

Natural Ways to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve

It’s transparent that vagus nerve stimulation is necessary for optimum well being. There is an FDA regulated software that you’ll have implanted within the physique. It sends electric impulses to stimulate the vagus nerve. But there are alternative ways of stimulating the vagus nerve with out surgical procedure, units, or uncomfortable side effects.

Cold Therapy

Cold treatment has many advantages from quicker restoration from workout to progressed immune serve as. Acute chilly publicity additionally turns on the vagus nerve and cholinergic neurons and nitrergic neurons thru vagus nerve pathways, in accordance to a 2001 learn about. This way chilly publicity too can building up parasympathetic process in the course of the vagus nerve, decreasing the sympathetic (struggle or flight) reaction.

Deep Breathing

It’s well known that deep, sluggish respiring can assist induce rest. As discussed previous, vagal stimulation could cause rest however the reverse could also be true. Relaxation can stimulate the vagal nerve. So inducing rest thru deep respiring can assist give a boost to vagal tone. This will then make it more uncomplicated to get right into a comfortable state someday!

Singing, Humming, Gargling

Singing and buzzing could also be enjoyable on their very own, however there’s a physiological explanation why for it. The vagus nerve is connected to the vocal cords. Research revealed in Frontiers in Psychology presentations that making a song, buzzing, or even gargling can assist turn on it. Chewing additionally stimulates vagus nerve process (and the parasympathetic gadget that turns on digestion, which is smart!). This way chewing gum, whilst it’s going to have its downsides, additionally stimulates the vagus nerve.

Intermittent Fasting

I’ve mentioned intermittent fasting and the way it may be advisable to your well being. Intermittent fasting can give a boost to mitochondrial and cognitive serve as. It may additionally give a boost to metabolism and scale back the danger of middle illness and most cancers.

But it seems those well being advantages could also be connected to intermittent fasting’s skill to stimulate the vagus nerve and give a boost to vagal tone. A 2003 learn about discovered that fasting is a physiological activator of the vagus nerve.

Wave Vibration

Wave vibration has been closely studied by means of the clinical group for its well being advantages. This treatment comes to status on an oscillating plate that produces low-level vibrations. These vibrations then create certain tension all the way through the physique (like the type of tension created by means of workout). This tension turns on the vagal nerve amongst different portions of the physique.


Probiotics are the most important a part of the vitamin and are advisable for plenty of illnesses from digestive issues to pores and skin problems. It seems, probiotics can also be useful in stimulating the vagus nerve. Researchers of a 2011 learn about discovered that giving mice Lactobacillus Rhamnosus higher their GABA manufacturing and lowered tension in addition to melancholy and anxiety-related conduct.

Interestingly, the ones given the probiotics who didn’t have a vagus nerve (it was once got rid of) didn’t see the similar effects. This means that the enhanced tension resilience had one thing to do with activation of the vagus nerve.

Healthy Fats and Omega-3s

A 2011 learn about revealed in Frontiers of Psychology found out that top fish intake is related to a anxious gadget this is predominantly parasympathetic (comfortable) and enhanced vagal process. Researchers surmised that the omega-Three content material of the fish was once the cause of this. This is one explanation why I take an omega-Three complement day by day.


Exercise is the most important a part of a wholesome way of life. But it appears to be like adore it can also be useful in stimulating the vagus nerve. This might be the explanation that workout is helping us to loosen up. One 2010 learn about discovered that gentle workout stimulated gastric emptying and progressed digestion. They found out that this took place as a result of vagal stimulation.


Research means that therapeutic massage will also be advisable in stimulating the vagus nerve. In one 2012 learn about untimely babies who have been massaged had better weight acquire due to vagal process. This is one explanation why we strive to use various therapeutic massage tactics and equipment at house.

Foot reflexology too can assist give a boost to vagal tone. According to a learn about revealed in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, foot reflexology higher vagal modulation, lowered sympathetic modulation, and reduced blood force.

Laughter and Social Enjoyment

We already know that laughter and being round family and friends is an effective way to loosen up. But a 2013 learn about stumbled upon a fascinating discovering: there’s a connection between bodily well being emotional well being and social enjoyment. Positive social interactions affect certain feelings, which give a boost to vagal tone. This then progressed bodily well being.

The learn about concluded that “positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic.” The learn about additionally discovered that common meditation and certain confirmation may just get other folks into this upward spiral.


The historical Chinese drugs remedy of acupuncture could also be advisable in stimulating the vagus nerve. Research presentations that ear acupuncture can get advantages the next:

  • cardiovascular law
  • respiration law
  • gastrointestinal tract law

Also, foot reflexology can lower blood force by means of modulating the vagus nerve, in accordance to a 2012 learn about.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation: It’s Good for Health!

The vagus nerve has gotten numerous consideration in recent times for all of the wonderful issues it may do for well being. As extra science explains the mechanisms of the mind-body connection, strategies like this develop into rather less “woo” and much more mainstream.

It’s quite simple and simple to stimulate the vagus nerve and get those advantages, making vagus nerve stimulation an out there (and low cost) means to give a boost to general bodily and emotional well being. I’ve been attempting to paintings extra of those tactics into my day by day regimen. (The children particularly love after I stroll round gargling!)

Bottom line, I’m keen to glance a bit silly if it way educating my children a couple of lesser-known physically gadget (the vestibular gadget is every other one we’re running on) and the way to deal with it.

Have you heard of the vagus nerve ahead of? Do you employ any of those strategies, or others? I’d love to pay attention!

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