6 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve and Relieve Inflammation
Let me start this story off with telling you what the Vagus Nerve is.
Maybe some of you haven’t met it so far, but this is the longest nerve in your body that originates in the brain as cranial nerve ten, spreads down from your neck through the digestive system, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart, and lungs.
The nerve is a big player in the parasympathetic nervous system.
It’s the tone of this nerve and the key to activating the parasympathetic nervous system. The tone is measured by tracking your heart rate along with your breathing rate.
As you know, your heart-rate speeds up every time you breathe in and slows down when you breathe out. The speeding up and down is not significant.
From here, the greater the difference between your inhalation heart-rate and your exhalation heart rate is, the higher your vagal tone is.
Higher vagal tone means that your body can relax and relieve stress faster.
Higher Vagal Tone
The higher vagal tone of the Vagus nerve means improving the function of many systems in your body. It causes better blood sugar regulation, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
On top of that, it lowers hypertension, improves digestion through a better production of stomach basics and digestive enzymes.
The Higher vagal tone is associated with better mood, stress resilience and less anxiety.
What’s interesting to me about the Vagus nerve is that it mostly reads the gut microbiome and “forces” response to modulate inflammation whether it detects pathogenic or non-pathogenic organisms.
Like this, the gut microbiome affects your stress levels, mood, and overall inflammation.
Low Vagal Tone is Associated With:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Cognitive Impairment
- Higher Rates of Inflammatory Conditions including all autoimmune diseases
How to Increase Vagal Tone for Stimulating Your Vagus Nerve?
- Slow, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing
Breathing from your diaphragm rather than with your lungs stimulates and tones the Vagus nerve.
The Vagus nerve connects with your vocal cords. The humming will stimulate it mechanically. Hum a song or repeat the sound “OM.”
The same thing goes with speaking. The vagal tone is connected with the vocal cords, and it helps by stimulating it.
- Washing your face with cold water
The connection is still not discovered, but cold water helps your Vagus nerve.
According to a study by Barbara Fredrickon and Bethany Kik, if you increase your positive emotions you are going to be able to increase the social closeness and improve the vagal tone.
- Balancing the Gut Microbiome
The presence of a healthy bacteria in your gut will create a positive feedback through the Vagus nerve.