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  • Writer's pictureJess

Have you exercised your Vagus Nerve today?

In the intricate network of the human body, there's a hidden gem often overlooked but immensely powerful in maintaining our overall well-being: the vagus nerve. Named after the Latin word for "wandering," this nerve indeed roams extensively throughout our body, influencing various functions from digestion to heart rate, and even mood regulation. Understanding and exercising this nerve can be a game-changer in managing stress, anxiety, and overall health.

But what is the Vagus Nerve?

The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body, stretching from the brainstem down to the abdomen, connecting various organs along the way. It's often referred to as the body's "information highway," transmitting signals between the brain and vital organs like the heart, lungs, and digestive system. This bidirectional communication plays a crucial role in regulating the body's response to stress and maintaining homeostasis.

Why should you care about exercising your Vagus Nerve?

A well-toned vagus nerve is essential for optimal health. When activated, it triggers the relaxation response, promoting a sense of calm and well-being. On the contrary, a poorly functioning vagus nerve can lead to increased stress, inflammation, and a host of health issues.

By incorporating exercises that stimulate the vagus nerve, you can enhance its function and reap numerous benefits, including:

  1. Stress Reduction: Activating the vagus nerve helps dampen the body's stress response, leading to decreased levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.

  2. Improved Digestion: The vagus nerve plays a vital role in regulating digestion, promoting optimal nutrient absorption and gut motility.

  3. Enhanced Mood: By influencing neurotransmitter activity, particularly serotonin and dopamine, vagus nerve stimulation can elevate mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  4. Better Heart Health: Vagus nerve stimulation has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Exercises to Activate the Vagus Nerve

Now that we understand the significance of the vagus nerve, let's explore some simple yet effective exercises to stimulate its function:

  1. Deep Breathing: Engage in slow, diaphragmatic breathing, focusing on fully expanding your belly with each inhale and gently exhaling. This technique stimulates the relaxation response and activates the vagus nerve. - To try a guided breathwork experience, check out this event!

  2. Meditation and Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness meditation, concentrating on your breath or engaging in body scan exercises. This promotes vagal tone and cultivates a sense of inner peace. To try a guided meditation, check out this event!

  3. Yoga: Certain yoga poses, such as gentle backbends, forward folds, and inversions, can activate the vagus nerve by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. To try restorative yoga, check out this event!

  4. Cold Exposure: Brief exposure to cold water, such as cold showers or immersing your face in cold water, can activate the vagus nerve's "diving reflex," leading to a calming effect on the body.

  5. Singing and Chanting: Vocal exercises like singing, chanting, or humming stimulate the muscles of the throat and activate the vagus nerve.

  6. Laughter: Engage in activities that induce genuine laughter, as laughter stimulates the vagus nerve and promotes relaxation.

  7. Intermittent Fasting: Periodic fasting has been shown to enhance vagal tone and improve overall vagus nerve function.

  8. Binaural Beats: Your left and right brain can begin to connect and cross-communicate harmoniously by using binaural frequencies.  The binaural beats stimulate the vagus nerve with the ultimate goal of helping carry you into a state of deep relaxation, necessary for a healthier body and longer life.

In my experience, incorporating vagal nerve exercises into my daily routine has 100% positively improved my overall well-being and resilience to stress. I have found that by nurturing this vital nerve, I could support myself in a new way. I felt as though I was able to regain control of my reaction and responses to stimuli which in turn allowed me to begin to truly heal.

Happy Healing,



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