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The Science Of Vagus Nerve Stimulation And How It Can Improve Your Life

Vagus nerve stimulation device –  If you’re beginning to explore the vagal nerve and what vagus nerve stimulation can do, you’re in the right place! Today, we’re going to tell you everything you want to know about vagus nerve stimulation, including its science and how it can improve your life. So many people have yet to explore vagus nerve stimulation and all the amazing benefits it can have. Still, once they do, they quickly see why vagus nerve stimulation is becoming more and more popular.

The Science of the Vagus Nerve

Let’s start with the vagus nerve itself. This is the longest cranial nerve in the body and serves several important functions, including regulating heart rate and controlling digestion. It extends from the brainstem all the way down to the abdomen, targeting almost all of the body’s major systems on the way.

Heart Rate

The vagus nerve plays an interesting role in controlling our heart rate/heart rhythm. As the vagus nerve is stimulated, it releases acetylcholine which causes a decrease in heart rate. This slowing of the heart is known as vagal tone and can be beneficial for those suffering from an irregular or rapid heartbeat.

As this report explains:

“The vagus fibers are preganglionic; they make synapses with parasympathetic neurons within the heart. These ganglionic fibers send short postganglionic fibers to the nodal and muscle tissue. These terminals release acetylcholine, the main neurotransmitter for postganglionic parasympathetic nerves.”

Digestion

The vagus nerve also has important implications for our digestive health. Stimulating this nerve can help stimulate the release of digestive juices, reducing bloating and discomfort after eating. Additionally, vagal stimulation may improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

When the vagus nerve lacks tone or is dysfunctioning, a number of digestive issues may follow. For example, you may experience acid reflux, poor gastric emptying, and a weak appetite, and gastroparesis.

Cleveland Clinic explains:

“Gastroparesis is caused by nerve injury, including damage to your vagus nerve. In its normal state, the vagus nerve contracts (tightens) your stomach muscles to help move food through your digestive tract. In cases of gastroparesis, diabetes damages your vagus nerve. This prevents the muscles of your stomach and intestine from working properly, which keeps food from moving from your stomach to your intestines.”

Mood and Emotion

Stimulating the vagus nerve can also have positive effects on mood and emotion. For example, studies have shown that increasing vagal tone can reduce stress levels, increase relaxation, and even boost self-esteem and overall well-being.

Pain and Inflammation

Another area where vagus nerve stimulation can be beneficial is pain management and inflammation. This is due to the vagus nerve’s ability to regulate inflammation-causing cytokines. In studies, vagal stimulation has been shown to reduce levels of these cytokines and thus help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Devices

Now that we’ve discussed the science behind vagal nerve stimulation, let’s look at how you can use vagus nerve stimulation devices. These devices are designed to stimulate the vagus nerve through electrical pulses. The vagus nerve stimulators may be worn on the body or used externally and come in various settings, depending on your needs.

Using a vagus nerve stimulator can provide many of the same benefits as manual vagal stimulation, such as improved digestion, reduced stress levels and pain, and improved mood.

One well-known option is Xen by Neuvana. This vagus nerve stimulation device targets the vagus nerve through the ear with special headphones. Users can control their VNS sessions from the dedicated Neuvana app and choose their length, intensity, and other variables.

Surgical VNS

In some cases, more invasive measures are necessary to achieve vagal stimulation. These cases may include severe depression or certain seizure disorders. Surgical vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) involves implanting an electrical device under the skin that stimulates the vagus nerve. This procedure is usually performed alongside medical treatments and has been found to be effective in treating seizures, depression, and other neurological conditions.

Alternative Vagus Nerve Stimulation Methods

Surgical VNS or vagus nerve stimulation are two effective options for stimulating this particular nerve. There are also other vagus nerve stimulation methods that we’ll tell you about next.

Vagus Nerve Exercises

Vagus nerve exercises involve specific movements or activities that can stimulate vagal activity. Examples of vagus nerve exercises include yoga, deep breathing, humming, gargling, and singing.

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are two other options for stimulating the vagus nerve. These practices involve focusing on your breath and allowing yourself to become aware of your body’s sensations. This type of mindful practice has been shown to help reduce stress levels and improve vagal tone.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises are another vagus nerve stimulation method. These exercises involve taking slow, deep breaths and allowing the breath to fill your lungs from your abdomen up to your chest. This type of breathing can help induce a state of relaxation, which can relax the vagus nerve and thus improve vagal tone.

Humming

Humming is another simple technique that has been found to be effective in stimulating vagal activity. The vibrations produced by humming can stimulate the vagus nerve and help reduce stress levels while improving vagal tone.

Gargling

Gargling with warm salt water is a form of vagal stimulation that involves stimulating the vagus nerve through sound waves generated when gargling. This practice has been found to improve vagal tone and reduce stress levels.

Singing

Finally, singing has also been found to help stimulate the vagus nerve. Singing activates both the vagus and facial nerves, which can help relax your body and mind while improving vagal tone.

Overall, it is a powerful tool that can be used to improve overall health and wellbeing. Whether you choose to use a vagus nerve stimulator device or one of the alternative methods discussed here, vagal stimulation could be the key to unlocking better mental health, physical wellbeing, and overall life satisfaction. With so many options available for stimulating this important nerve, it’s worth exploring what works best for you.

 

 

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