What is the Vagus Nerve?
The body has 12 cranial nerves, these come in pairs that link up to the brain and many other areas of the body such as the torso, head and neck.
The Vagus Nerve actually runs from the brain through the face and all the way down to the abdomen. The nerve is made up of two sensory ganglia, almost like a root through the body, the superior and the inferior ganglia.
Some of the sensory information from the Vagus Nerve include:
All of these things are sent to the brain. Some of cranial nerve have other functions such as the control of movement for various muscles and the function of specific glandes - these are normally known as motor functions.
As you know that some of the cranial nerves have either sensory or motor functional roles, others may even have both rather than one or the other. This is where the Vagus Nerve comes into play, or normally known as cranial nerve X.
This is where a vagus nerve stimulation device goes into play. The nerve is stimulated with pulses of electricity, usually through Tens Machines. This has been known to at times help patients with Epilepsy or depression that is otherwise untreatable. This type of stimulation has also been explored for conditions such as Migraines, Crohns Disease and Alzheimer Disease.
What does the Vagus Nerve do?
As mentioned above, the Vagus Nerve has several different interesting functions. There are four key functions:
- Motor - the Vagus Nerve provides movement functions for the muscles for swallowing, speech and in the neck.
- Sensory - Heart, Lungs, Throat and Abdomen
- Special Sensory - provides taste sensations behind your tongue
- Parasympathetic - this is normally responsible for respiration, the heart rate and the digestive tract.
To go into further depth, the nerve can be broken down into seven categories, one of these that is super important is the balancing of the nervous system, which is then broken down into two areas: parasympathetic and sympathetic.
The parasympathetic increases energy, alertness, heart rate, blood pressure and the breathing rate. Whilst the sympathetic is the opposite, it decreases alertness, heart rate, blood pressure, calms/relax and helps with digestion.
This all results in the Vagus Nerve being quite helpful for normal activity such as defecation, urination, and even sexual arousal. These are just some of the many benefits the Vagus Nerve focuses on, and to help stimulate, Vagus Nerve Stimulation devices are usually a customer ‘go to’.
Can you massage the Vagus Nerve
Absolutely, you can massage your Vagus Nerve, and there are many normal day to day ways to stimulate it.
- Cold Exposure - Cold exposure has been known to active your Vagus Nerve. Taking a cold shower or some have been known to go outside with little clothing in cold temperatures has been known to improve your mood, give you that feel good factor and much more!
- Slow and Deep breathing - This has been known to reduce anxiety and increase your parasympathetic system. If you take 6 breaths over the course of a minute, it’s known to be very helpful to combat stress.
- Singing, humming and gargling - The vagus nerve is connected to your cords and muscles at the back of your throat. Singing, humming and even gargling can active your vagus nerve, it has been shown to increase your heart rate and vagal tone.
- Meditation - A very large favourite for relaxation techniques. Meditation is known to help stimulate the nerve and increase vagal tone. Research has noted that meditation increases the vagal tone which results in positive emotions, promotes good feelings towards yourself and reduces your ‘fight or flight’ feelings.
- Massages - A big favourite amongst our customers. Massages as relaxing as they are, increase your vagal activity and vagal tone.
- Exercising - Exercising is a known ‘go to’ for many different feelings and possible issues, but it’s a major stimulator for your vagus nerve. Exercising increases your brain’s growth hormone, helps with your brain’s mitochondria and reverses cognitive decline.
Another way of stimulation is through the means of a Tens Machine that comes with specifically designed equipment for vagus nerve stimulation.
Our very popular Vagus Nerve Stimulation device has been given some fantastic reviews. If you’re interested in finding out more about Vagus nerve stimulation or even would prefer to chat to our customer service team, we’d be more than happy to help!