The Vagus Nerve: The Key to a Healthier Stress Response

These days everyone seems to be searching for the supply of their stress and making an attempt to discover a means to alleviate stress. One usually missed a part of the physique, the vagus nerve, is intrinsically linked to the thoughts and physique’s stress response. Stimulating this nerve and enhancing the vagal tone can assist improve the physique’s resiliency.

The vagus nerve

While the vagus nerve isn’t extensively recognized, it’s liable for a handful of important involuntary capabilities. Founder of OSEA, Jenefer Palmer, says it’s the longest and most advanced cranial nerve within the physique and performs a function in the whole lot from feelings to quality of sleep. It’s “the main nerve of your parasympathetic nervous system and controls physiological functions such as our digestion, heart rate, mood and even our immune system,” explains wellness skilled and holistic nutritionist Jennifer Hanway. A enjoyable reality: “Its name, derived from Latin, meaning ‘wandering,’ and rightly so as the 10th cranial nerve, it extends from the brain stem down to the gut,” says Palmer.

The vagus nerve because it relates to nervousness and stress

As Hanway stated, the vagus nerve is a vital a part of the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system has a huge job. Hanway explains that it’s the management heart for the physique’s “rest and digest” state. “Our body is always in two states—either ‘Rest and Digest’ or ‘Fight or Flight,’” says Hanway. Fight or flight is a part of the associated sympathetic nervous system. “If it’s not functioning optimally (called low vagal tone), you may have heightened levels of stress and anxiety and find it hard to relax after encountering a stressful situation.”

Additionally, the nerve has a particular reflex that helps the physique deal with stress. “When your anxiety is through the roof, the vagus nerve tells your body to relax by releasing acetylcholine, a soothing neurotransmitter that melts tension away,” says Palmer. “The more toned the nerve is, the more effective this relaxation response will be.”

Vagus nerve stimulation

Surgical vagus nerve stimulation includes {an electrical} system being implanted beneath the pores and skin, on the affected person’s chest, linked to the left vagus nerve. Hanway explains that the system then sends indicators to the mind to stimulate nerve perform. She provides that it’s presently FDA-approved within the U.S. for the therapy of epilepsy and melancholy.

“However, there are non-surgical ways to stimulate the vagus nerve, and these typically involve deep breathing practices. Other options include gargling or loud signing, foot massage and cold-water face immersion,” says Hanway. Palmer suggests making an attempt to stimulate the nerve by a self-massage to assist enhance vagal tone. “It can promote stress management, blood circulation and positive social engagement,” Palmer says.

Vagus nerve oil

OSEA Vagus Nerve Oil ($48) is the gold commonplace for oil that helps assist leisure and soften away indicators of stress through the vagus nerve. “The Vagus Nerve Oil helps to promote a sense of well-being and serenity,” explains Palmer. “It is a calming blend of essential oils, including juniper, lavender and chamomile in a hydrating base of jojoba oil.”

Dispense the oil into your palms, rub them collectively, cup your palms to your nostril and inhale deeply, instructs Palmer. Then, “lightly massage in a circular motion along both sides of your neck. Gently rub behind your earlobes.” She suggests additionally utilizing the oil “before any emotionally balancing or calming activity for an enhanced experience,” resembling meditation, deep respiratory, yoga or stretching. It’s “a kind way to show some love to yourself and to stimulate the nerve,” says Palmer.