Vagus Nerve

It is important to know what vagus nerve is. It is the longest nerve in our body and it originates in the brain like a cranial nerve ten. After it goes to the neck and it passes and surround the liver, digestive system, heart, spleen, lungs and pancreas.

It is very important for the parasympathetic nervous system. The nervous system is our ‘rest and digest’ part and that is completely opposite to the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic is ‘fight of flight’.

Vagal Tone

The vagal tone nerve is crucial for activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. This tone can be measured by tracking the heart rate and the breathing rate as well. The heart-rate is faster when you breathe in and it goes down when you breathe out.

The vagal tone is higher when the difference between the inhalation heart-rate and your exhalation heart-rate is bigger. If you have higher vagal tone it means that the body is able to become more relaxed after being stressed out.

High Vagal Tone

High vagal tone can improve the function of different body systems and it promotes better regulation of the blood sugar levels, lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, reduced the blood pressure, and improves digestion. If you have higher vagal tone it means that you are in a better mood, you do not feel anxious and stressful.

It is interesting that the vagal tone essentially reads the gut microbiome and it starts a response to the modulate inflammation. This way, the gut microbiome may have an influence on your stress levels, mood and overall inflammation.

Low Vagal Tone

Having low vagal tone is related with strokes and cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, depression, cognitive impairment, chronic fatigue syndrome and higher rates of inflammatory conditions. Some of the inflammatory conditions are autoimmune thyroid conditions, endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus etc.

How can you increase the vagal tone?

Vagal tone can be increased through a device which stimulates the vagus nerve. However, it can be increased in a natural way, but it is important to do that on a regular basis. At some point it can mean that you are genetically predisposed to have different levels of vagal tone, yet you can still change it. These are some ways that you can use to increase it.

1. Rhythmic, slow and diaphragmatic breathing

It is important to breathe from the diaphragm in order to stimulate and tone the vagus nerve.

2. Humming

The vagus nerve is related to the vocal cords and by humming mechanically you will stimulate it. If you want hum a song or you can constantly repeat the word ‘OM.’

3. Speaking

Speaking is also great for stimulation of the vagal tone, because there is connection to the vocal cords.

4. Face wash with cold water.

By washing your face with cold water you can stimulate the vagus nerve.

5. Meditation.

By doing this you can promote feelings of goodwill. In one study from 2010 it was discovered that by increasing positive emotions you can increase social closeness, and also improve the vagal tone.

6. Balance of the gut microbiome.

If you have healthy bacteria in your gut you can create a positive feedback loop and the vagus tone can be increased.

The implications of these kinds of basic and simple practices on the overall health and in particular on inflammation are very far-reaching. If have problems with digestive upset, inflammatory condition, depression or high blood pressure it is recommended to look and check the vagal tone.

It is known that mediation and breathing exercises can help and do wonders for our health, but it is amazing to discover how it actually works.

3 other ways for increasing the vagal tone can be:

1. Acupuncture

It is a great way for stimulation of the vagus nerve and it can also treat the neurodegenerative diseases through vagal regulation.

2. Tai Chi and yoga

They are used for relaxation and they can stimulate the vagus nerve and they can increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system.

3. Probiotics

It is clear that gut bacteria can improve the functioning of the brain by having influence over the vagus nerve. So choose probiotics that will help with the stimulation.

Reference: The Hearty Soul