Secrets of Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Secrets of Vagus Nerve Stimulation

The Vagus nerve is experiencing its 15 minutes of fame online, but this nerve that influences nearly every single organ in your body has been an object of interest to scientists for hundreds of years when they began looking at it as a potential way to treat epilepsy. Come to find out that stimulating the vagus nerve does way more than treating epilepsy. You can improve your mood, fight chronic pain, and boost your immune system through what has been called an “information superhighway.”

Let’s plunge in to find out what exactly is the vagus nerve, how it can help you on your wellness journey, and the best way to get results. 

The Vagus Nerve

Also known as the vagal nerves, these are the main nerves of your parasympathetic nervous system. It controls your digestion, heart rate, and immune system. It is made up of thousands of fibers that run from your brain to your torso. While the sympathetic nervous system contains your “fight or flight” response, the parasympathetic nervous system helps you to calm down and rest. 

While scientists found stimulating the vagus nerve could elevate mood, they expanded research on how this nerve can help those with psychiatric disorders and other conditions. 

Benefits of Stimulating the Vagus Nerve

Did you know you can get an FDA-approved device implanted that sends electrical signals to the vagus nerve? This is used in treatments for depression, obesity, and epilepsy. But you don’t have to rely on an electrical signal to stimulate your vagus nerve.

Simple solutions include cold exposure (like a cold plunge), breathing (like using the instructions on our walls), and singing (if you’re up for it). 

Just by doing one of these simple things, you can see a variety of benefits. Studies show that stimulating the vagus nerve can help with PTSD, could treat chronic pain, and may boost your immunity

How to Stimulate

To stimulate the vagus never with a cold plunge make sure you sink fully into the tub and immerse up to your neck. This helps trigger the body’s cold shock response to release norepinephrine, which helps boost your mood and immune system. 

Another important step: Remember to control your breath. This can be hard the first minute but that’s why we have a breathing guide above the plunge. It starts before you step into the tub when you take eight to 10 breaths through your mouth. Then after you step into the cold plunge and submerge up to your neck, relax and focus on a long exhale. Focus on making your exhale longer than your inhale. Aim to have five to eight breaths a minute while in the plunge. When you exit the plunge, stand up carefully and slowly. Inhale for four seconds, give another quick inhale, and then do an eight-second exhale. Repeat this for however long you need.

Wellness in the Long Term

Contrast Studios is dedicated to establishing a wellness community for mental and physical health. Stimulating the vagus nerve can contribute to this goal. We hope that you bring these tips with you to each session. When you’re not at an appointment, keep in mind that mindfulness, exercise, and breathing are all things that contribute to your holistic long-term. Also, you could try singing to stimulate the vagus nerve, even if it’s just in your car or shower.

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